Should you emulate a Chef?

Joined Jul 22, 2009
So I was talking to someone and I said that my hero was Michael White. And they said that I was crazy and that I needed to be myself. I think that it is good to emulate someone that started out just like every other chef. He cooks well, he learned everything just like I have. He started off little and has made it big.
I love stories like that! I want to learn how to be the best Italian cook that I can be. And like Michael I didn't grow up in Italy. But, I am trying just like he did. I think that I am going to have my own style.
But what do you think?
I would love to hear from you on who your Cooking Hero is.

Joined Oct 28, 2008
Hey Juan. I think is perfectly acceptable to emulate chefs. Take Ferran Adria for example; how many people are now delving into molecular gastronomy?
Joined Jun 17, 2008
I think it's ok to look up to a Chef. You really don't know a Chef until you know him though if you know what I mean. My Chef always tell me to pick up the things that work for me and not the things that don't. Eventually you will develop your own style. Just make sure you always work under the best Chef's you can so you pick up good habits and techniques.
Joined Oct 10, 2005
If your worth your will emulate the chef you work for.
Everything you do is what you think he would learn to work
like make decisions you think he would emulate his
style in regard to food and management. Of must be a good
chef, but...why would anyone work for a chef they did not respect on most
Joined Mar 16, 2005
There's a different between having a culinary hero and emulating them. I have many culinary heroes, and surely their techniques have influenced the way I cook and work. On the other hand I've picked up things from almost everybody I have worked with... a little trick here, a little hint there, some more lessons from personal experience; that's what makes me the cook I am... which will undoubtedly be different from the cook I will be in a few years.

However, lizabu is also right... pick up what works for you from your experience and you will find that you actually do have your own style. Nobody's style is entirely unique, many great chefs and cooks today have worked with the previous greats (whether that person was a great chef themselves or simply their mother) and you can follow that chain of connections back to the first person who put meat on a fire.
Joined May 29, 2006
Many years ago in New York there was a young guy of irish decent who loved cooking . He watched all the cooks in all the stations of all the hotels he worked in. He followed the sun and wound up in Florida and worked his way up to be Sous Chef of the then famous Fountainbleu Hotel(The place at the time) He SELF TAUGHT himself both French and Spanish. He then followed the sun again and went back to New York to be come Executive Chef of The Waldorf Astoria.( In that era it was the number 1 hotel in America) One of the nicest guys and hardest workers I had the pleasure of knowing.:chef:
Joined Feb 8, 2009
All the Chefs I know are like artists. They all start out the sameway. The same canvas and paints, the only thing is, they all have a different vision. I have learned from many Chefs in the past and have learned many different ways of doing many different things. Learn from everyone and use your own vision and make it your own.......I would save the Word Hero for the real heros in our world, The ones that make the lives of our families safe. The Guys and Gals in Iraq...............Bill
Joined Jul 29, 2009
I don't know to much about wanting to emulate a chef. But, as cook for many years I had no choice in the matter. I had to make the food of the chef I worked for as he wanted it. I like to think that at the time (I'm my own master now) I not only emulated the chefs I worked for, I impoved the dishes in such a way that he or she didn't notice I was trying to improve on the idea. I think that I still carry that with me as a professional chef. Now I usually buy a cookbook and work my way through it trying things that I haven't done before. In that sense I'm emulate many different chefs, all the while adding my own touch and knowledge to the idea.
Joined Oct 13, 2001
I would emulate the good and not the bad traits of the chef. Add to your knowledge from everyone and everything. As you progress you will have forgotten more than most people know but you would be suprised at how certain situations can bring back the memory of what to do.
Never stop learning......Doug
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