Gordon Ramsey, Bradley Cooper, Anthony Bourdain..and me?

In one of my former lives, I went to cooking school in New York. This was eons ago – before the Food Network, before Chuck Hughes (actually, it was so long ago that the only celebrity chefs I think I had ever heard of were Escoffier and James Beard),before yellow kiwis and El Bulli…

Before Gordon Ramsey thought up MasterChef (and it’s spin-offs, MasterChef Australia, MasterChef Rimouski, and MasterChef in-the-middle-of-nowhere), kitchen slaves were busting their respective butts cleaning carrots, slicing celery, mincing onions and learning the basics of braising, broiling, roasting, baking, and everything in between.

1950s Paolo Berio Maquette - Vegni
1950s Paolo Berio Maquette – Vegni
Kub Maquette
Original 1912 Kub Maquette – Rieunier

Learning how to cook is a really time consuming challenge – it’s not that any one task is that hard to learn, its that you need to integrate the theory of cooking with the practice of it, and then you have to take it into a kitchen and do it …

Gordon Ramsey
Gordon Ramsey

Years after I had gone to cooking school and run a (reasonably successful) catering business, Anthony Bourdain wrote a fabulous book called Kitchen Confidential. It was irreverent, it was self-serving and self-deprecating at the same time, it was pornographic, graphic, and hysterically funny. And accurate. It launched Bourdain into the stratosphere of celebrity, and could arguably have been one of the idea- germs of food networks and celebrity chef travel shows…

Anthony bourdain
Anthony Bourdain

It’s frightening to think that the 2012 version of a tough-talking, hard-living, trash-talking kitchen grunt is…. Bradley Cooper? (Really? Way too pretty to work in a kitchen… other parts of my house, maybe, the kitchen, maybe not…). For the record, when I worked in kitchens, no one was having sex in the walk-in, the food deliveries did not include ‘magic mushrooms’, and if you would have mentioned ‘molecular cooking’, the chefs I was taught by would have laughed you out of Dodge. We kept it simple, we kept it good, and man – did we have fun.

One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s