I Do It For the Love
After spending countless hours here in the ES test kitchen, doing what I love (which is preparing and reviewing different recipes and cooking techniques), I’ve just made a shocking realization: I’m an amateur chef! I’m no longer just a dedicated Full-Time Foodie, but an honest-to-goodness, not-paid-for-his-hard-work-and-yes-I-made-that-from-scratch-but-no-I-didn’t-go-to-culinary-school—CHEF!
Traditionally, a chef is defined as a highly-skilled professional who cooks for a living, and who is proficient in all aspects of food preparation. Except for that ‘highly-skilled professional who cooks for a living’ part – THATS ME! I AM proficient in all aspects of food preparation—just like I’m proficient at all aspects of alcohol drinking! Proficient means ‘able,’ ‘competent’ or ‘skilled’ and I got some skillz, yo! Not only could I be considered an amateur chef, but also (get out your French dictionaries), an amateur sous-chef, a chef de cuisine, a chef de partie, a saucier and a grillardin! That’s right bitches, the French give me mad props!
A professional is a person who is paid to undertake a specialized set of tasks and to complete them for a fee. And y’know, not to brag or anything, but I have worked as a professional cook. You heard me—I was PAID for my mad skillz, and I was still in high school! I’ve held jobs as a professional fry cook (McDonalds), a professional grill cook (Burger King) as well as a professional pizza cook (Shakey’s) and a professional culinary chauffer (Domino’s), and I got the tax returns to prove it. I may not be getting paid to cook now but I attribute that more to my arrest record than my experience.
I’m like an underground, surly, male version of Rachel Ray—except without all the cameras, endorsements or success. And I’m fine with that, ‘cause being labeled a ‘professional’ is not always a good thing. Take my friend for instance; she used to be considered a ‘sleep around’ until she started charging for it. Now the cops refer to her as a ‘professional’ although she’s never attended a trade school or received any accredited training. I guess the grass is always greener but going pro hasn’t worked out that well for her (although she does date a lot more).
As for me, call me a slacker but I’ve no intention of going ‘pro’ when it comes to preparing food. That would require schooling, training, and long grueling years of hard, brutal work honing my culinary knowledge and skills, and honorably earning my right to be considered a professional chef.
Pardon my French – but fuck that.
I’ll gladly take my place among the ranks of the other self-proclaimed amateur chefs and cook solely for the passion, pleasure and fun, and not as a profession.
After all, like my friend, I do it for the love…um, I just don’t ask you to leave money on the dresser afterwards.
Thanks for making me laugh! I used to be a “professional” photographer. Takes all the love and passion right out of it.
A professional is not someone who gets a paycheck. It is a mindset. It is holding yourself to a higher standard because you care. The paycheck is irrelevant.