Saturday, September 25, 2004

Dickhead Chefs

I was reading my weekly pile of trade mags today( I've always felt they should produce a trade mag called Shitter Magazine as this is where 97% of what's written in them belong). All of these mags are produced for the corporate "bottom line" and have nothing to do with integrity in ANY area. There are some useful bits of info, but for the most part they are about how to mollify the masses and keep the corporate higher ups in tacky suits and they're wives in too much makeup. Anyway, what always amazes me is how most of these shoemakers don't have the slightest realization that they have a responsibility to cuisine. What got me started thinking about this is when I saw a recipe for "Morrocan Rice Pudding". I was expecting, Morrocan spices, maybe a little honey, saffron or raisins SOMETHING that would denote the culture. Nope. It was just a name added to make it seem "ethnic". Perfect. It would make the sheep feel "adventuresome", and have absolutely no association with a culinarily brilliant culture or any of those pesky unfamiliar tastes. I hate this approach to cooking and menu nomenclature. The using and abusing of cultures to sell something without giving even the slightest props to them. You've all probably seen it. Cajun Eggrolls. KungPao Quesadillas. Sante Fe Pasta Primavera. To cook any type of ethnic food, you have to put yourself in the frame of mind of the particular culture. Would this ingredient be used in a particular cuisine? What are the similarities between the different cultures that are being combined? Do they share technique? Is is a sensible blending?Very few are. Nine times out of ten they don't even understand the culinary history of the cultures they're playing with. This is why I hate fusion. "Look, I have black beans! And I have egg roll skins!" "I've got an idea!!!" Yeah me too. I'll get the 12 gauge, you get the apple! Foods put together by ungrounded and unprincipled idiots who don't realize we also have a role as teachers. It is us who open the world to people through food and not mislead . These guys are the guys who wouldn't hesitate to put on a silly hat and perform virtually any undignified stunt to call attention to themselves. The ones in the chile pepper coats. The whacky colored headbands. Who dress their kids up in those wretched baby sized chef's clothes. You can travel the entire world through food and they don't even want to pull out of the driveway. Just because you CAN do something with ingredients, doesn't mean you should. These clowns are far more devastating to the palate than virtually anything else. Not teaching people the greatness of cultures and cuisine, but dumbing it down. making it approachable for the "guy next door". Fuck him. If he is too timid, so weak-kneed that he is afraid of a plate of food, he doesn't deserve to eat. Anything.
It's like saying Brittany Spears is a singer(sure, I'm sure she has skills, but singing isn't one of them!). Or Barbara Cartland is a novelist. By default I guess they are what they are labeled. But true artists/craftspeople will still vomit in their graves!


Blogger Rikibeth said...

Don't even get me started on the way my boss likes to use "Tuscan" as a buzzword description when the dish isn't even vaguely Tuscan, because the yuppie boneheads who come into the place think it sounds good.

I re-name the stuff more suitably whenever I can.

7:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for you! Lemme guess, it's Tuscan because it has one of the following items; Parmesan,tomatoes,basil or olive oil? Bosses( in most any field) HATE cooks (workers) with integrity.


10:48 PM  

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