Are chefs getting too much adoration?

 Chef in cubicle

In the last decade or so, chefs have achieved rock-star status. We've profiled a fair number of these chefs (at least the ones who became cookbook authors) on the EYB blog, reporting on their new dining ventures like pop-up restaurants in far-flung locations, noting the lists of the "world's best" restaurants, and so on. Some folks, like Drew Magary, think society has gone too far in romanticizing these celebrity chefs. In an invective-filled rant over at DeadSpin, he says we should stop the 'chef worship'

Magary expresses his repugnance of the celebrity chef trend, focusing first on the latest popup from Rene Redzepi. Noting that the vast majority of food lovers won't be able to dine at this (or frankly any) of Redzepi's restaurants, and that most of the customers at Noma Mexico will be food writers and other chefs, Magary opines that fine dining has evolved into "a roving club of people waxing poetic over their ability to shamelessly indulge one another."

Not surprisingly, Magary hates the Netflix series Chef's Table. As an avowed food lover, he thinks the focus has turned away from the food itself and overly emphasizes the story. He complains that "Food can't just be food. There has to be a mythology behind it" and that even though we live in a golden age of food, "that so much of the food scene now is centered less on what you can eat than what you cannot, and it prizes many chefs who are bizarrely determined to NOT give everyone a chance to try their best food". What do you think? Have we glorified chefs too much?

1 Comment

  • annmartina  on  5/16/2017 at 9:58 AM

    I suppose places like Noma Mexico and Fäviken are a type of exclusive status symbol, haute couture food. Maybe more people are aware of these places because the internet has made the world so much smaller. They exist to stroke the egos of both the staff and the customers but also advance the food world with some trickle down effect. Much like fashion. I remember receiving my first issue of Lucky Peach. As much as I loved that first issue, it felt very much like an extension of David Chang's ego. I couldn't imagine it lasting long. Although it didn't last long, I think it did evolve into a better magazine along the way and I'm sad to see it go. Also, as much as I love cookbooks (restaurant cookbooks included), does every restaurant now need a cookbook? I've started realizing that a lot of these cookbooks are filled with impractical recipes that are only practical to make if you have a staff and a commercially equipped kitchen. I've had the epiphany of how much easier it must be to make 50 Momofuku Milk Bar cakes in the commercial setting compared with making all the different components required for assembling one cake at home. But I still find fascinating the glimpses into how the minds of these chefs works, much as I do for anyone who creates.

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