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

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Personally, I say once a chef, always a chef, much like other professions (notice the trend here boys and girls?). On the whole "a chef is a leader thing" and "the watering down of the term outside the industry," correct me if I am wrong, but aren't there different levels of chef-dom recognized in the industry? You've got your wander-in-once-a-week executive chef, your sous chef, your pastry chef (although one is apparently up to debate), and probably more chef-types that I am missing.

Bux (I think it as Bux, if I am wrong, someone correct me) asserts that the definition of a chef must be one who leads. Etymologically this is correct. Definition wise, it is not.

Websters says:

Main Entry: chef

Pronunciation: 'shef

Function: noun

Etymology: French, short for chef de cuisine head of the kitchen

Date: 1826

1 : a skilled cook who manages the kitchen (as of a restaurant)

2 : COOK

Notice the secondary definition. I am not trying to assert that everyone who cooks is a chef. I am saying that when one has been culinarily trained they are a chef. They may work in the kitchen as a line cook as they move up in the ranks, but there is a fundamental difference between a culinary grad working the line on his/her way up and a career line cook.

Of course, the career line cook may be far and away a better cook than the culinary grad on the line, but only the latter gets to throw around the chef title.

-Eric


Edited by EJRothman (log)

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If the blanket title defining worked, then why do we have problems with doctors who lose malpractice suits?

And again . . .

As I said earlier . . .

Which takes me once again to: comparing the use of titles in regulated licensed professions (as to the use of said title) to the use of titles in unregulated unlicensed professions (as to the use of said title) is about as productive as asking how many angels fit on the head of a pin.

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Of course, the career line cook may be far and away a better cook than the culinary grad on the line, but only the latter gets to throw around the chef title.

-Eric

Again, it's relative.

In Eric's world, only culinary school grads are entitled to call themselves chef.

Note that we're drifting into solipsism.

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A kitchen manager a chef?

Depends on whose kitchen it is.

The legitimization of an individual's use of the title of "chef" is based on said title being conferred by their community.

So, it all depends on the community.

In other words, it's relative.

Probably relative to what one considers a kitchen. Spencer would call Mr. Burgerhead a kitchen manager. If Spencer can convince me that BK or McDo has a kitchen, I will call their burgermeister a chef. Why fight at the designation of chef, when the real issue is that a fast food burger place may not be a restaurant and certainly not have a brigade de cuisine, let alone a kitchen. If applying the heat to the meat is what separates the chefs from the boys, what do you call the guy who operates the machinery that sterilizes the tuna in the can?


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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Websters says:
Main Entry: chef

Pronunciation: 'shef

Function: noun

Etymology: French, short for chef de cuisine head of the kitchen

Date: 1826

1 : a skilled cook who manages the kitchen (as of a restaurant)

2 : COOK

Notice the secondary definition.

Eric, I don't think anyone is arguing that the word "chef hasn't taken on the the secondary connotation you cite in popular usage. The discussion is more around what people think is the correct application of that word.

I, for instance, would take extreme exception to the secondary definition below, even though I have to acknowledge that it does have that meaning in popular usage.

Main Entry: pri·ma don·na

Pronunciation: "pri-m&-'dä-n&, "prE-

Function: noun

Inflected Form(s): plural prima donnas

Etymology: Italian, literally, first lady

Date: 1782

1 : a principal female singer in an opera or concert organization

2 : an extremely sensitive, vain, or undisciplined person


--

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Has anyone actually encountered a person who cooks at McDonald's that refers to themselves as a "chef"?

Or is this example a red herring?

It depends on the execution of the red herring.


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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Again, it's relative.

In Eric's world, only culinary school grads are entitled to call themselves chef.

Note that we're drifting into solipsism.

I never asserted that only culinary school grads are entitled to call themselves chefs. I simply stated that they are included in definition along with the many talented chefs who never went to culinary school.

And yes, it's all relative. So everyone can agree to disagree. :biggrin:

-Eric

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Bux (I think it as Bux, if I am wrong, someone correct me) asserts that the definition of a chef must be one who leads. Etymologically this is correct.  Definition wise, it is not. 

Websters says:

Main Entry: chef

Pronunciation: 'shef

Function: noun

Etymology: French, short for chef de cuisine head of the kitchen

Date: 1826

1 : a skilled cook who manages the kitchen (as of a restaurant)

2 : COOK

Notice the secondary definition. I am not trying to assert that everyone who cooks is a chef. I am saying that when one has been culinarily trained they are a chef.

You prove my point(s). Note that I have posted that there is an industry definition and a popular one. The industry definition is one who heads a kitchen. The popular definition is meaningless. Anyone who cooks is a chef in popular parlance. EJRothman would like to separate those who have graduated from culinary school from the masses, but Webster doesn't mention training.


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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Has anyone actually encountered a person who cooks at McDonald's that refers to themselves as a "chef"?

Or is this example a red herring?

It depends on the execution of the red herring.

Let's say, for the sake of discussion, raw marinated red herring with sea beans and fleur de sel... :wink:


--

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Has anyone actually encountered a person who cooks at McDonald's that refers to themselves as a "chef"?

Or is this example a red herring?

It depends on the execution of the red herring.

I think this red herring was executed a long time ago.

Remember what Jesus said when Lazarus arose?

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I think this red herring was executed a long time ago.

Remember what Jesus said when Lazarus arose?

Personally, "when Lazarus rose" would be a better play on the word red.


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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I think this red herring was executed a long time ago.

Remember what Jesus said when Lazarus arose?

Personally, "when Lazarus rose" would be a better play on the word red.

My mistake. It was Martha, not Jesus.

He stinketh right foul long before this.

Four days gone, forsooth, he was dead.

Let him lie still right even as he is.                     

The stink of his carrion might hurt us, I dread.

Not bad advice.

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I think this red herring was executed a long time ago.

Remember what Jesus said when Lazarus arose?

Personally, "when Lazarus rose" would be a better play on the word red.

My mistake. It was Martha, not Jesus.

He stinketh right foul long before this.

Four days gone, forsooth, he was dead.

Let him lie still right even as he is.                        

The stink of his carrion might hurt us, I dread.

Not bad advice.

The sailor at sea still sees beyond what is seen.


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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Let's say, for the sake of discussion, raw marinated red herring with sea beans and fleur de sel...  :wink:

Assuming the red herring was the product of a red tide, we may be speaking of execution by red herring.


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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(Seven pages, and no Plotnicki, no LML, no Nina, no Cabrales. I'm proud of myself.)

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(Seven pages, and no Plotnicki, no LML, no Nina, no Cabrales.  I'm proud of myself.)

Your restraint is admirable.


I'm hollywood and I approve this message.

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Yet another thread that has disintegrated before our eyes...

The teleological essence of some threads necessitate disintegration.

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Yet another thread that has disintegrated before our eyes...

The teleological essence of some threads necessitate disintegration.

Trust me, someone's gonna find some new wishbone of an angle and try to pry the thing back to life.

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Anyone think the guy that invents Wishbone salad dressings deserves to be called Chef? Or Chemist?

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Anyone think the guy that invents Wishbone salad dressings deserves to be called Chef?  Or Chemist?

Yeah, but more importantly, does anyone think that the guy who invents Wishbone salad dressing deserves to be called a muff magnet?

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Yeah, but more importantly, does anyone think that the guy who invents Wishbone salad dressing deserves to be called a muff magnet?

Are the two things mutually exclusive? Certainly the guy who invented Wesson Oil should get recognition.


I'm hollywood and I approve this message.

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