Chef means leader, we can do better.

This is to the guys who’ve been in the game for ten years or more and are running crews of their own. We seriously need to step up and do a better job at being leaders. We need to spend our time and energy focused on building our crews and teaching the next generation how we do what we do.

I know that the trolls are the vocal minority but if you look at just about any cooking or food group on places like Facebook or Reddit, you have a bunch of kids with great intentions and ideas, but who lack the skill to pull off what they’re trying to do. These kids want to cook, they have heart, they’re asking for guidance.

What they get is a bunch of trash talking assholes.

Yes, I know this is the internet and that the trolls are just part of it. I deal with these idiots all the time and the simple fact is that I could write an article of the importance of using a sharp knife in the Kitchen and people would still tell me I’m a loser piece of shit. Do they matter? No, in fact half of them couldn’t boil water if you put a gun to their dick. Yet they are vocal and it’s hard to learn when you have 15 people telling you how much your food sucks.

Yes, I know it’s the Kitchen.

Fuck I hang out at a Tattoo shop on my days off with Mike. I have no issue with people talking shit and, if anything, I honestly think that the Kitchen has gotten a little to PC. What it comes down to is respect. We don’t have that anymore.

Foul as month old shrimp

Yes, I know you’re the greatest Chef ever and have 5 million instagram followers but here’s a fun fact: at one point you didn’t know piss from pasta until someone was nice enough to teach you. But you got a few good reviews and even banged some drunk rich divorcee and now you think you’re Gods gift to the Kitchen at some bullshit “gastropub/microbrewery/fair trade coffee roaster, and you make sure that everyone knows it.

So what are you worried about?

I know these plates look horrible, they’d never make it out the pass in my Kitchen but you don’t need to be a total dick about it when the person is asking for help. Is that were we’re at as Chefs? We kick people asking for help?

If you’re such hot shit, why don’t you show them how it’s done? How about sharing a little wisdom and helping these kids out? What, are you worried they’re going to steal your thunder? Are you really that insecure? Do you really think you’re that special? Seriously?

You’re given it freely but you don’t get it until you give it away.

I used to hear this all the time when I was in AA and it didn’t make much sense until I started writing this site. I know how make pasta and can do it blindfolded since I’ve done it for so long that it’s a matter of feel. That said, I didn’t really understand it until I had to breakdown and examine the process and then try to explain it in a way that anyone could understand. Doing this forced me question all sorts of things I’d never bothered to look at and in turn made me better at making pasta.

One of the biggest reasons I run this site is the simple fact that I can only cook a certain number of meals per night and this seriously limits my impact. By sharing what I know freely, I’m able to (hopefully) inspire others to cook with the same love and passion and educate them on certain truths they might not be aware of.

We’re only going to die from our own arrogance.

This is the problem with idolizing guys like Ramsey and his tirads, it sends the wrong message to the next generation. Yes, when the pressure and stress hit, things can get nasty in the Kitchen and it’s part of how things work at times. What they don’t show on camera is at the end of the night when everyone is working together as a team and having a shift drink. We need to bring back the camaraderie and work with the next generation. We need focus on building up our crews up instead of beating them down.

While we’re busy trashing each other, companies such as Sysco are filling in the void with prepackaged bullshit that any idiot with a microwave can make. If we don’t show these kids how to roast bones and make stock, what other option do they have but to use the paste in the plastic jars? If you don’t share your Cheesecake recipe, they can just buy a frozen one and drizzle a bit of chocolate flavored corn syrup over it.

Maybe I’m lazy

One of the best compliments I can get as a Chef is when a friend says “Hey, we came by your place the other night and the food was  amazing, we wanted to say hi but thought you were busy” and I get to say “Nope, I was off that night, that was my crew”.

It means that I’ve done my job by making sure that my crew knows how to do thiers. It means that I don’t have to be there to babysit them everyday and get stupid texts on my days off. It takes me way less time and effort to work with my staff and make sure they have the knowledge and tools to do the job then trying to explain it over the phone in a rush. I make sure my staff, both front and back of the house, knows the menu inside and out. That way I don’t have to worry and I can focus on getting stoned and creating specials.

On that note, when things go well, the credit goes to the crew, when things go sideways, I take the heat since I’m calling the shots. Anyone arrogant enough to take the credit has clearly never worked a packed house and had the dishwasher call in

Keep in mind some of the greatest Chefs in history didn’t get their start by going to culinary school, they got their start in the dishpit. “This week he’s mopping floors next week it’s the fries” is how it works for a lot of us. Everyone who’s ever been great sucked when they started and they worked and learned and failed and pushed. Remember your roots and lets work with these kids.  

9 Comments

  1. So god dam important
    I was looking at the direction that what people are calling “ Food “ these days all pre packaged
    This will simply not do
    It is why we trained so hard gave up huge amounts of time and left loved one alone on holidays and weekends
    Runed relationships
    We as chefs have the moral obligation to pass the true Art to others

  2. Great read man!!!👍 I’m a cook inspiring to hopefully someday become a chef if I can make it outta this small town I’m in now. I’m also a addict in recovery. I’m also a father. I have tons of motivation a hope to someday be as knowledgeable as you.

    1. admin

      Much appreciated. Keep in mind that it’s how you cook, not what you cook. Even if it’s an order of Fries, take pride in that shit and make em with love. In terms of your recovery, service work is key (in my opinion) and helping others will help you. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.

  3. Gary Mcfarlane

    I’m a rehab chef that learned to cook at a homeless shelter while quitting meth being trained by a chef with 40 yrs in the buisiness and 30 yrs with the bottle. He taught me everything I know. I never worked in a kitchen before my recovery. 6 yrs later I work as a chef in a “luxury rehab” write my own menus use my own recipes all because a chef said he always wants the people he trains to become a better chef then himself. That is the mark of a true chef a true leader.

  4. John

    I am not a cook or a chef or anything like that. I rarely make food honestly, but this is really inspiring. It’s really amazing to see how much people care. Thank you so much for the great read.

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