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on the downward side of the age mountain.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

You can't make a Chef out of a Dumb Cook

“I read the news today oh, boy…” showing my age with a Beatles quote but it hits the culinary spot. I read an article about the deluge of chef’s memoir. More to the point they are more like exposes about bad boys in hot kitchens a lá Bourdain.

Yes, I have read Bourdain and watched him single handedly elevate the cooking drones to worshipful status. I have watched him develop his “humble” stature with the likes of Eric and Thomas. He has done a lot to expose the underbelly of the cooking industry. Now he eats and barfs on T.V. Great shtick.

I was one of those aspiring female cooks who came in contact with the likes of Bourdain. In fact we danced in and out of one of the same restaurants never to meet. It was a flipping tough gig. Male or female if you didn’t have the cohones you were dead meat on the line, produce or die. As a woman, there was extra scrutiny of your tits, your wiggle, and whose bones you jumped, rumors ran rampant.

Anyone who has ventured into a “professional” kitchen and has survived has scars and stories they could tell. I have always felt these shouldn’t be shared with the white cloth public. A 9-5 business man or tennis wife can’t understand why dueling soft shell crabs and crayfish can turn into a betting super bowl or the need to make a stock of work boots for the morning shift to find is crucial to leaving.

They don’t understand the vice grip a cook is put in when management wants you to wash the fish and sell it as a special when you wouldn’t eat it yourself. For many of us it is the twisted creativity and pressure that rocks us. It’s a hard nut profession.

These stories are only for the workers down below. They are for late night rants over beer, wine, and whatever numbs you. Not even to be shared with lovers or mates. They are the stories that bind restaurant workers together in a scarred and bloody brotherhood.

I never shared my stories w/ NSSP and when Bourdain wrote his book I felt violated. He wrote with bravado about my darkest culinary secrets. He crossed the line to make a buck. Sure drones kiss his feet and thank him for legitimizing their “profession”. I feel upstairs should never be told the truth.

This tell all kitchen memoir has become quite popular and now the ultimate irony~ a “chef” in England decided to write his tell all while still working at said restaurant exposing his exploits (the usual suspects-sex, drugs, and rip offs) only to be fired when the boss read the book!

Cooks beware! Owners can read!!

Original Article Below- Enjoy!


1 comment:

Sheila said...

The underbelly of restaurants perhaps should be exposed? It's no worse than Congress and they don't seem to mind. The 'honor among thieves' may be gone forever in this changing universe. Nothing is sacred by the looks of what's on the internet. Everyone wants their 15 seconds of fame ;>)