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What makes a good chef a 'good chef'?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 


Hi all


You have to help me out on this one.I think I know what makes a good chef ,been one for 28 years  but I've gone back to school and am doing some research on the psyche of chefs and what makes us tick so I have to have some impartial info.


Could all of you who regard yourselves as good chefs post in and let me know ,

I really appreciate this


Regards Marlsiechef.gif





post #2 of 8

I think aside from the obvious, a good chef is someone who is willing to share their knowlage and love of cooking with the people who work under him/her.


Everything else is pretty obvious... one who makes good food, watches food cost, etc.

post #3 of 8

I remember many years ago going for an interview for my first restaurant job. I was sitting in the catering managers office waiting for him to get off the phone to talk with me. He was talking to a customer about a catering, he knew all the portions and prices and knew the business very well. I thought to myself, how the heck does he have all the answers to all these questions, right out of his head. The answer to that question is, it takes years of learning to have all the answers. My answer to your question is, I knew I was a good Chef, when I had all the answers and knew in my own heart I had earned that right from years of learning, caring and hard work. I feel a good quality Chef is a person that walks the talk, teaches what he knows in a respectful manner, knowing all learning levels are not the same. The quality Chef is a leader, teacher, and is the example of excellence in their kitchen................You don't become a Chef because someone gives you the title, you are a Chef when you have all the knowledge to answer all the questions............ChefBillyB

post #4 of 8

Being a good chef is about running a kitchen. I've only worked under chefs who were passionate about food, controlled costs well, &c.--but the best I've seen was a complete ***hole who could be absolutely terrifying when upset, was militant about controlling costs and making things properly, bullied much of the staff, and so on. Despite (because of?) this, whenever he moved on to another kitchen, most of his crew would immediately up and follow him. The guy could LEAD. Maybe we were all suffering from some kitchen version of Stockholm syndrome.

post #5 of 8

Here's my take.....I was working in Washington DC for Marriott Corp. and had to move back to Chicago.

I spent countless hours on the phone, reading the classified ads to try and find work.

I did find a Marriott position and called to speak to their Human Resources department.

After moving back I had my day in the office.

It was the director of HR, the Chef and myself. 

HR guy talked down to me and told me that they has some positions available but that I had neither the qualifications to fulfill these positions, nor the experience.

After all, he knew where I had previously worked and what I had done.

I began to speak, and directed all of my words to the Chef and ignored the HR guy.

I told the Chef that I was the one he could count on to be there every day and that I was motivated and what I had done as banquet Chef while in DC. 

When I had finished I told the Chef that I would not take a job at his place if this jerk was the HR guy and it was too bad that he had let such a good perspective employee slip through his fingers. I got up and left.


A few months later when I was Exec at another place and was hosting a "Meals on Wheels" fundraiser, the Chef from this place was in attendance.

I walked up to him and shook his hand and asked him if he recalled the situation.

He said he'd never forgotten it, and alluded to the fact that he never had much respect for HR after.......

My point is that as Chefs we know what we do, how hard we work, all the exhausting hours we put in, and how much of what we do is not about the food at all.

post #6 of 8

A cook is judged by what they put on a plate.


A Chef is judged by if they can run a profitable kitchen.


"nuff said

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #7 of 8

I don't think you can mix in Pastry Chefs  with Regular Chefs.

30 yrs. ago I went AWOL from the savory to the sweet side.

From that time on I have always said the difference between a good Chef and a great Chef is bipolar medication.

I'm not kidding!!

Back then the highs and lows were extreme. The Chef would throw a stack of red hot sautee pans at the plounger for not

working fast enough then come back and spend an hour bandaging and coddling him.


post #8 of 8

i think a good chef is one who like others have said, shares there knowledge aka pays it forward


never feels as they learned all that they can, if so please leave the kitchen


and as one of the chefs I did a apprenticeship under has said if you cant let go and trust your crew you will never suceed

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