A Thought on “Future” Superstar Chefs

I’ve ganked about half of the article below from Huffington Post, but I have a comment to add to this “discussion”.

(Jacques Pepin) worries that so many up-and-coming chefs focus so much on book deals and television appearances they may lose sight of their real job.

“It’s someone who is totally egocentric,” Pepin said of chefs who chase fame. “And in that sense it does affect the customer because that person is not taking care of the customer. He doesn’t give that customer his due in terms of time and effort for the money that the customer pays.”

Pepin, who has starred in numerous public television cooking shows, said that when he speaks to culinary students today, nearly half aspire to write books or appear on TV.

Way back a lifetime ago, when I thought I had the patience to be a starving stand-up comic, those of us in the industry talked about what it meant to be a stand-up, and what it meant to choose it as a career. Too many people involved in the business, it was thought, was using stand-up as a stepping stone to something else. Th else was most often acting, but you’d get a writer or two in there somewhere, and even director a bit less often. But for those who were consistently Good at stand-up, almost to a letter, had no other aspiration other than to be a good stand up. The future writers, actors, and directors? They’re now working some other job, many are out of the industry entirely.

The point was, and still is, this – If you wish to publish books or appear on television, then going some side route will not get you there sooner, and, in fact, may take you further away from your goal. If you focus on cooking and running a great restaurant or two, then that will be a reward unto itself. I’m willing to bet that if you ask the superstar chefs of today, they will tell you the television gigs and book deals are all well and good, but are secondary to their own goals. There are outliers of course, but these are exceptions, and not the rule.