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What is a Chef?

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 

<MOD NOTE>  This is a spinoff thread.  - Kuan  

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by WannaBGourmande View Post

So I'm decently new to the Culinary game and people(not Chefs) hear I'm a Chef and they always ask the same question: "What's your specialty"?

 

Am I an idiot because I have absolutely no idea what that even means? Sure, I have certain techniques that I like to use and certain things that I like to make, but I think that the question of a 'specialty' is something that you've been doing so long, you're kind of famous/known for it. I always just reply "I don't know yet" because that's the most honest thing I could think of. I feel like I haven't learned NEARLY enough to have a specialty yet.

 

What about you wonderful Epicurian veterans? What are your specialties?

 

I dont mean to be rude but how can you be a Chef if you are decently new to the Culinary Game.  I worked for 14 years before I became the Chef and was at the helm of my first kitchen. 

Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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post #2 of 42

Having a "specialty" implies that you're REALLY good at that ONE thing, maybe even known for that singular thing.  Maybe it's a single dish, or a specific cuisine.  Well, what does that say about everything else you make?  Eh, not so good?

 

Being a Chef and having a Specialty are contradictions in terms.

Cooks on the line - guys who are that same station for decades - and home cooks have specialties.

Chefs, however, are trained and continue learn to excel at a lot of things, all cuisines, all foods.

Food is our life.  Not a specific food; ALL food.

 

"Great Food!" followed by this has been my basic answer for a while now  - instead of just feigning annoyance - and people have "gotten it".

 

But then they ask what my favorite thing to make is...and again, for me, it's the same concept.  If I'm making 500 things, and only 1 of those is my "favorite", that implies I'm not really really enjoying making those 499 other things.  I might have a least favorite thing to make, but all-in-all I LOVE it all.

 

Scroll up through all the responses so far and you'll see a finite disparity between the answers the Chefs gave, and the home cooks' responses.

post #3 of 42

Chef Dave,

You're saying that if someone says something is "my favorite" implies that they don't like anything that is not their favorite?????  Are you serious? 

 

And home cooks vs chefs.  May i point out that the word "amateur" means "lover" - one who loves something.  I can't attest to the quality of what i make, though personally i like my own food better than that of any restaurant that I've been in (i can;t afford high end restaurants though) and my friends say the same, but you can't say anything about how, as a home cook, i may love cooking any less.   

 

In terms of things i like to cook - yeah if you ask me my "favorite" that implies i have to choose something.  one thing.  the others are not so far behind. 

 

I start planning every meal from the desert - i love to eat desert, and don;t generally make desert for every day meals.  So i think, what desert am i craving, and i make that

I do slightly more enjoy cooking sweet things. 

But do i have other specialties?  yes.  Pastas and  soups, first courses in general - i have a very wide range of recipes i've developed - dozens and dozens. 
Meat courses? yes, i do like them too, especially some very nice roasts, nice and browned outside and juicy inside, plus some others like chicken pot pie and some others, maybe meat is the least developed of my repertory though it's pretty wide nonetheless. 

vegetable dishes?  i think i have probably dozens and dozens of specialty vegetable dishes. 

I even have some really interesting appetizers. 

Breakfast food?  oh wow, don't get me started, on my buttermilk pancakes with homemade blueberry sauce.  Banana french toast with caramelized banana sauce?  English muffins, bagels, muffins, special citrus salad with boiled syrup, cinnamon raisin rolls... shall i go on? 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #4 of 42

No, don't, Siduri - you're making me hungry!

 

There's nothing like a patronising 'professional' to try to make us enthusiastic amateurs feel inadequate, eh?!

post #5 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefDave11View Post

 

 

Scroll up through all the responses so far and you'll see a finite disparity between the answers the Chefs gave, and the home cooks' responses.

 

 

ouch ... dude... geez...it's just a general question ...  peace.gif

from ...

My kitchen in the middle of the desert

A Hui Hou (until we met), ALOHA!

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from ...

My kitchen in the middle of the desert

A Hui Hou (until we met), ALOHA!

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post #6 of 42
Thread Starter 

Siduri and Ishbel,

The OP has claimed to be a Professional Chef and called themself "decently new to the culinary game", really?!?!  You cant be both and both of you have been here long enough to know that.  ChefDave wasnt being patronizing nor was I or any of the other Chef's that have spent a career building and learning to the point where we could be called a Chef.  There is a distinct difference between somebody who loves to cook, is a good/great cook and a Chef and most people here know that as well.  A Chef is a cook, a leader, a manager of personalities, a wheeler and dealer on the phones with vendors, a creative strategist, a teacher and a babysitter.  A cook is just that, a cook, dont take this the wrong way but they are not one in the same and cant be compared. 

 

When I was "decently new to the culinary game" I would have never considered myself a Chef, NEVER, yet you have people today who have no idea what it takes to be that person.  The sacrifice, the pain and suffering, the hours, and LITERALLY the BLOOD, SWEAT and TEARS shed to be at the helm of a kitchen/restaurant. 
 

Dont get me wrong, I am not trying to trivialize your love, skill or abilities to cook, but its different when you do it for a living vs doing it at home.

Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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post #7 of 42

My response was basically a wisecrack; "IceWater" (get the idea?).   Where does that put me in position between "Chefs" and "Home Cooks"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefDave11 View Post     Scroll up through all the responses so far and you'll see a finite disparity between the answers the Chefs gave, and the home cooks' responses.

 

Now whereas I claim to be a "Pro Chef", there are for certain things I like to do, and do better than other things. Wouldn't those things I do the best sorta be my "specialties"?   I don't see that at all being a bad thing.   That's why, I think, there are different styles of restaurants, and each has it's own menu.   I don't think people go to Chinese places to order BBQ brisket, and I don't think anyone goes to a Mexican place to order Peking Duck.   I would guess that the guys running the kitchens are all "Pro Chefs" though. 

 

 

* What do you call a guy three(3) days after graduating last in his class at medical school? ... (You call him "DOCTOR")

It still cracks me up that some of you are all so hung up on the vocabulary word "chef".

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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post #8 of 42

with all of the respect that you are due and have earned as a chef, chefhow, I think you just described a Mother

from ...

My kitchen in the middle of the desert

A Hui Hou (until we met), ALOHA!

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from ...

My kitchen in the middle of the desert

A Hui Hou (until we met), ALOHA!

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post #9 of 42
My intent was not to sound patronizing.  Thank you ChefHow.

Siduri - when asked your specialty, you replied "desserts".  While I'm sure you make a lot of other things well, and enjoy making them, you yourself don't consider them to be your specialty.  The other home cooks had similar responses, which was very disparate to the responses the professional chefs gave.  Never have I been dismissive of a home cook - When I'm asked why I became a chef, I answer that I missed my mom's food when I moved away from home.  I grew up with really good food, and my mom is certainly not a chef.  This was never a chef versus home cook issue - home cooks can be Phenomenal cooks, and make tons of stuff really deliciously!  It was a question about "specialty", and that is where the attitude of a chef differs, as you can see from all the responses.  

 

 

Quote:

 1 of those is my "favorite", that implies I'm not really really enjoying making those 499 other things.  I might have a least favorite thing to make, but all-in-all I LOVE it all.

I chose my words very carefully, Siduri.  I said "not really really enjoying" and that "I LOVE it all".  The emphasis was there to be understood.  as I'm still really enjoying it...just not really really!

 

Also, please: My response above was intended to be read as a whole thought with a number of components - not to be taken apart and read singularly.

post #10 of 42

I think we're coming down too hard on the word chef.  All it means is chief and if the OP is the head cook in the restaurant where he works, regardless of how long he's been doing it, then what do you expect him to be called? 

 

I have to change my answer from eggs and salad.  It's been pointed out to me by several people that my specialty is spaghetti with meat sauce. 

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #11 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post

I think we're coming down too hard on the word chef.  All it means is chief and if the OP is the head cook in the restaurant where he works, regardless of how long he's been doing it, then what do you expect him to be called? 

 

So based on this if you walked into the local greasy spoon for your first job or even your second and got hired to be the top dog cook would you call yourself the Chef?  I wouldnt consider you to be one and I would be non of the Chef's here that have worked to earn the title would either.  Based on your logic if I can draw a stick figure on a napkin I am an artist.

 

There was a time not that long ago that the term Chef held some weight and meant something, today its thrown around like nothing and that is sickening. Do you know what it takes to get certified as an Executive Chef?  How about a Chef de Cuisine or even a Sous Chef? Forget becoming a Master Chef, that may take decades behind the stove.  If you dont know maybe you should look it up sometime to get a better understanding, here is the link

http://www.acfchefs.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Levels&Template=/CM/HTMLDisplay.cfm&ContentID=24617

 

 



Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
Reply
Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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post #12 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post

I think we're coming down too hard on the word chef.  All it means is chief and if the OP is the head cook in the restaurant where he works, regardless of how long he's been doing it, then what do you expect him to be called? 

 

Head cook. There is the semantical, strict, dictionary definition of chef; and there is the blood sweat tears, in the trenchs, respectful definition of chef.

 

Years of hard work, long hours, and thankless shifts can make a person possessive of the term chef when it is applied in the latter terms.

 

I play basketball, so does Michael Jordan.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #13 of 42

It's not just quality, preparation, knowledge, expertise, experience, etc. what separates chefs from home cooks. It's the skill to cook for many people, one two, sometimes three services, and yet keep a high standard of quality.

Gebbe Got uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichen und schönen Tod. Joseph Roth.
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Gebbe Got uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichen und schönen Tod. Joseph Roth.
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post #14 of 42

And Thomas Keller cooks.  What's your point?

 

It seems to me that this thread has strayed very far away from what the OP asked and for very little actual purpose -- other than to say some consider themselves better a housewife who is known for a few particular dishes which she takes to potlucks.   Otherwise, the big takeaway is that the better you cook, the better technique you have, and the better range of dishes which means the less likely you are to have a particular specialty. 

 

"Chef" is a word, not a state of grace.  It's definition was not written with a flaming finger on a stone lintel, but -- like any definition -- is created by usage.

 

I don't cook professionally anymore, but I worked on the line in very good fine-dining kitchens for a few years, and had a fine-dining catering company for a few more.  Even though I have solid technique, and do a lot of things very well thank you, I'm better at doing some things than others, and that's probably true for most professional chefs as well. 

 

If you cook Mexican cuisine equally as well as you cook French, Indian, Chinese, Greek and Cajun, you might be tremendously flexible, but it's far more likely you're not that great at any of them.

 

I joked about desserts but it's true that I don't have the interest, the skills, the flair for presentation, etc., that make for a good pastry chef (or pastry cook, if you will).  I can do a good job on a few items, but don't have much of a repertoire nor much ability to vamp.  Maybe those few things are specialties. 

 

My strengths are hot pan, grill, "Q," saucing, and -- perhaps -- bread making.  My interests in particular dishes and styles constantly evolves, although my so-called "culinary viewpoint" has remained constant since Moses wore shorts.  I'm "ingredient driven," which means I usually try to highlight certain ingredient in each dish and on each plate and use a combination of palate, technique, and other ingredients to enhance the "stars" so they taste very much what they are.

 

My catering business was a lot like what people now call "personal chef," I had a stable, limited clientele, and usually did small groups (lunch and dinner parties) as opposed to big events (hate them).  My clients had their favorite dishes from my repertoire.  Maybe those were my specialties.


For the past few years, my primary interest has been "retro" and regional American.  I think I do "California Barbecue" as well as anyone -- pro or home -- so maybe that's my specialty.

 

If I went to a lot of potlucks, I'd probably end up mostly bringing the same things both because they were well received and expected, and because they went well in potlucks.  Maybe those are my specialties.

 

Maybe tantrums,

BDL

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post #15 of 42

I agree with a lot of what you just said, Boar_d_laze.

 

Adding to it, though, and I think part of the reason why professional chefs are ever-so-reluctant to specify a specialty, is that we know that we have the capability and potential to have a relatively limitless number of "specialties", depending on the time and place, and requirements of that particular job or business.

We're rarely stagnant, always taking on new things, which for a period of time may become our specialty; but we recognize the temporary nature of that, and then as we move on it gets added to our bucket O' specialties.

Work in a Mexican restaurant for 2 years, then Spanish, then French, then Southwestern, Seafood, Pan-Asian, etc. Be involved in pastry and baking , too.  Cater large events while at those places. Then go and start a catering business, where, depending on the client requests, we'll be drawing on our collective experiences.  Our specialty now is?  Really good food.  Whether cooking for 4, 50, or 400.

 

I can more easily list what are not my specialties (sugar work, chocolate work, classic Chinese restaurant food). However, I know that given the need, I have the capability of excelling in those, too.

 

I think it's a mindset of what we CAN do, not necessarily what we've done to this point, and calling something in particular our "specialty" feels like we're leaving all of other strengths and potential out of it.  Or maybe we're just a fragile bunch - but I'm not gonna go all Anthony Bourdain on you.

post #16 of 42

Dave, I wasn't offended or anything, just it seemed illogical to imply that having a specialty is not liking other things very much.  And it was also a joke to say ":deserts" "that was a complement" because bdl had just said "not deserts" and I said complEment and not compl-i-ment, playing on words. 

 

Also i know what a hellish pathway chefs have to become what they are, learning their profession, and the difficult working conditions etc and don;t have any pretense of comparing myself to them. 

 

But perhaps you were talking about "specialty" like those restaurants that have a "specialty" that is their main showcase dish and they keep doing it over and over and over.  I wonder sometimes how some cooks can cook the same exact menu week after week, year after year.  This is the typical situation in most italian restaurants here.  People want the same thing, but i can;t imagine a chef cooking the same thing and not itching to do something different, creative, new.  There are restaurants here that have the exact same menu they had when i came here 37 years ago, and the same as a hundred other restaurants!   And i certainly am fed up eating those things here, and while i used to love to eat out, i'm completely sick of the usual menu. But this is an italian thing, and perhaps a mid-to low-end restaurant thing,. 

 

Anyway, I think it's possible to do a lot of things well, and i really think at this point that i can do any dish i set out to do, and have done some extremely complicated ones, using a good cookbook and good intuition, but i've been cooking for over 40 years.  I'm limited only by what i enjoy eating, and how much time i want to and can dedicate to one dish.  My specialty is what i like to eat, in this case. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #17 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefhow View Post

 

So based on this if you walked into the local greasy spoon for your first job or even your second and got hired to be the top dog cook would you call yourself the Chef?  I wouldnt consider you to be one and I would be non of the Chef's here that have worked to earn the title would either.  Based on your logic if I can draw a stick figure on a napkin I am an artist.

 

There was a time not that long ago that the term Chef held some weight and meant something, today its thrown around like nothing and that is sickening. Do you know what it takes to get certified as an Executive Chef?  How about a Chef de Cuisine or even a Sous Chef? Forget becoming a Master Chef, that may take decades behind the stove.  If you dont know maybe you should look it up sometime to get a better understanding, here is the link

http://www.acfchefs.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Levels&Template=/CM/HTMLDisplay.cfm&ContentID=24617S

 

 



 

Sounds petty to me.  My husband is an illustrator and artist, been published in every publication you can name and still he laughs if someone calls him an artist because you're right about my logic... everyone is an artist and if they cared to pick up pencil and paper they'd make art.  I do believe that.  Perhaps being a chef is important to you, rightly so but whatever you think that word meant "not that long ago" means something different now, so get over it.  The word "gay" used to mean something different not too long ago but can't be used with its original intent anymore can it?  So maybe it's time that you "chefs" think up of some other word to specifically identify your decades of knowledge.  Like the military.

 

If chef = chief of the kitchen then who ever is in charge is running the show, even if it's your first job at a greasy spoon.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #18 of 42

A change of view?

 

A "tradesperson" may have a specialty, i.e. a specific application of their trade skills resulting in a particular superior product, whether they be a cook, baker, pastry maker.

 

A "manager" specializes in seeing to it that everything gets done on time, in the most efficient manner, at the least cost, and with the same results every time.

 

For me, a chef and a housewife are managers as well as being competent cooks, bakers, and pastry makers as the case may be. They have a common specialty, seeing to it that what has to be done gets done, even if they have to do it themselves.

 

IMHO, the success of a chef has little to do with their cooking ability and a tremendous amount to do with their management ability.

 

So, my cooking specialties include selected classics inter alia Osso Buco, Chicken Cacciatore.

 

My specialty as a chef is seeing to it that good food is provided at an attractive price with the minimum cost to generate a positive bottom line. Whether I cook it or not is incidental.

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #19 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post

my logic... everyone is an artist and if they cared to pick up pencil and paper they'd make art.  I do believe that.  

Agreed.  And overcooked unsalted spaghetti is still food, "cooked" by someone.

 

Making "art" and being an artist...Huge distinctions that even your husband should agree with.


Edited by ChefDave11 - 7/10/12 at 5:31pm
post #20 of 42

Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post

Sounds petty to me.  

It's called pride.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post

So maybe it's time that you "chefs" think up of some other word to specifically identify your decades of knowledge.  Like the military.

 

If chef = chief of the kitchen then who ever is in charge is running the show, even if it's your first job at a greasy spoon.

 

Medical students are called "Doctor", but they themselves - and every single person around them from the patients to the nurses to the DOCTORS know that they ain't no friggin' DOCTOR.

The kids who walk out of culinary school thinking they're a chef will, without exception, be put in their place every single time.

 

The word "chef" may have a straight definition, but the title of "Chef" has many implications and understandings attached to it.  That's not semantics; that's real world.

 

And yes, there are many many (way too many) restaurants, caterers and food establishments who's head "chef" is really nothing more than a glorified cook - someone who has none of the skill, talent or qualifications of an actual chef.

post #21 of 42

Medicine is a profession.  Doctor is an educational level.  An MD has a doctor of medicine degree and is entitled to be called "doctor."  People in med school doing "clinical" get called "doctor" by staff because terms like "idiot," "junior" and "young lady" would scare the patients. 

 

Cooking is not a profession it's a trade. "Chef" is just a title, there's no job description nor any official license.  

 

Language is governed by use, and the word "chef" isn't necessarily limited to the head of the kitchen, or a cook with all sorts of management skills or anything else.  Some people with professional experience and proficiency use the word one way, and everyone else uses it in another to indicate either a skilled and/or a professional cook.  It's just a word, campers. 

 

BDL

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post #22 of 42

I understand what you're saying Boar_d_laze, but...

if you believed that "it's just a word" then shouldn't you be labeling yourself a "home cook" now instead of "former chef"?

post #23 of 42

I never came any closer to being the chef in a restaurant than working as temporary saucier at the Blue Fox in San Francisco, in1972; and when they tried to make it permanent I fled to another restaurant where I'd have less responsibility. 

 

To be honest I'm sufficiently infected with the professional usage that I had a hard time referring to myself as a chef.  "Former chef" said more about my background, knowledge and sophistication than any other of the Chef Talk titles which were available at the time I joined.  It was only after a number of people whose cooking knowledge and expertise I respect as much or more than I respect myself called me "chef" that I became comfortable with it. 

 

BDL

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post #24 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

I never came any closer to being the chef in a restaurant than working as temporary saucier at the Blue Fox in San Francisco, in1972; and when they tried to make it permanent I fled to another restaurant where I'd have less responsibility. 

 

To be honest I'm sufficiently infected with the professional usage that I had a hard time referring to myself as a chef.  "Former chef" said more about my background, knowledge and sophistication than any other of the Chef Talk titles which were available at the time I joined.  It was only after a number of people whose cooking knowledge and expertise I respect as much or more than I respect myself called me "chef" that I became comfortable with it. 

 

BDL

That's what we're saying - it's a word with meaning, not just a definition.  Seems like you agree, without knowing it outright.

post #25 of 42
Quote:

Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

 

  "Former chef" said more about my background, knowledge and sophistication than any other of the Chef Talk titles which were available at the time I joined.  It was only after a number of people whose cooking knowledge and expertise I respect as much or more than I respect myself called me "chef" that I became comfortable with it. 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

 

  What's your point?

 

It seems to me that this thread has strayed very far away from what the OP asked and for very little actual purpose -- other than to say some consider themselves better a housewife who is known for a few particular dishes which she takes to potlucks.  

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #26 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefDave11 View Post

It's called pride.

 

 

 

Medical students are called "Doctor", but they themselves - and every single person around them from the patients to the nurses to the DOCTORS know that they ain't no friggin' DOCTOR.

The kids who walk out of culinary school thinking they're a chef will, without exception, be put in their place every single time.

 

The word "chef" may have a straight definition, but the title of "Chef" has many implications and understandings attached to it.  That's not semantics; that's real world.

 

And yes, there are many many (way too many) restaurants, caterers and food establishments who's head "chef" is really nothing more than a glorified cook - someone who has none of the skill, talent or qualifications of an actual chef.

 

Is it the real world?  No, it's YOUR world.

 

Is it pride or is it a bruised ego?  Medical students are not called doctor, they are called med students and they specify their year to differentiate themselves.  There's a big difference between a 1st year med student and a 4th yr med student but in reality neither are docs yet.  Then they move on to their residencies and there they are called residents.  Your example does not apply.  And there is no comparison between people who cook and people who save lives so lets not go there.

 

I believe that the "title" of chef would be more respected if there was a standard of certification across the board.  But there isn't.  Sure, you probably need a certification in order to work at Le Bernardin, but you probably don't need a certification if you're the head cook at IHOP.  But does the head chef at Le Bernardin work harder than the guy at IHOP?  Probably not not not not not.  Being a certified chef is not a necessity across the board in the food industry, therefore the title has meaning only to those who have it.  I'm sure the guy at IHOP takes pride in his work, works long hours just like you and has a family to feed. 

 

By the way, the title "professional chef" is a bit misleading.  If you're a chef and you have the credentials to prove it why does the word "professional" need to be in there?  Does it need to be in the title?  Next time I need my taxes done I'll skip going to my CPA and seek out a professional CPA instead :)

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply
post #27 of 42
Quote:

"What's your specialty"?

It only stands to reason that every dish we make should be executed properly.

 

 

I have a signature dish , chicken cacciatore , which has an ingredient which is  unique to the dish which clients, friends and family enjoy.

 

Pete: I have my fork and knife ready to try your osso bucco.

 

This thread is about what dish you enjoy making and  maybe known for, not complicated.

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(157 photos)
  
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Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(157 photos)
  
Reply
post #28 of 42
Quote:

Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post

 

 

Is it the real world?  No, it's YOUR world.

 

Damn straight it's MY world.  It's a world I share with every chef.  We have an understanding of what it means to be a chef, what it took to get there, and why somebody deserves the title or not.  It IS earned, even though it doesn't have to be earned through a standardized certification process (although chefhow long ago posted the link to the American Culinary Federation http://www.acfchefs.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Levels&Template=/CM/HTMLDisplay.cfm&ContentID=24617)

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post

 

And there is no comparison between people who cook and people who save lives so lets not go there.

 

 

I don't know what you're trying to say with that statement.  All it does is reinforce the feeling that, through your postings on this thread, you've made it your objective to try and diminish what the title of chef should or shouldn't mean.  And I, for one, take offense to that.  I'm not offended, but I do take offense.  

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post

 

By the way, the title "professional chef" is a bit misleading.  If you're a chef and you have the credentials to prove it why does the word "professional" need to be in there?  Does it need to be in the title?  Next time I need my taxes done I'll skip going to my CPA and seek out a professional CPA instead :)

Again, you're attempting to diminish a title I EARNED.  Not ONLY through hard work - it's not about hard work, otherwise my dishwasher/prep cook would be called a chef - but through the extent of my experience(s), past and continuing education, and quality of my work.

Why does it bother you so much for "professional" to be in the title?  Why is this even an issue for you?

There is simply a delineation between professional chef and amateur chef, and I don't know any chef who refers to themselves as a "professional chef" - it's understood.  but for the purposes of Cheftalk.com, the delineation makes sense.

Our profession, what we do for work, is being a chef.  Let me reemphasize something that's been noted a number of times throughout this thread - No chef on here is in any way minimizing the quality of food a home cook may make, or diminishing what any home cook's abilities may be.

 

Next time you get your taxes done, why don't you go to the guy who took 6 accounting courses as an undergrad, and has a great grasp and understanding of it, even though that's not what he decided to do professionally?  He does it...on the side, and every single one of his clients has been very satisfied.  He is an amateur accountant, and does great work.  While you don't necessarily need a Certified Public Accountant to do your taxes, and while there are CPAs out there doing some seriously shoddy work, there is generally a comfort level that comes with using someone who has done whatever it is they needed to do to earn that title.

 

While my brother (business partner can cook and does cook at home), our clients would feel much more comfortable having me doing the cooking.

post #29 of 42

not to poke the bear but i'm a bit curious.....is there a difference between home chef and home cook?

joey

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

Reply
post #30 of 42

Lately I find myself training lots of new kitchen staff, many of which never worked in a kitchen or on a line before.  When I'm not doing that I'm assisting cooks who are showing poor performance that service.  I specialize in expediency

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