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"Chef" -- Who is? Who ain't?


Stone
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I like Spencer's response, but tend to agree with Gordon. Everybody's a chef these days...whatever makes you feel better about yourself. My criteria is somewhere between I guess. If I don't know you and your wearing the uniform, it's "chef". If you really are the chef and your a hack, it's "Bob".

Blame it on FTV.

Well, not entirely.

Along with the increases in popularity, advertising, and stock prices of 'darden group' and the similar, what place does a 'chef' hold in todays food society? Does the 9-5'er care? Is it a serendipity to find that the more corporate the US becomes, the fewer 'chefs' we see? Is the dude refrying fajita crap at Taco Bell a chef? Is the f*cker who reheats the 'chicken vino bianco' at Olive Garden a chef? DO MOST PEOPLE CARE? NO!

People just want to eat. They don't care about food. I'm sick of this fat-f*ck ignorant sh*t. I'm moving to Europe --or New York.

p.s. what makes keller better than robuchon? what makes c/w spencer less popular than bourdain?

signed,

fed-up

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At the end of the day, I like to refer to my favorite Marco Pierre White quote...

"...we're all commis, we're all still learning."

To me, "paying your dues" simply means you've earned the right to bitch and moan.

edited to add...

I was initially going to let this one slide, but...

... (personal issue) a Pastry Chef should be called a Pastry Cook or better yet a Pastry Baker. They, also, are most surely NOT Chefs.

So, even though I work with food 10-12 hours a day, plate up every service (and scrub down), hire/fire/schedule/supervise/train staff, order product, count inventory, write 100% of my menu, and previously held down line cook and sous chef positions... do I still have to change my business cards to read, Most Surely Not a Pastry Chef?

Just askin'.

Michael Laiskonis

Pastry Chef

New York

www.michael-laiskonis.com

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All of those guys who work for large corporations must of spent time sweating over a hot stove, otherwise, they would not be where they are today. I never went to any stinking school. They pretty much did not exist when I was learning the trade. And I am not all that old. School cooks and chefs only started happening in the early 80's.

Now I have one of those sweet deals as a private chef for a couple. Great hours, good pay, great perks, weekends off. Life is good. And I am a Chef.

Question, is the Emeril machine a chef? I think so.

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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What ever happened to a Chef being a professional who lives his life to cook and manages a business that happens to be a kitchen!

I have paid my dues, worked the long hours and am now working the long hours and making some money!

The long hours are what makes you a Chef! You start working the long hours because you want to. I get up in the morning and go to the docks because I want to talk to the fisherman and see whats new, not because I am paying my dues to my restaurant managers/partners. I drive 45 miles in the morning to talk to the farmer who is growing mixed fields of lettuce that he harvests for me daily for my mesclum mix because it is my passion. I work 12 -14 hours a day, but the reality is 6 - 8 I do because I love it, I want to be in the kitchen and I want to be socializing with my customers. I am a Chef. My responsibility as a chef makes me work the other 4 hours and do the accounting and other financial tasks.

Now, the dialogue we are having seems to be deviating because of nomenclature. Are we trying to define Chefs, or are we trying to group Chefs, kitchen managers and food scientists all in the same category? Are you still a Chef if you develop a line of frozen food? You might be; is it a product that entertains the palette or is it a product that just meets your nutritional needs?

Edited by Chef Fowke (log)

Chef/Owner/Teacher

Website: Chef Fowke dot com

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OK, I’ve had enough. Time to sound off (deep breath):

Some of the posts on this thread are simultaneously laughable and nauseating. The definition of a chef doesn’t read like the script of a soap opera as some of you feel it does. Get off your respective high horses! It’s simple – if a person graduates from culinary school they’re a chef. Same as if a person graduates from med school they’re a doctor, from law school they’re a lawyer, from clown college, they’re a clown.

Chefs straight out of culinary school need to put their time in on the line before becoming accomplished chefs, just like doctors out of med school need to put in their time doing rounds before becoming surgeons (or whatever other specialty they choose), lawyers fresh out of school need to put in shit hours doing tons of work before they make partner, and clowns probably need to put in their time at the state fair before working for Cirque de Solie (sp?).

This country is teeming with lawyers and doctors but you don't hear them weeping and waxing poetic about their business equivilent of “the need to devote your soul to the food, to pay your dues before obtaining the unobtainable, before discovering life’s true meaning – THE TITLE OF CHEF!”

It’s pathetic. Stop it. Now.

-Eric

*Disclaimer – I understand and grant that the meaning of chef was different before the advent and popularity of culinary schools, people had to work their way up in the business. Times have changed and so have definitions.

Edited by EJRothman (log)
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But I assume you'd agree that someone who never went to culinary school, but was nonetheless running a kitchen is a chef? And how about someone who sent to CIA, but is running a string of sandwich shops? I mean, if I quit the law and started some other business, I'd be, at best, a non-practicing lawyer.

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So, even though I work with food 10-12 hours a day, plate up every service (and scrub down), hire/fire/schedule/supervise/train staff, order product, count inventory, write 100% of my menu, and previously held down line cook and sous chef positions... do I still have to change my business cards to read, Most Surely Not a Pastry Chef?

Just askin'.

Agree wholeheartedly...you guys/gals are just a little more sensitive.....

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So, even though I work with food 10-12 hours a day, plate up every service (and scrub down), hire/fire/schedule/supervise/train staff, order product, count inventory, write 100% of my menu, and previously held down line cook and sous chef positions... do I still have to change my business cards to read, Most Surely Not a Pastry Chef?

Just askin'.

Word.

Well said.

Noise is music. All else is food.

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But I assume you'd agree that someone who never went to culinary school, but was nonetheless running a kitchen is a chef?  And how about someone who sent to CIA, but is running a string of sandwich shops?  I mean, if I quit the law and started some other business, I'd be, at best, a non-practicing lawyer.

Yes, I'd agree. If you apprentice of otherwise work your way up the kitchen ladder you'd still qualify. Seems to me, however, that as the profession becomes increasingly popular there may be a movement to mandate culinary school degrees much the same way degrees are needed in law and medicine (and of course, the clown-ing business :biggrin: ).

-Eric

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After I was the sous chef for Jose Gutierrez, French Master Chef, getting there from pissant commis status, and seeing how contempuous the chef was for culinary school externs I realized that it wasn't necessary to go to school to call yourself a chef. I'm not by any stretch downplaying culinary school--I just think some people don't need it. I've never had a formal education, neither has Thomas Keller...you don't want to say he's not a chef do you? That's blasphemous.

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After I was the sous chef for Jose Gutierrez, French Master Chef, getting there from pissant commis status, and seeing how contempuous the chef was for culinary school externs I realized that it wasn't necessary to go to school to call yourself a chef.  I'm not by any stretch downplaying culinary school--I just think some people don't need it.  I've never had a formal education, neither has Thomas Keller...you don't want to say he's not a chef do you?  That's blasphemous.

As I said, it's possible to work your way through the ranks. Granted I'm not in the business, but with the meteoric rise of culinary fascination, I'd think that a culinary degree will only become increasingly important in the restaurant world.

I am sure you are a very good chef, and I applaud your dedication and love for your craft. I also agree wholeheartedly that Thomas Keller is a chef, one of the finest in the country at that. On a slightly unrelated note, you should look into detaching youself from his, uh..., "nether regions" for the sake of your health and sanity.

-Eric

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After I was the sous chef for Jose Gutierrez, French Master Chef, getting there from pissant commis status, and seeing how contempuous the chef was for culinary school externs I realized that it wasn't necessary to go to school to call yourself a chef.  I'm not by any stretch downplaying culinary school--I just think some people don't need it.  I've never had a formal education, neither has Thomas Keller...you don't want to say he's not a chef do you?  That's blasphemous.

Master Chef?????????????????

I need some advil.

Future Food - our new television show airing 3/30 @ 9pm cst:

http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tv/future-food/

Hope you enjoy the show! Homaro Cantu

Chef/Owner of Moto Restaurant

www.motorestaurant.com

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:blink: hmmmmm,,,anyone know the credentials of the big guys you all have been mentioning??keller,,jj,,trotter??? they go to culinary school?? i dont think its needed if u start early in life. in the biz 25 yhyears,,chef 15 yrs. (school of hard knocks)) :laugh:
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I just read that Keller has seen a few specialists about having Spencer removed -- or at least lanced.   :raz:

God, what a collossal waste of time that would be...I know where he works....

I think Stone meant a procedure whereby Keller could sit down again.

Haven't you ever wondered why the guy is always on his feet?

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Granted I'm not in the business, but with the meteoric rise of culinary fascination, I'd think that a culinary degree will only become increasingly important in the restaurant world.

What a horrifying idea. If you are correct, we can assume that before long we'll see thousands of uninspired, cookie-cutter menus and robotic chefs.

Not: Of course, this is a generalization of immense order -- there are cooking schools that don't just turn out hotel restaurant cooks, wealthy brazilian trophy wives and over-qualified prep cooks just as there are individuals who go through the mill and retain creativity and a willingness to take chances.

fanatic...

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After I was the sous chef for Jose Gutierrez, French Master Chef, getting there from pissant commis status, and seeing how contempuous the chef was for culinary school externs I realized that it wasn't necessary to go to school to call yourself a chef.  I'm not by any stretch downplaying culinary school--I just think some people don't need it.  I've never had a formal education, neither has Thomas Keller...you don't want to say he's not a chef do you?  That's blasphemous.

Master Chef?????????????????

I need some advil.

I told ya, adjust ritalin dosage...that ought to do the trick. Maybe you'll get creative if you approximate an OD.

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It’s simple – if a person graduates from culinary school they’re a chef. Same as if a person graduates from med school they’re a doctor, from law school they’re a lawyer, from clown college, they’re a clown.

Graduating from law school doesn't make one a lawyer, passing the bar exam does... And there are always lots of clowns around, degreed or otherwise...

Those who do not remember the pasta are doomed to reheat it.

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