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Your "Mount Rushmore" of chefs?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Just curious--who are the FOUR chefs that you would put on your "Mount Rushmore"?

For non-Americans: Mount Rushmore is a mountain carving of four of the greatest presidents (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln)

 

For me--

Joel Robuchon -- Most Michelin stars of any chef... what else do I have to say

Jose Andres -- Personally my favorite chef. Trained under Adria and now does it all. Love his concepts, ideas, and stewardship

Ferran Adria -- No explanation needed

David Chang -- Slaps you in the face with his ideas, straight up and blunt. Different / post modern? way of approaching Asian food, and a nice change up form the fine dining pomp.


Edited by westbigballin - 4/8/15 at 11:39pm
post #2 of 23

For me probably Keller, Pepin, Dufresne and Blumenthal.  That's just off the cuff and there are so many that I greatly respect and admire (Rene Redzepi, Grant Atchatz,  Marco Pierre White, etc).

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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post #3 of 23
Vatel, Careme, The Roux's, Boucose. Very French, I know. I think an Anglo centric version might be in order...
post #4 of 23
oh this is fun. Pierre Gagnaire (google image search: Cuisine Note a Note Pierre Gagnaire), Paul Bocuse, Auguste Escoffier, Marie-Antoine Careme. Yep. In that order.

my anglo list would be embarrassingly filled with "celebrity chefs" but marco pierre white's original show was awesome and so was ramsay's first appearance on tv after leaving aubergine. very good stuff. heston blumenthal is a personal favourite of mine as well. I like everything he does.
post #5 of 23
Careme, escoffier, fernand point, and bocuse.
post #6 of 23

I'm curious as to why you place these people on such pedestals.

 

They are after all, just cooks who became famous when someone discovered them.

There are literally hundreds of thousands great cooks out there who have never been in the lime light.

 

I can understand the founding fathers (Careme, Escoffier, Bocuse) as their insights are valuable to the history of food, but today's Chef's are simply standing on the those other's shoulders.

post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefross View Post
 

I'm curious as to why you place these people on such pedestals.

 

They are after all, just cooks who became famous when someone discovered them.

There are literally hundreds of thousands great cooks out there who have never been in the lime light.

 

I can understand the founding fathers (Careme, Escoffier, Bocuse) as their insights are valuable to the history of food, but today's Chef's are simply standing on the those other's shoulders.

Lighten up--it's just a "for fun" exercise to see what others hold in high regard, in their opinion. 

 

If Mount Rushmore were the founding fathers, Lincoln and Roosevelt would not have been on there. It was simply at the artist's discretion and opinion.

 

"just cooks who became famous when someone discovered them" is one of the dumbest things I've ever read, culinary-related. They're famous for a reason, especially in this day and age when there are, as you said, hundreds of thousands of great cooks out there also. 

They've distinguished themselves in some way. To simply stand on the shoulders of others is an easy path to follow since it has been carved out already, but for them to be famous means that they did something right that the masses agree with.

 

For example--I have José Andrés on my Mount Rushmore, along with Ferran Adria. You could say he's just standing on the shoulders of Adria, but he still has made a huge name for himself by taking Adria's work further (same with Grant Achatz). Plus, I like José Andrés' concepts, style, execution, variety, and I would like to emulate his work/style (which is why I hold him in high regard).

 

Seriously, take that stick out of your ass and lighten up: it's a playful exercise for others to express their opinion. Otherwise, have fun following recipes to the exact gram and milliliter.

post #8 of 23
as they say theres nothing new under the sun... modern cooking is fairly non traditionalist you must admit
post #9 of 23

 Thomas Keller, Charlie Trotter, Norman Van Aken, Jeremiah Tower...dark horse candidate... Anthony Bourdain because he put chefs and the biz in everyone's mind

 

 

disclaimer: this

Quote:
Originally Posted by westbigballin View Post
 

it's just a "for fun" exercise to see what others hold in high regard, in their opinion. 

 

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 #10 of 23

Bocuse- Front runner of nouvelle cuisine and living legend still going at 90 years old.

Robuchon- Powerhouse of Michelin Stars and restaurants, started the most modern style of cuisine we're still ushering in to this day

Keller- Undoubtedly the most decorated American chef

 

I can't pick a fourth there's so many to choose from! Savoy, Jean-Georges, Boulud, Ramsay, Adria, Blumenthal and lots more. As you can see my list is quite French and doesn't include chefs born 250+ years ago (escoffier. careme etc.). While these chefs clearly deserve recognition for their epic contributions to French cuisine they're not on my Rushmore because current time plays into perspective too, Bocuse is on the tail end here too! If you ask me in 10 years again who's on my Rushmore he probably won't be there! Every chefs achievements are measured in relation to modern times as their cuisines become more and more irrelevant. I also don't include any Western chefs or Japanese influences because I'm not well schooled enough those cuisines to rate them among French cuisine to which I am familiar,

post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by linecook854 View Post
 

Bocuse- Front runner of nouvelle cuisine and living legend still going at 90 years old.

Robuchon- Powerhouse of Michelin Stars and restaurants, started the most modern style of cuisine we're still ushering in to this day

Keller- Undoubtedly the most decorated American chef

 

I can't pick a fourth there's so many to choose from! Savoy, Jean-Georges, Boulud, Ramsay, Adria, Blumenthal and lots more. As you can see my list is quite French and doesn't include chefs born 250+ years ago (escoffier. careme etc.). While these chefs clearly deserve recognition for their epic contributions to French cuisine they're not on my Rushmore because current time plays into perspective too, Bocuse is on the tail end here too! If you ask me in 10 years again who's on my Rushmore he probably won't be there! Every chefs achievements are measured in relation to modern times as their cuisines become more and more irrelevant. I also don't include any Western chefs or Japanese influences because I'm not well schooled enough those cuisines to rate them among French cuisine to which I am familiar,

 

I think most of us would agree on the same Japanese chef(s)--Nobu, and maybe Jiro if you liked the documentary and can't think of any of the numerous other Michelin starred sushi chefs.

 

If my assumption is wrong, please let me know who you would put up there for curiosity's (and personal edification's) sake.

post #12 of 23

Masaharu Morimoto, Nobu Matsuhisa, Tetsuya Wakuda, Miki Nozawa

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 23

I do like Charlie Trotter.  If you had talked to the man you would see that not only was his cuisine extremely progressive, but you would be impressed by way he thought about the world, his cooks, and the people around him, and the people who visited his place.  He really put people first, and everyone felt like an important person when they met him.

post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheflayne View Post
 

Masaharu Morimoto, Nobu Matsuhisa, Tetsuya Wakuda, Miki Nozawa

Morimoto was the next person I would have named after Nobu and Jiro. I'm not too sold on him though, as I feel like a majority of his recognition comes from his Iron Chef celebrity days, and I haven't heard overwhelmingly good reviews about his restaurants (usually something about it being too expensive relatively for the value/taste?)

 

I'm from Hawaii so I can name off a ton of locally famous Asian chefs... Alan Wong, Roy Yamaguchi, Russell Siu... but they're hardly known outside of Hawaii.

post #15 of 23

Susur Lee, but not included on my Japanese Rushmore for obvious reasons.

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 #16 of 23
Quote:
Susur Lee, but not included on my Japanese Rushmore for obvious reasons.

 

When I first saw this I thought it read Sandra Lee, and my first thought was "Finally, someone suggested someone that is truly worthy of being on the Culinary Mt. Rushmore!!"  :p

post #17 of 23

A. Escoffier, W. Puck, Alvin Leung (HK Chef - worked with him for some time and love his expressionism in the kitchen), N. Matsuhisa

 

And of course Gordon Ramsay - he does give Chef's around the world such a wonderful image :smoking:

post #18 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iridium12 View Post
 

A. Escoffier, W. Puck, Alvin Leung (HK Chef - worked with him for some time and love his expressionism in the kitchen), N. Matsuhisa

 

And of course Gordon Ramsay - he does give Chef's around the world such a wonderful image :smoking:

Solid four, though I'm surprised Wolfgang is in the actual four and Ramsay is the honorable mention. I expected vice versa (Puck as honorable mention).

 

 

A question for everyone:


Do you find your four chefs to be a matter of personal opinion? Such their styles or experiences aligning with yours, making them "closer" to you?
Or you did you choose your four chefs out of historical context (which is evident in some responses) and regard for their work, without any parallels to yours?

 

I find myself leaning towards the former for 2 1/2 (Andres, Chang, JR) of my chefs, and latter for Adria and JR.

post #19 of 23
Quote:
Do you find your four chefs to be a matter of personal opinion? Such their styles or experiences aligning with yours, making them "closer" to you?
Or you did you choose your four chefs out of historical context (which is evident in some responses) and regard for their work, without any parallels to yours?

 

This is why I, personally, haven't participated in this thread.  It's too difficult for me to choose between those that I feel are more historically "important" and those that are important to me.  Then do you choose old school, French chefs, or those that contributed to the US culinary scene?  Then what about all the great Asian chefs, both modern and historical (which I know nothing about).  For me it is just too impossible to narrow it down to 4.

post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete View Post
 

 

This is why I, personally, haven't participated in this thread.  It's too difficult for me to choose between those that I feel are more historically "important" and those that are important to me.  Then do you choose old school, French chefs, or those that contributed to the US culinary scene?  Then what about all the great Asian chefs, both modern and historical (which I know nothing about).  For me it is just too impossible to narrow it down to 4.

It's not like you're being graded or judged on it, so just take a stab at it for fun once you can narrow it down to four people by whatever guidelines you choose.

Compared to most everyone else's responses, mine seem to be pretty unconventional but I'm not getting any flak for it.

post #21 of 23
Quote:

It's not like you're being graded or judged on it, so just take a stab at it for fun once you can narrow it down to four people by whatever guidelines you choose.

Compared to most everyone else's responses, mine seem to be pretty unconventional but I'm not getting any flak for it.

 

I realize that, but I just can't narrow it down.  Just about every time I do then I think about other chefs that are just as deserving.  I'd need a whole mountain range!!!!

 

Mt. Rushmore #1

Robuchon

Keller

Adria (not a big fan myself, but he really made chefs look at food a different way)

Escoffier

 

Mt. Rushmore #2 (My All-American Version)

Keller

Alice Waters

Charlie Trotter

James Beard (technically not a chef, but did a lot for the American food scene)

post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by westbigballin View Post
 

Solid four, though I'm surprised Wolfgang is in the actual four and Ramsay is the honorable mention. I expected vice versa (Puck as honorable mention).

 

 

A question for everyone:


Do you find your four chefs to be a matter of personal opinion? Such their styles or experiences aligning with yours, making them "closer" to you?
Or you did you choose your four chefs out of historical context (which is evident in some responses) and regard for their work, without any parallels to yours?

 

I find myself leaning towards the former for 2 1/2 (Andres, Chang, JR) of my chefs, and latter for Adria and JR.


Well - as much as I like Ramsay his face would just not look good on my Rushmore :)

 

Main reason for Puck to be in there first is because what I deeply enjoy when working with him or watching him cook is his uncomplicated manner and approach (much like Ramsay - keep it simple) but in a different way...

 

I would have to say, Escoffier definitely for his contribution (understatement) to the profession of the cook and of course to making it more accessible to many

The other more because of their style

post #23 of 23
Thread Starter 

Two interesting articles I came across today that kinda pertained to this. 

 

David Chang on Corey Lee -- basically puts Corey Lee on his Mount Rushmore. Talks about Corey Lee's path to Benu, his style, and his new book out today. Legend has it that Corey Lee told all of the staff at The French Laundry to stand and watch him cook because they were doing a terrible job one night, and Corey Lee ran all of dinner service by himself. 

http://luckypeach.com/ocean-green/

 

José Andrés on asking "why" regarding food to see the big picture / that cooking isn't that simple, talks about Ferran Adria

http://theplate.nationalgeographic.com/2015/04/20/tempting-fate-for-the-sake-of-food-science/

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