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


Stone
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In my kitchen we are food engineers.

Please don't call yourself an engineer unless while in college you had to take:

2 years of Calculus

1 year of Physics

1 year of Chemistry

Mechanics

Circuits

Thermodynamics

and lots of other hard shit

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At what point did winemaking go from artistry to science? Whenever it changed, it changed for the better. The kitchen needs that change.

Indeed, or to paraphrase, "at what point did red canaries become blue canaries?" Have we any agreement that winemaking was ever an art, but is no longer?

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Perhaps we need to think analogically . . .

If I call myself a muff magnet, does that make me a muff magnet?

Further, would I want a regulated profession that would determine whether or not I could legitimately refer to myself as a muff magnet?

Are we thinking analogically or anatomically?

As a now forgotten Dick Tracy character once said, "The nation that controls magnetism will rule the world."

Do you have to have a SCUBA card to be a muff diver?

I'm hollywood and I approve this message.

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Let me make my point another way . . .

Some professions--for instance, law & medicine & engineering--are regulated in such a way that the use of a title is regulated.

A "chef" is not in this situation.

To compare the use of "chef" to the use of "doctor" or "lawyer" or "engineer" is bound for failure.

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El Bulli experiments 6 months out of the year in their "laboratory". Does this make them chemists. Obviously something is working in their favor.

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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In my kitchen we are food engineers.

Please don't call yourself an engineer unless while in college you had to take:

2 years of Calculus

1 year of Physics

1 year of Chemistry

Mechanics

Circuits

Thermodynamics

and lots of other hard shit

From the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:

Main Entry: en·gi·neer

Pronunciation: "en-j&-'nir

Function: noun

Etymology: alter. of earlier enginer, from Middle English, alteration of enginour, from Middle French engigneur, from Old French engignier to contrive, from engin

Date: 14th century

1 : a member of a military group devoted to engineering work

2 obsolete : a crafty schemer : PLOTTER

3 a : a designer or builder of engines b : a person who is trained in or follows as a profession a branch of engineering c : a person who carries through an enterprise by skillful or artful contrivance

4 : a person who runs or supervises an engine or an apparatus

Nothing in there about math, physics and chemistry as far as I can tell. I can't imagine that these guys take such formal education either:

engineer.jpg

I would guess you're talking about meaning 3b whereas Invento is talking more about 3c.

--

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Once again, go to Texas, print up business cards calling yourself a "food engineer," & do all the other stuff.

The title of "engineer" is regulated.

The title of "chef" is NOT regulated.

Philology will not solve this.

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Let me make my point another way . . .

Some professions--for instance, law & medicine & engineering--are regulated in such a way that the use of a title is regulated.

A "chef" is not in this situation.

To compare the use of "chef" to the use of "doctor" or "lawyer" or "engineer" is bound for failure.

I like Stone's discussion of formalism versus informalism in determining the definition of a chef. As it is apparent, I am in the formalist camp. Although CWS seems to be waiting for me to become unraveled by my own words, that's not going to happen. I stick by my statements. I am quite well-raveled (though not as tightly wound as some :biggrin: ).

MattB's quote above misses the point. Yes, lawyers and doctors, etc. are regulated, but they are regulated to ensure that they do not use their professional authority to cause harm. They are not regulated in their use of the title. It's the education that confers the title on them. A lawyer can be dis-bared, and a doctor can have his license to practice medicine revoked, but this does not mean that they are no longer lawyers or doctors. In fact, they can regain the license to practice without going back to school.

Thus, title comes down to schooling. Go to school, get the education, get the title. In this sense the culinary arts are lagging behind other professions.

You need to go to school to get a legal or medical education, but as of today you don't need to go to culinary school to get a culinary education, you can simply apprentice. Many years ago this, of course, was the case for lawyers and doctors as well. There were lawyers and doctors before law and med school. Students hitched on to an older, learned individual in the profession, learned the ropes and went out on their own.

Just like law and medicine have moved to a degree-only profession, I believe that the culinary world is headed in that direction as well. The nostalgia factor makes many people either annoyed at or dissmissive of this position, but I believe it to be true, and I stand by every word that I've said.

-Eric

Edited by EJRothman (log)
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Does this make them chemists[?]

No.

No, indeed. The English language, for all of its quirks, is a very precise one.

Main Entry: chem·ist

Pronunciation: 'ke-mist

Function: noun

Etymology: New Latin chimista, short for Medieval Latin alchimista

Date: 1562

1 a obsolete : ALCHEMIST b : one trained in chemistry

2 British : PHARMACIST

Main Entry: chem·is·try

Pronunciation: 'ke-m&-strE

Function: noun

Inflected Form(s): plural -tries

Date: 1646

1 : a science that deals with the composition, structure, and properties of substances and with the transformations that they undergo

2 a : the composition and chemical properties of a substance b : chemical processes and phenomena (as of an organism)

3 : a strong mutual attraction, attachment, or sympathy

Of course, this does not preclude the possibility that some people in the EL Bulli kitchen have training in chemistry, nor that they may be conducting chemical experiments. In a certain sense you could call some such people amateur chemists.

--

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They are not regulated in their use of the title.

Ummmmm. They are regulated in their use of the title.

They are regulated in the sense that they need to get the education to use the title, but once they have the education they have the title.

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They are not regulated in their use of the title.

Ummmmm. They are regulated in their use of the title.

They are regulated in the sense that they need to get the education to use the title, but once they have the education they have the title.

Ummmm.

So you believe it's legal to use the title & practice under the title without being licensed? :blink:

Edited by MatthewB (log)
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We're all getting stuck up in the semantics swamp. I don't this is very productive. Just condition yourself to accept my posts as fact and move on.

Best I can do, C/W Spencer, is to accept your posts as your (biased and emotional) subjective opinion. As fact? No. As honest emotion springing from the not unnatural desire to confer some form of cachet on your profession? Maybe.

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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They are not regulated in their use of the title.

Ummmmm. They are regulated in their use of the title.

They are regulated in the sense that they need to get the education to use the title, but once they have the education they have the title.

Ummmm.

So you believe it's legal to use the title & practice under the title without being licensed? :blink:

use the title - yes; practice - no.

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So you believe it's legal to use the title & practice under the title without being licensed?   :blink:

If I understand his argument correctly, he is not saying that you can use the title and practice under the title without being licensed... just use the title. Much the same way that, AFAIK, a doctor who was not curently licensed may not be able to practice medicine, but may still call himself a doctor and may do things like testify in court as such.

Edit = he beat me to it.

Edited by slkinsey (log)

--

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Legally use the title - nope. At least not down here, and to the best of my knowledge not in the USA. The use of the title is limited to those who have passed the criteria (bar exam) and have not been disbarred. Once disbarred, you are not entitled to use the title.

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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