Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Educated Cook

Not too long ago, you would often find that the older generation of star chefs first got into the industry not necessarily through passion... but rather, because they dropped out of school and/or needed a way to earn some cash to support their under privileged family (this includes Joel Robuchon and Wolfgang Puck!).  You won't find many Michelin-starred chef owners who have a completed Bachelor's degree.  Dishwashers and line cooks?  You'd pick them from your favorite lot of immigrants and raggedy kids who could take it.

These days, new recruits are coming in from college, if not college with additional culinary school training.  They're backed with knowledge and are complete nerds about the food scene.  Some are just doing it for their shot at Food Network fame, but overall, it's been fascinating watching the evolution of this industry.

Many chefs complain of the 'softness' of the incoming generation -- this new batch tend to be indignant when scolded and own a sense of entitlement after swooping in with their expensive culinary school diplomas.  For the most part, I empathized with these long time chefs, restaurateurs and operational staff.  Recently though, in an issue of Lucky Peach, I read Thomas Keller's take on it.  Overall, his point was, "When is too much education ever a bad thing?"

Good point, T-dawg.

Just wanted to jot down that late night last thought.  Good night, Moon.

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