Why I Won't Take the Title "Chef"
Sometimes, when I describe what I do, people will say, "Oh, I get it. You're a personal chef."
When this happens, I nod, smile and say, "Sort of."
The reality is that I want to scream NOOOO! Because I'm NOT a chef. I am a self-taught home cook who utilizes my kitchen skills & knowledge to help alleviate the stress most people feel when they think about the process involved with getting a meal on the table.
I've had this conversation with other people who consider themselves chefs. They do similar work to what I do and they disagree with me. They encouraged me to embrace the title and assured me that I am qualified to do so. To them, the title is earned through working your way up the ranks in restaurants (I can't check this box) or through the time spent cooking in a home kitchen, honing their knife skills or learning about flavor palettes through trial & error. (Does half a check mark count)?
I recently had this conversation with a client and her response surprised me. Unlike the others I mentioned earlier, she didn't give me "permission" to take the title. Instead, she commended me for my integrity and effort to avoid it.
You see, when I think of the title Chef, I think of those who have attended culinary school or who have been specifically trained in a sub-specialty of cooking--like a pastry chef or a chocolatier. They attended a culitnary institute, they studied and they graduated with a degree in some form of Culinary Arts. They EARNED the title. In my opinion, for me to assume that title would be both a misrepresentation of who I am (a really good COOK) and extremely disrespectful to those people who did do the work necessary to follow their path to earning the title Chef.
So, the next time someone says, "Oh, I get it. You're a personal chef." I will nod, smile & reply, "Sort of."