Is the apprenticeship process still important?

Tanya Steel: I think the apprenticeship process is so important because it’s one thing to learn theories, and to kind of take that theory and learn it and reproduce it in the classroom and have one chef judge you and 20 others at the same time.  It’s another thing to be on the line with someone yelling at you with diners waiting for their food, and with fires going up next to you, and people pushing you aside, and expecting, expecting, expecting.  “Where is it?  Where is it?  Where is it?”  So I think the apprenticeship is so crucial.   I mean as in every career, doing it is very different from learning about it.  So especially learning from different people around the world, because everyone’s got their own take.  Indigenous ingredients are so different wherever you go, and you’re also learning not just that cuisine and those techniques and those ingredients.  You’re also learning a family’s history, and that is something that is so fantastic about food.  It’s that you’re kind of . . .  All the chefs that are doing those apprenticeships in different parts of the world are also kind of steeping those mothers’ recipes – from the chefs’ mothers’ recipes that have been passed down for hundreds of years.  So there’s something very beautiful about that kind of connection to people’s history and to their culture that they’re bringing back to their restaurants and their cookbooks and exposing us all to.

It's a way to learn an inheritance, says Steel.

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