I pose this question to you my fellow comrades in arms. What role modes do you follow/ look up to/ respect? Just to name a few, mine are (in no particular order):
I remember this question from several years back. It's interesting to see how some of the new folks ask the same things. I guess when I was new, I probably brought back a thought or two. It's a good thing to do this, get's everyone to think about things and remember.
As a role model for me personally, it's any Chef I have had contact with in my career. BTW, these names are listed in no particular order and all were role models but some also were great friends, Mentors and professional guides;
Willie Reichmuth, Paul Prudhomme, Heinz Schwab, Jean Banchet, Gil Maseri, Tom Catherall, Tom Minchella, David Berry, Kevin Rathbun, Scott Peacock, Edna Lewis, Paul Albrecht, Jerry Klaskala, Henry Haller and Jason Giordanno.
had to think about this one for a bit. i couldnt name one single chef in the world and coalate him or her with any particular dish. there is one particular chef i worked for back in the late 80s early 90s that took me under his wing as a dishwasher and in 2 years turned me into his roundsman cook so to speak. it seems ive never had any inclination to mold anything i do after any particular chef. if i had to pick one i guess it would be chef ramsey. i so love the way he talks to people. that would be so fun to be on tv calling people donkeys and whatnot. any chef that kicks ass is tops in my book. the ones who just power through the challenges with a bigger growing smile as the sheet piles on.
I adore Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Julia Child is also my favorite, not so much for technique, but more for her irresistibly charming personality.
Jiro Ono, Bourdain (cliche, but Kitchen Confidential had a big impact on my, and I dig his attitude), Marco Pierre White, although God knows he can be a diva. I respect some of the really out there Gastro guys like Ferran and Liebrandt, although generally that style is just too avant-garde for me.
My culinary role models?
The ones I've worked with but you'll never hear about. The sous chef who worked 70 hours a week behind the line and was truly the heart and hustle of the whole business and never once got any credit.The 60 year old immigrant who worked 2 full time dishwashing jobs to go home to an empty, dirty, slum-lord downtown apartment every night. The super talented saute cook who never lost her composure and did everything with true grace and a huge heart (and was hot to boot). The prep cook who rode his bike 5 miles each way to work in the snow so his wife could take the car to work.
I've found the best role models are the ones around you, not the ones you'll never meet.
Incredible. I would love to stage at Uchi, but I fear I'm just not qualified enough as I'm still green. (I'd imagine Uchi has a line out the door for stage hopefuls.) I'm crossing my fingers for a real shot at Musashino, though....
Uchi and Uchiko go through an incredible number of stages. Its actually not exceedingly difficult to land a stage at uchi or uchiko, landing a paying job at either of the two is tough, but they take on TONS of stages. If you really want to get the experience there you should just contact them. Be ready to clean a lot of brussels sprouts :P
Go work for Jamie Bissonnette and you'll feel the same way, 10x.
He not only has a Wiki of recipes in his head, but can whip out a less expensive substitute AND shave a third of my prep time!
Plus the volunteer work he does with little sick kitties just melts my heart.
John Besh also rates way up on my list.
Chef Besh respects his ingredients, not straying too far from his southern Louisiana roots.
His food "speaks" to me...and I listen!
I agree with you both but maybe I wasn't clear in my topic. Those people haven't taught me anything AND probably never will. Doesn't mean they are any less inspiring then the list of chefs I've cooked under and learned from and aspired to be like. Perhaps I should have titled it "What Celebrity Chefs do You Like?", but at the same time the topic isn't "Which Uncredited Chefs or Dishwashers Do You Look Up To?". Metallica never meet the Beatles but Metallica is quoted as saying they inspired them. In the same token, I'm sure Metallica has role models that we will never know about. All matter of view point I suppose.
People can be role models to others without working for/with them, in their work ethic, attitudes, philosophy's, etc..
Chefs I have met.
The first owner I ever worked for set the standard for me. Always there, always involved, high standards, total commitment to hospitality. Everything I have learned since only complemented the essential basic lessons I learned working for him.
My instructors at Johnson and Wales University.
Several local chefs who continue to strive for perfection.
Alfred Portale of the Gotham Bar and Grill NYC. I did a one day stage a couple of years ago and learned as much in that one day as a six week course at the CIA.
Chefs I have never met who inspire me
All of you.