I'll have to go the same way, I'm not sure who is the best chef in the country, but in Kamloops I would not hesitate for a moment to vote for Monte Bell, because he is young and he is a good PR person for his restaurant. Also I would have to give a plug to the Culinary Arts teaching staff, especially Chef U. Hunziker and Chef K. Nielsen, at OUC.
Here in the states there are arguments aplenty for Keller, Palladin, Vongerichten, Ducasse (when he's here), etc, etc. Great chefs all. However, I like to think that the BEST chef is about 14 yrs. old and just starting to get "the spark". Boy, girl, who cares? We don't know their name yet but we will and when this kid is having her/his moment in the sun, there'll be another kid somewhere getting "the spark." My little fantasy>
That's cute, Mofo1. I always dream of my grandson being a chef. He's 12 and wants to be a lawyer. Something just tells me he is going to be a chef. He's too interested in food and my industrial kitchen.
I also wanted to say a kind word for a couple other chefs:
Charlie Palmer, Aureole, et al, in Manhattan
Rick Bayless of Topolobampo in Chicago,
and my persoanl hero,
Alice Waters at Chez Panisse in Berkley
She's the reason I got into this business, and I got to meet her at the Salone Del Gusto in Turin last fall. It was pretty embarassing, though, as I gushed like a schoool at a N'Sync concert. 37 year old man, articulate, published, successful, and I couldn't create a cohesive sentence.
Anyway, can there really be 1 greatest chef? Every time someone says Michael Jordan, there will be someone who'll say Bill Russell
There are many great chefs in this world, the challange is justifying your choice (you will note that I never made a choice, just posed the question!)
A great chef does not have be a famous chef, it can be someone you know or have worked with that has been an inspiration, role model blah blah...... I would love to hear what makes them the best. Also are they good for our profession because they create amazing food or because they are good for the image of the business.....
Well, Alice Waters gets the nod for both of those things, as does Rick Bayless for all his work with Chef's Collaborative.
But among the unfamous, let me say a word about a Marriott E.C. name Roger Valentine (actually, he may be with Sodexho now). This guy taught me more about attitude than anybody. He's the one who said "if you can't stand the heat, clean the walk-in" and "I got into this business for the great money and the great hours. Boy, did I get screwed." What little my father didn't teach me about work ethic I got from Roger Valentine,Marriott Newport, 1988-1990.
I have a great respect for all of the great chefs, but the reason I am so into Emeril is because he has made a situation that terrified me - because I wanted to do it so desperately, a not so serious form of having fun. Taking away the fear of cooking has brought me much success. And I never felt that he was preening his knowledge and education and experience above us commoners who aren't chefs. He shares, and becomes one of us. I'm the same way with doctors. I like a doctor who makes light of everything. If he were to announce that I have some horrible disease, I'd want him to do it in a light hearted, almost joking manner. Very serious doctors scare me. Very serious chefs scare me too
as i was growing through the ranks I always admired Soltner and Girady, They never left ther kitchens. I think thats what made me believe you can be one of the best without having an agent.ferinand point also comes to mind...to those not familar..he was the Chef that many of the great chefs of france worked for 30 years ago,way before Ducasse. Bocuse,verge,Blance,sendereins are examples all going on to own and maintan 3 star restarants in france.When I was studying with madiliene Kamman I would have to say that I learned more from this incredible Woman,Chef,restauranter etc..then any.
CC - I don't think Jer was talking about the image of the particular chef, but rather about the publics image of our profession and our craft. Anyone who does something to improve that wins thanks from me.
Most people, when they think of a chef, still conjure up an image that looks a lot like the chef in Disney's "Little Mermaid", and that's if they are being charitable. When they think of our craft, most people think great food is exclusively for rich snobs out to be seen and that the stuff we make is bizarre, complicated, and frightening.
So while some of the media chefs do drive me nuts (Emeril & Graham Kerr - except the Galloping Gourmet was a trip), others are doing us all a great service (Julia leaps to mind) by making what we do seem approachable and even fun.
The Dear departed Louis Syzmanzky (spelling)who invented Beef Wellington and donated his entire cookbook collection to J&W went to Wash DC and lobbied for chefs to be categorized as professionals and he succeeded.That is a great testimony of the "image" of a Chef.With that said, I do believe that there are many Chefs out there that are busting there arse to elevate the image of what we all do, I am one of them and I know you are to. Just by looking at your wonderful website. I think what I meant by "image" in my previous post was directed to the "so called " world of chefs who only care about how good they look in Bragard...
The spelling you were searching for is "Szathmary", and here's a little-known tidbit for you. Chef Louis did donate a sizeable collection to J&W, but he donated portions of his collection elsewhere, as well, including the University of Virginia and right here at good ol' U. of Iowa. Under the marvelous curating powers of delightful and talented David Schoonover (I have to be nice to him so he'll let me see the books); The UI Szathmary collection has grown into the largest collection of antique and rare cookbooks in the world. Including roman manuscripts, handwritten Escoffier recipes, and much more. Really quite a treat to have such a reference right at hand.
Keller and Puck for their sense of play, both have kitchens that are chef friendly...overlooking gardens, open windows...I recall Puck years ago saying cooking should be play...no truer words hit my heart. Michael Fields, MFK Fisher for the organization and lateral cooking...
Julia Child and Pepin for letting us learn through mistakes...Soltner for raising the bar...
Alice Waters cus she just does what she believes in...and well.
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