I have often wanted to pose this question to my peers, and with the economic times we're headed into, this may be the time. To me, it seems there has been a trend where we, as chefs, have fostered a culture where we are dictating what is good, and what is not. For instance, we have long sneered at the poor guy who just plain can't stand the sight of blood and so orders a well done steak, which he has every right to do. Some people refuse to even cook his food how he wants it. Who are we to decide what's good? Or have we been brain washed? I have read award winnng recipes for combinations of ingredients that I cannot imagine being good together. So maybe they really are great, or maybe the jaded critics looking for something new and different just don't have the cajones to say "this sucks" because they're afraid their competition will come in and rave about the same dish. I have long been sneered at by my peers because I don't like foie gras. Sorry, I don't like liver in any way, shape or form and I don't care where it comes from or how much it costs or what you call it. It's liver, and I don't like it. One example that comes to mind is sea salt. Unless I'm canning or curing something, I don't pay attention to what kind of salt I'm using. I am sure there will be many people who will jump to the defense of the superiority of sea salt for flavor and I won't deny that it may have superior properties. However, unless you are using it to coat a pretzel or in some other application where the focus is on salt, does it really matter? In a regular recipe, my opinion is if it makes that much difference, you must be using too much. I also think angus beef is over rated. It's not the best beef I ever ate, so I don't get the hype. the dining public thinks it's the greatest thing since sliced bread. But why? Is it really better, or is it brilliant marketing? I'm inclined to believe it's the marketing. So what I guess I want to kmow is do things like sea salt (and there are many more examples) really matter that much, or do we tout these things because we're afraid to look dumb in front of our peers for pointing out that the Emperor has no clothes?
post #1 of 7
9/24/08 at 12:37am