Watering the 'chef'

In this country, most schools are like mills. They crank out diplomas like hay stacks. It comes to a point where the educational system is so watered down that the only prestige you get to show off is how much you are paying in tuition fees every year. And in the capital of the pretentious in this country, many believe this to be true.
The brain drain is so watered down that the greatest cooks Manila has ever experienced are working on cruise liners and other countries. The ones who are left behind still master their craft, which really result in legendary cooking. Thus the glamor of being a chef has contributed to the triviality of cooking in general, professional cooking in particular.
So it is not surprising to see the sprouting of cooking schools all over the metro. They're profilerating like weeds, encroaching on every educational institution and nook and cranny. Granted there would be rare finds that has the same prestige as a black truffle, but most are just in it for the money. A computer technology college suddenly have a culinary program? Unknown cooks putting up their own cooking schools? (This last one I have to say are the so called 'chefs' who can't hack it in the real world and decided to just teach). This sort of thing happened before. With the nursing, caregiver, IT, call center agent craze that swept Manila as the millennium rolled around. Now the term 'chef' has been compromises to include anyone, and I mean anyone, who puts on the whites and holds a mass produced culinary diploma. And watching these culinary wannabes go through my kitchens eventually having a mortality rate of 90%, it just shows what the shattered dream is: that the first few years in a professional kitchen is not all glamor and money. It's hard work. Real hard work. And simply putting on your whites and showing off you $100 knife does not make you a 'chef'.
A chef, by definition, is a professional cook that leads other cooks. That title is earned after many years working in a hot steamy kitchen, going through each and every night of cooking to learn the trade, to eventually be able to do at least one dish consistently for a thousand times. Politics come with the territory, and the kitchen heirarchy is a tough wall to climb. But if you're strong enough, determined enough, callous enough, and smart enough, one day you may be able to lead your own kitchen and make the world a better place.

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