The Demise of Culinary Art?

Joined May 14, 1999
I have a question for other chefs. Speaking for myself, I never attended culinary school; I worked to gain an education and traveled all over the USA to study under some of the nation's best chefs. For 12 years I always worked as "tourant" as I wanted to learn every station there was. It was not until then that I applied for a Sous position. The Executive slot came 5 years later. What gets me is the huge number of culinary school graduates who want to be executives as soon as they graduate! It seems to me there is a huge difference between the theory of cooking (as taught in two years) and the practice of dealing with three rails of tickets on a Saturday night when four cooks have called off.

Moreover, so many chains employ concessionary cuisine that I have met cooks with 5 or more years experience that can't make soup without base and water. Between the arrogance of new culinary graduates and the ineptitude of cooks from chain restaurant backgrounds I find myself eternally behind the "training eight ball". I am often troubled with what I want my menu to offer versus what my cook's talents will actually permit. Am I alone in this?

[This message has been edited by ChefRon (edited May 22, 1999).]
Joined May 29, 1999
I have a theory, I went to cul school, I came out and became the executive position in a hotel pastry shop(hired by another student who knew nothing) and fell flat on my face. that was 11 years ago. I am now pastry chef in a fab kitchen and an instructor at a cul school.
my theory is this, go to school or don't, but it takes 10 years at least, to teach or be a chef. that is if you have the good fortune to train under talent.
trust me, I am not tatooed or pearced enough to be as cocky as I have seen the youth chefs of today.
In the mean time, you youth chefs reading this, read, write, listen, smell, taste, question, volunteer, work, work, work, keep your mind open and wait until the passion and knowledge and maturity mesh.

ps chefron, i can relate.


Staff member
Joined Oct 7, 2001
I can really relate to the subject at hand right now. As a favor for a friend, who is opening a restaurant on the West Coast, we are attempting to give his future Exec. a crash course in being a chef. She is straight out of school and thinks she knows it all. She constantly talks about everything she can do and never listens to our instructions. I have yet to see her with her notebook taking down notes about what is going on, she would rather write poetry about the kitchen and what it's like to be a chef. Luckily she is leaving in a few weeks and I have warned her employer, but hey he got an Exec. for next to nothing.
What makes people think they can be Execs. right out of school? And who are these fools who hire them thinking they are getting a deal?

[This message has been edited by Pete (edited May 30, 1999).]
Joined May 29, 1999
I have students for 3-4 weeks(out of 2 years) and I have to teach them tart dough to pulled sugar. I do not expect them to go out and open a patisserie but, they should be able to say "Yes Chef" when questioned about a technique. and I do tell them this is not going to make them a chef. School is technique training.
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