What makes a great chef?

Jennifer Rubell: Well I think what makes a great professional chef is somebody . . .  Well scratch that.  I think what makes a great professional chef or home cook is somebody with a terrific palate first of all.  Somebody who loves to eat; and has a really good sense of flavor; and has tasted a lot of different things in the world; thinks about food and really applies that to their cooking; and has some kind of . . . some kind of philosophy that they bring to the world of food.  Now that’s what makes a great cook or a great chef.
To be a very, very good home cook, you don’t need all that.  You just need to be able to cook a few dishes well.  But somebody who is really pushing . . . pushing the public’s sense of taste, or flavor, or the definition of cooking is going to be somebody who has a real perspective.  And they’ve arrived at that perspective through a lot of tasting, and they are then pushing it to something new.  It’s what makes a great artist in any medium.

Recorded on 12/13/07

A great home cook needs much less than a great professional chef.

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