Let’s talk about the restaurant industry, but keep it in the context of cooking and chefs. Here in America, there has been a celebrity chef boom over the last 20 years like no other. Most countries have great respect for chefs and America is no different. The title means something and shows an accomplished level of achievement in one’s career. Just like the title doctor or nurse. These are titles that are earned. However, things changed somewhere along the way and with it, cooking shows changed too. Whatever happened to the teaching aspect of cooking shows?
Food networks for a while there were doing a great job in the late ’90s and early 2000s in producing educational cooking shows. Then something happened! Venus must have been in retrograde “when the powers that be” decided that reality-based cooking shows and cooking show competitions should replace the technical learning side of teaching people how to cook a recipe. Those of us in the culinary arts field should definitely demand more. It’s time to flip the show model back to solid cooking shows and see less (much less) of all these competition and reality-based cooking game shows. It has been enough now!
Cooking opens doors to different cultures, traditions, nutrition, health, travel, cooking techniques, tricks of the trade, and much more. These are some of the many reasons are why people pick a career as a chef or cook passionately for family and friends. Those of you that are “spiking touchdowns” in your kitchens are missing out on the true nature of it all. Cooking is a passport that brings people together. It nourishes your body and soul. Its loving nature is passed down from generation to generation in families and it is very culturally attached. Tradition and love are at the heart of cooking and chefs have the responsibility of keeping this precious side of cooking alive.
Now let’s get down to the brass tactics of it all. Not every one that puts on a chef jacket is a chef. Just like not everyone that hangs a stethoscope around their neck is a doctor. It takes many hard years to become a true seasoned chef just like it does to become a well-rounded doctor. We wouldn’t want someone operating on us or be given a diagnosis by someone that admires doctors and their work but is not a doctor themself. This would be ludicrous! So, why is it that chefs have to deal with this same kind of mentality but it’s not considered to be ridiculous as well?
Cooking shows and celebrity chefs were a craze in America for the last two decades. Nowadays you very rarely hear about them or see them on television. They have been replaced by a “The Price is Right” mentality of food-oriented game shows. Someone is making a ton of money but it has unfortunately led to the demise of many educational and culturally inspired cooking shows.
Unfortunately, it is all about ratings. The ratings for these reality cooking shows wouldn’t be so high if people just didn’t watch them and demanded more fun recipe-driven shows with a learning curve and a cooking technique takeaway. This I believe is what cooking enthusiasts miss most of all and would definitely like to see more of it on television.
In the ’80s there was the slogan I want my MTV. Now, let’s expand on that. We want real cooking shows back! It’s time to create more shows that present chefs doing what they do best which is cook, teach and inspire others to cook as well.
“DESIGN YOUR DISH ~ DESIGN YOUR LIFE.”