The chef worship that made me wanna puke for the last ten years seems to be finally dying down. I cooked for twenty years, went to school, and ran kitchens...technically I am a chef, but always had an issue with claiming the title "Chef". That's because those I knew who called themselves chefs and demanded others called them "Chef" were without exception, class A assholes. Chefs modeled a sample of the world by making a successful career out of sheer egotistical amorality. I never wanted to be like them so I called myself a Cook and still do.
To my mind, it's much more honorable to be a cook. It's honest and has no pretentious panache. And it puts the focus on the creation, not the creator. A chef will make an inedible food and defend it for his own originality. A cook would rather die than make anything inedible. A chef will steal recipes from others. A cook will roll a flavor around in mind until it gels into an original recipe. A chef feels free to abuse and bully co-workers. A cook doesn't tolerate hissy fits in the kitchen, even from themselves. A chef wants to be a star. A cook wants to make really good food.
I'll chalk up the last decade's chef worship to symbolizing the death throes of the 80s culture that brought us greed, ignorance and cults of personality. Though I'll admit to enjoying Bourdain's humor and slogginess, the likes of Ramsay keep me sure that I'll always be toque-less.
This, however, is my all-time favorite cooking show, Regular Ordinary Swedish Mealtime:
I'll Fly Away
1 day ago