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« teaching. baking, manners, accountability, cleanliness, efficiency. | Main | remembered. »

25 July 2011


Yes Wambach has hit the nail on the head! "Everyone just wants to be a superstar" They don't want to be chefs..they want to be Bobby Flay. And that is just sad.

I truly enjoyed the comment about negative feedback. I guess at 31 I'm still pretty young, but the 20 year olds in the kitchen get so butt hurt when I give them constructive criticism. Lighten up! AND SEASON IT ALREADY! HA!

Is this really a surprise?
Both things and people change from generation to generation, to expect a carbon- copy of a previous one would be somewhat foolish. Clearly, I'm not trying to make an excuse for those of us that don't work as hard as we should, but isn't instilling the work ethic of this craft part being a Chef?
The defeated and exasperated theme of both this article and Chef Chang's tweet ,which started this, is somewhat troubling to me. It sounds to me as though you think we are a lost cause, which smacks of irony considering that the same was almost certainly said of your generation.
Would you say that I am mistaken because I would appreciate your opinion

grrr...i have been posting about this for a few weeks, as it relates to our school needing qualified instructors. It stinks...but then I turn around and look at the students that I am teaching...and I think...its true that the food network has ruined us...I have one potential good cook...and 7 students who in reality need to work in another profession.

But, I in turn have a responsibility to train them and mentor them and mold them into future culinarians. And who am I to crush their dreams? If I was a boss, then yes, I could say 'you suck and might never amount to being able to cook your way out of a paper bag!', but I am employed by said students to give them a shot at potential.
So where does that put me...part of the problem or part of the solution?
And where does that put the people who complain about not having qualified peeps? Do we develop and deal?

PS Miss your posts...know your busy...but still.

yes, culinary schools are now diploma mills, churning out mediocre talent that expect they are the best on the get go. It is the spirit that drives us cooks. the diploma is a plus. It is more difficult now to weed out the undesirables from the people you really need: Those with talent and relentless passion in the art of cooking

I think those quotes can really only be applied to North America. The reality is that we have a very young culinary tradition in North America and as new trends in cooking come a long, chefs tend to embrace them and forget about doing the basics properly.

One of the prime examples of this is sous-vide cooking. It's a fine method of cooking, that can produce excellent results, but it has become so sexy that chef's are using it for everything. What you are seeing now is a new generation of cooks taught how to cook sous-vide without understanding how to grill a steak properly or cook a piece of pork to medium.

In Europe it is quite different. Students undergo about 4 years of apprenticeship and in most cases it is an understood reality of the job that you are going to be working hard for 12-16 hours a day. Especially in the higher end restaurants, there is no problem finding dedicated, hard working staff who understand basic culinary principles.

One final thought: it is also very much the responsibility of the chef and owner of an establishment to run a restaurant that attracts the type of people they want to be working with.

Are the chef's hard working themselves? Are the owners visible in their own restaurants? Is the kitchen innovative? Is the work environment a genuinely good place for new cooks to learn and grow? Generally, the answer to those questions is no, and most chefs and owners need look more into what they can do to better attract quality employees.

Gordon Ramsay bears a large part of the blame. His media circus 'cooking' programs encourage no-talent contestants with an excess of hubris into thinking they are capable of running a upmarket kitchen. How long do these people actually last in the highly paid jobs and how much supervision do they need?
I admit I watch - but only to see
the gladatorial contests, and to pick out the obvious winner ( usually the one with the fewest tantrums). But it is obviously a PR stunt for Ramsay himself and his restaurants.

Wholly Flying Fudge Monkeys, Had someone show up to a Mystry basket for a souschef position looking rough and no knives or anything, just ready to fly by the seat of his pants. Sanitation, organization, menu developement, seasons, WTF, out the window and was happy with it. I was O to real in the eval, still wanted to know if he had the job. WTF, did i not say you need help, you can be a cook, was over promoted early and not willing to step back to learn. This was one of the better ones to interview. My old Austrian chef would have lost his mind.

I have to train the ones(students) that what to learn, and wait until they are ready to cook opn the line. We have drug test and background checks, 20% make it, if that. Save me the trouble, study. OMG i would have done anything and worked my ass off to get to learn, now they what to be a rock star over night when they sux.

I work 6-8days a week, cook the line, make staff meal, and all the other crap to run a 2 mil budget, and sux in the real life because i cant let it fall apart as the ex chef. I sux, as a human! I dont like humans, except my 2 kids and wife. Run me through.

I like to read you blog, someone knows the pain that is begining a chef. Keep up the great, osome work!

I think that part of the problem is the glory of the televised cooking shows.The gorgeous kitchens, the AC and the glamour. Having cooked professionally for less than 10 years all I saw was scorching heat, no breaks, and i worked harder than I ever thought possible. I have a very good work ethic and I never shirk responsibility, but when all you see is glamour it's hard to understand why you can't step into it. I feel sorry for them. Miss you, Shuna, your posts are always spot on.

I've been through the school curriculum and now I'm working in the field.
I saw the different types of students the schools pull in. Everyone from the natural talented ones, to the keen "I'm really here to learn", to I'm here putting in time and those who don't care. (I'd like to think I have some talent, but I'm probably one of the keen people who just love to cook and wanted to learn.)
The food channel, mags showing food porn and celebrity chefs is the new Hollywood or Broadway. You could be discovered and become a star overnight. What are the odds?
For myself, I'm happy to find work in a good place where the owners treat you with respect. BTW - I'm of those that arrives early and leaves late (sometimes I've closed up).
BTW2 - love your blob. I've missed you lately.

Khalil, your attitude its exactly part of the problem: the craft is there to learn, go get it! Why are you waiting for someone to teach you?

It is simply not possible to instill in someone, an attitude that is not there to start with. If you have a work ethic, use it.

Rich, it starts with honesty. If they truly have potential, you can help them develop it. If not, no amount of mentoring is going to do anything but mislead them.

Everyone thinks they are so damned privileged. No one wants to work from the ground up, they want to hit the ground running. Going to school doesn't mean you walk out a star and sadly this is the kind of bs that is being fed new culinary students. I should know, thats what they told me. I don't buy it though. I'm learning what I can and as much of it as I can. I worked in a bakery for 6 months before I decided to go full steam with school. I love the Chefs that push us. Tell me what I did well and what I need to work on and how I can improve. I know I'm only learning technical skills but if i take those skills and find a place and a Chef to learn from those technical skills can be honed and I can one day be the craftsperson of the kitchen and pass on my knowledge to the next generation.

im 20 and i just started working at a small roadside diner recently and im not sure iv got talent or even the work ethic but your post's definetly gave me some insight into the buisness as a whole. thanks

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