Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

What do you make of celebrity chefs?

Topic: A New Phenomenon

Jacques Pepin: Well there is great cook and great chef. Certainly the cook itself or a great chef in some restaurants very often don’t have that much to do with the cooking anymore. You go to the Waldorf Astoria for example, then the chef will have to contend with several banquets of 1,000 . . . 1,500 people. So he will go organize, of course work out his menu, taste here and there, but that’s about it. So that’s what . . . If you wanna make a distinction between, in a sense, a pencil chef and a skillet chef, you know – and the skillet chef being someone who will have a small restaurant . . . someone like Thomas Keller here, and will be behind the stove cooking day after day, you know morning after morning. So that’s really someone who is involved in the cooking itself. Both of those are chefs. But by definition I am not a chef unless I work in a professional kitchen with other people who are working for me. Then I am called a chef – which is the “chief” in France – to run that kitchen. When I go back at home I am the cook there. My wife is the chef. You know it’s different.

 

When I was a child, the chef or the cook was at the bottom of the social scale, and any good mother would have wanted her child to marry a doctor, a lawyer, or an architect but not a cook. Now we are a genius. A lot has happened in the last 30 years so it’s totally different. And now the young chef contends with publicity, with PR people, with having their name all over the newspaper and so forth. And this is good in some way, not too good in other way because a lot of young chefs will go into the business to “become Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay”, or of course to become famous, which probably will never happen. When in fact you should go in that business only for one reason, and the reason is because you love it and you feel verified by it. But if you don’t you will sweat a lot. You’ll still work Saturday, Sunday. You’ll still work 16 hours a day. You’ll still probably have varicose veins by the time you are 40 years old, and you don’t really make much money. However if you’re verified by it, and if you love it, then it’s worth all of this.

 

Question: What explains the profusion young star chefs?

Jacques Pepin: It’s not always easy for a young chef who fights for the clientele with other young chefs in the same town, and everyone wants to create something new, something different, something and that. And very often that’s where some very complicated cuisine comes from. And the fact that we are now able to get product from all over the world, and there is less and less border, and we’re exposed to all kind of cuisine. Certainly in a place like New York where there are over 20,000 restaurants, the multiplicity of ethnicity that there is is absolutely amazing for exposing to those other cuisines. It opens a whole world, you know, especially with young American chef who haven’t been trained necessarily only in classical French cuisine, or Italian cuisine. So they take a little bit from everybody, and that kind of fusion cooking can be very exciting. It can also open, of course, a Pandora’s Box. And that’s often why you end up with maybe a bowl of Roquefort with a slice of . . . with a bowl of ice cream on top of it. As I say, who would ever have thought of that, you know?

Question: What advice can you give young chefs?

 

Jacques Pepin: I would tell them do it for love, absolutely. Don’t do it for anything else. Because ultimately that’s what that will amount to. You have to be gratified with what you do. I mean I have the best of all possible worlds. I make a living out of something I love to do, and probably would do for free, you know? And people pay me for it, so I’m very lucky. I never regretted to be in my business; but don’t do it, as I said . . . You could become famous and all that, because it may happen; but it’s likely that it may not.

Recorded on: 09/04/2007

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pepin remembers a time when no respectable mother would want her daughter marrying a chef.

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
  • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
Keep reading Show less

Why is everyone so selfish? Science explains

The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.

Credit: Adobe Stock, Olivier Le Moal.
Personal Growth
  • Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
  • New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
  • Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.
Keep reading Show less

How Hemingway felt about fatherhood

Parenting could be a distraction from what mattered most to him: his writing.

Ernest Hemingway Holding His Son 1927 (Wikimedia Commons)
Culture & Religion

Ernest Hemingway was affectionately called “Papa," but what kind of dad was he?

Keep reading Show less

How DNA revealed the woolly mammoth's fate – and what it teaches us today

Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Surprising Science

Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.

Keep reading Show less

The biology of aliens: How much do we know?

Hollywood has created an idea of aliens that doesn't match the science.

Videos
  • Ask someone what they think aliens look like and you'll probably get a description heavily informed by films and pop culture. The existence of life beyond our planet has yet to be confirmed, but there are clues as to the biology of extraterrestrials in science.
  • "Don't give them claws," says biologist E.O. Wilson. "Claws are for carnivores and you've got to be an omnivore to be an E.T. There just isn't enough energy available in the next trophic level down to maintain big populations and stable populations that can evolve civilization."
  • In this compilation, Wilson, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, Bill Nye, and evolutionary biologist Jonathan B. Losos explain why aliens don't look like us and why Hollywood depictions are mostly inaccurate.
Keep reading Show less
Quantcast