I am not a celebrity chef. Nor do I want to be one. Being on TV would be nice, I guess. Recognition of course would be every cook's dream, of being known for their cooking. And that comes from years of experience. Of experiencing countless ingredients, different locations, different people from all walks of life. I talk to people, athough admittedly I have not been very diplomatic with some as I have been very accommodating with others. The same goes with the different foods that come my way, that pass me by, that wait for me. Have you ever held a small globule of white truffle? Held it close to smell the aroma, that sweet pungent aroma that inspires you to make a truffle pasta right then and there? While in Zurich, I was impressed with the concept of an assembly kitchen. Mind you, not like an ssembly line, but ingredients that would save you kitchen time and still consistently get the same high standards in cooking. Not shortcuts. No cheats. Still the same great tasting food. Of course as a cook you should know the basic stocks, sauces and seasonings. Just in case something goes wrong. Do celebrity chefs make use of stock that comes out of a can? A cube? Do celebrity chefs use peeled tomatoes from a can to make a wonderful pomodoro?
I recently updated on the comings and goings of the cooks featured on that reality show TOP CHEF, including TOP CHEF MASTERS. What becomes of the cooks after TOP CHEF? Do they gain notoriety? Are their restaurants more popular than ever? Do they become celebrity chefs?
Then I look at the current chef offerings on local Manila TV. Some of them do not look like they have apprenticeship experience under their aprons. How do they get on TV? And the food that they feature, is typical culinary school fodder, the type you first jot down on your notes on the first day of cooking class. How do they get to go on TV? How much exposure do you need? Who do you have to know? Are they considered celebrity chefs already the moment the camera is focused on them?
Wolfgang Puck. Tony Bourdain. Jamie Oliver. Emeril Lagasse. Fernan Aria. And countless others. These Celebrity Chefs made their bones. Scraped their skins. Cut off fingers. And make really, really good food. And a lot of people love their cooking. And they all consider themselves cooks. They do not go around and introduce themselves as Chef Jamie, Chef Tony, etc. Yet people know them. Their reputation as good cooks precede them. They can make a souffle effortlessly. From scratch. Countless other cooks can do what they do. But they opt to not go around trumpeting themselves as chefs. I know a few who are very good cooks. Who are resourceful enough to make a mean roast with a few ingredients. But they never get on TV. Not that they want to. Or have the courage to. But they would make great TV instructors. Because they taught me what I never got at culinary school. And it helped me a lot during my career.
Should celebrity chefs be idolized? Do the current cooks want to be celebrity chefs? Do they get into the profession to be able to create, or to get into the spotlight?