Monday, October 11, 2004

How To Become a Chef Today

Here's how you do it.
1) Go to any cooking school
2) Work for a month here and a month there for really GOOD chef's who've paid their dues
3) Don't learn how to cook. Fuck learning how to make mashed potatoes correctly, make wasabi mashed potatoes.
4) Don't read anything about food or cooking except glossy magazines
5) Carry around evey little kitchen gadget and 20 dull knives in a big briefcase
6) Land a executive chef's job and freak out when you have to think on the fly. Then yell at everybody for your own inabilities.

Isn't it enough we have to have the public insult our intelligence on a daily basis without having to deal with these young , little twerps that see a chef on t.v and discover their true calling? I discovered mine when I was about 7 or 8. For some reason I always liked arranging cheese and crackers for the family. I then made strudel dough from a book and stretched it across our kitchen table. I didn't do anything with it as my friends came over and we had to go blow some shit up, but nonetheless it was so thin you could see through it. In hindsight, I guess I was destined for this profession. Years of sacrifice, verbal abuse, ungodly hours and reading...reading...reading..working...working...working...and Voila! Here I am! Broke because I have principles. Anyway, my point is I don't ever recall saying" I wanna be a chef!" I just took jobs because restaurant jobs were easy to get. Washing dishes, then doing a little veg. prep AND washing dishes. Helping the cooks and washing THEIR fucking dishes. Eventually making some salads...helping the busboys break the rungs out of the chairs so they would collapse under the customer. Slowly...verrrrry slowly working my way up. I don't ever recall thinking I was too good for whatever job I was doing. I was learning tons but didn't realize it. It was just work to me. I remembered every single thing I had to do.
Nowadays try teaching some snot how to cook. They don't want to learn how to cook. They want to learn how to make money and have people tell them how great they are. As I said before I'm on the " Star Chefs" site. When you get elected they have a big ceremony and one of the things you have to do is be on a panel of chef's speaking to culinary students. What a scary, disinterested lot this was. I'm just looking at these kids and thinking.."You're going to fail horribly". Not all I guess, but most. Then you're assigned a couple of student helpers who follow you around, keeping you from smoking cigarettes and scouting for potential chef groupies. One kid who was particularly annoying just came right out and asked...."What's the fastest way to get to where you are?"
I wanted to shove his head in the toilet. "There's no fast way to get anywhere good" I told him.
He kept on.."Does it take a long time to become a chef?"..."I was thinking..like..when I get out of school, I could like.. get a job in a restaurant." It made me think. You just got a lecture from a bunch of chefs on how we got where we are and you didn't even listen. And this is the future of cooking. It the same as writing, painting, designing clothes ...ANYTHING . You have to want to do it more than anything else in your life. If it doesn't consume you ..GET OUT QUICK! If you think making fresh pasta and cleaning 30 lbs of fish is boring and gross. Quit. Please.We don't want you. Don't insult us and don't ruin your own lives. Most of all don't insult us, or we'll ruin your lives worse than you could ever hope to. If you have no passion about anything ...if someone asks you what really gets you fired up and you can't answer, you're a worthless human being to me.
What's wrong with this generation of "artists" who don't believe in the most important part of the learning process. The sacrifice. Wanna train to be a chef AND have a life ? Go fuck yourself.
I hate and am actually kind of scared where cooking is headed. I feel like a dinosaur most days. Mostly though I get worried that I'm gonna stroke out from some asshole that's too important to learn to cook properly. If you roll your eyes when I show you how to make gnochi guess what, next you'll be taking out the trash because my dishwasher is a lot more valuable than you. I'm not really a screamer anymore but I'm not so sure this is a good thing.

19 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm nominating you for president.

10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool. My stategy would be to drop hams and televisions instead of bombs. Then blow the rest of government(our) money on great nationwide party for people who actually work for a living. I'd make the rich elite scum do the dishes. Then kill them.

A.C.

10:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try being classified as one of these upstart little fucks. I am 23 years old and the Executive Chef of a well respected 3 Star restaurant. I don't have a fancy culinary degree from Cordon Bleu or CIA hell I've never been to cooking school. When I was 16 I started at a modest place for minimum wage as an expo. I did that for almost a year as well as many other crappy jobs that the GM could find to drop on a stupid kid. I started waiting tables and did a little work as a bartenders assistant. Finally I moved on. 4 star hotel looking for busboys and general people to fuck over O.K. A full year of bullshit, being yelled at etc by the Chef finally he likes me. Takes me on as his apprentice, find out he is a Chef de Cuisine(Highest Rank in Canada) and an accredited 5 star chef from Montreal. Shit yeah! followed him for a year and a bit till he moved then latched on to his Sous Chef, same deal. I guess you get the point. Maybe I don't have a cooking certificate from all these fancy places but I do have all thier textbooks and charts. I buy a new cooking book each week and try to learn the principles to cook not how to have a fancy knife bag and crazy looking whites. I know they think they are better than me but why don't we take it to my world, the actual kitchen not some mocked up bullshit with some instructor over my shoulder. Fuck these clowns! try doing it with a little passion and hard work not with by waving a piece of paper ROOKIE. Bravo Chef

12:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not a cook and have no desire to be, but through reading your blog, I have really started looking at my artwork in a different way. Your passion is contagious. You're a fucking rock star man. Thanks for being so honest. I laugh my ass off reading this shit and it also makes me think.

8:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Angry Chef! What do you recommend reading instead of glossy magazines?

I'm not a chef myself, just curious.

3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, writing is the same way. I've finally just started publishing semi-regularly this year, and I know that it will be years before I make any kind of name for myself--if I ever do. But I'm willing to keeping slogging away on the chance that I'll eventually get where I want to be, seeing as how I'd be slogging away anyway because I can't do anything else. But...

...A lot of people will ask me questions about writing along the lines of, "How do you find the time to write?" And when I tell them truthful answers such as "I turn off the television", they get angry. Hey folks, if you can't give up your CSI and Survivor (or at least tape them) long enough to do some writing every night, you'll NEVER be a writer.

Danny Adams

6:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous,

I'm not the Angry Chef but there's a fuckton of stuff outside of glossy magazines to read about cooking in. how about menus? Really read menus instead of just skimming them to decide what you'll be having tonight. Most places have a few key ingredients that see a lot of use. Pick over the menu and figure what those are and how they're getting used. Easy enough and unlike some goddamn Gourmet article it'll give you an actual idea of how to make use of things in different practical ways (unless there's a fucking dog on the menu because it's what dentist who ponied up the cash to open likes when he comes in).
Here's another thing to read, cookbooks. The things that have actual recipes in them. Those would be good unless you think getting your inspiration from a lifestyle magazine would be anything less than moronic.

Glossy magazines are all about selling you stuff. The ones I get are industry bullshit full of concepts from marketing people instead of cooks like the godawful ruben quesadilla. The ones you get are likely shit like Southern Living who sell cooking as an accessory to a lifestyle like slipcovers for your couch. In neither case is the food in a glossy magazine about food. It's always in the service of somehing else "bigger" and a a fuckton heap of worthless compared to food made to actually feed people.


Bailey, bakery bitch

7:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm no chef. But I know what you mean. I learned to cook by busting my ass off in a resturant. Dishpiging, deepfrying, salads, enteries what ever. Even tho I work in a "real" job these days, since the place folded, I havent forgotten the pasion of it. How in the hell you can call yourself a chef if you aint willing to bust your ass of? So you went to a fancy school, so what? I can garuntee I can make more dishes THAT SELL than those numbnuts.
Of course, it's amazing how many people will order anything fried with cheese grilled on top of it.

Duckin Dushpig.

8:11 PM  
Blogger Disgruntled_Girl said...

Ahem - this post from an earlier reader:
Hey Angry Chef! What do you recommend reading instead of glossy magazines?

I'm not a chef myself, just curious.
I would have liked to have replied "A book. Maybe about cooking. Start with Betty Crocker. Seems your speed."

Honestly, when Mr. Bright-Eyed Eager Fastlaner started asking those questions, I think you should have been a bit more curt with him. And explained, "It's art, it's sacrifice, you do it because you want to do and you don't care if you get paid. Which is good because most critics, contest judges, and celebrities won't pay anyway. Want fame? Be a whore. Want money? Be a prostitute. Want to be a chef? Turn right around and go back into that lecture hall and listen again. Or go cook something."

Sorry to see the decline of quality is across the board in regards to dedication, work ethic, and actually being the career instead of just having one - like it's a hobby or something.

Not to diss hobby chefs. They have the passion and willingness to try to succeed instead of passing it off on ignorant customers or bad waiters or poor food.

8:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow...the ladies are on a roll tonight! This is one reason I love female cooks and chef's,think I can be mean? You ain't seen shit. It's just another example of why none of us could ever do anything else. We get right to the brutal point and people don't appreciate honesty. "Say Bob, did you have a chance to look over the Henderson file?.
"Yeah, what an asshole, I fell asleep halfway through that shit."
or " Mr.Binks is taking the office to lunch today!"
" Great! Look at his tie, where are we going The Olive Garden. I'm gonna go jerk-off"

What do I read instead of glossy mags? I read every goddamn thing I can. I rarely read novels though, my attention span is too short. I spend hours in bookstores on my off time. I could live in bookstores. They have everything you need...tons of shit to read and coffee and if you're lucky, no one talks to you.Maybe one day, Bailey can bake an isolation chamber for me, seal my ass up and bake me straight to Hell. Set the fucking timer and rotate me though, I don't want a uneven, burned crust even in death.

A.C.

9:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm. I should've made myself clearer. I meant what books specifically, when I asked "what do you read instead of glossy magazines?" As in, is there anything in particular you'd recommend, AC (or anybody else reading this) for someone who's an amateur cook. Stuff like Eduoard de Pomaine's little book "French Cooking in Ten Minutes" has been way more helpful than any article in Bon Appetit ever has, for instance.

I don't read crap like Southern Living, BTW, nor am I an ignorant mouthbreather who'll only order steak or eat at Chili's or demands that all the sauce be put on the side. There are people in this world who aren't mouthbreathing jackasses and who appreciate real food, and who aren't cooks, ya know.

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did I say you read Southern Living? Nope. I said I read everything. I do. I can't be specific because it all depends on what I'm looking for. If you want suggestions as to what are good, easy to understand cookbooks anything by Jacques Pepin, Julia Child or Madeleine Kamman. I don't know what goes through your head!. Or you could do what I do which is get a huge coffee and pick any book you want. I look for different things than you do. Sometimes I like big, glossy coffeetable books because I like the pictures of things OTHER than food. I don't know man, read what interests you!

A.C.

3:29 PM  
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hi, i am learning about blogs, I started a blog about resources . If you would like to share a link, please let me know.

8:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

its just food, why is ego attached to food?

6:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

starchef your a twat; your self importance is beyond me; you make it sound like the up & coming chefs don't bust their balls.
Maybe you should retire.

6:34 PM  
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6:55 PM  
Anonymous Kadela2 said...

Angry chef I agree with you in the whole sense of the word. I'm currently going through school and I'm about to graduate. In every single kitchen class I had there were those who either didn't eat this or that or were disgusted by this or that and that's not mentioning the ones who looked bored . As I'm about to graduate I have come realize that this is what I want to be doing for the rest of my life. I started school a little skeptical but soon realized that was what I was missing. I look at my school peers and see a bunch of stuck-ups and I feel sad for them because they might know how to cook but they will never know how to be a chef. Someone told me once, when you feel it in your bones and it makes you happy then that's when you truly know you have become a chef.

11:26 AM  
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2:15 AM  

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