Marcella Hazan, the well-known food writer, has some wise words about "chefs" in her op-ed column yesterday in The New York Times.

The word "chef," she observes, has come to replace "gourmet cook" in the minds of foodies and others, blurring its meaning as a job title for a professional who runs a kitchen's "brigade" but may or may not actually cook.

It's a relevant column in part at least because in recent years, chefs have gained more stature than ever before and also have become the objects of more 'hype' than perhaps ever in the history of cooking.

That's not to diminish the role of the professional chef in any way. In fact, it may say more about foodies and the general public than anything else.

But Hazan's point is well taken that "what matters about food is what happens when we put it into our mouths."

A competent home cook, she observes, can achieve the same results as the well-trained chef at "turning that first bite into a blissful moment."

The food prepared at home, she points out, can be "a solid center for our lives," bringing families together, creating connection," and offering a very personal experience that can transcend "the clamor" of dining out or "facelessness" of takeout.

"What experience of food," she asks, "can compare with eating something good made by someone you can hug?"

There's undoubtedly a lesson in all of this about what chefs and cooks might do to merit "hugs" from their customers. Food prepared with love does not have to come out of only home kitchens!

When professionals give of themselves, the results are also better, and provide more compelling reasons for customers to return again and again. Maybe a sub-slogan of "A Fine Time to Dine" could be "Hug a Chef Today!"

Views: 3

Tags: Hazan, Holaday, Marcella, Susan, chefs, cooking, cooks


You need to be a member of FohBoh to add comments!

Join FohBoh

Comment by Paul Paz on November 30, 2008 at 8:43pm
When I was very young we ate fried-mush (oatmeal) with a touch of Karo-syrup for dinner a few times.

Nothing to do with comfort food... it just fit the family budget.

Still makes me uncomfortable thinking about it and I have no desire to relive it.

It's all about marketing.


Comment by John McGrath on November 30, 2008 at 2:27pm
I believe the humbleness of the accomplished home cook is often as capable and caring as the professional Chefs albeit without the education and mentoring which comes with it. Many of our mother's are just such "chefs".

In todays economic climate, just such individual are going to reach back to those "comfort foods to we were all once very familiar, as Alfredo points out. I for one certainly look forward to this.

The times are dictating to us what will be our most frequent fare.
Comment by susan holaday on November 30, 2008 at 10:42am
You're right - an in this economy, a lot more foods that were commonplace and popular because they were cheap will, I suspect, attain a new level of recognition- briskets and other lower-priced cuts of all kinds of meat, stews, etc. that are slow cooked and flavorful.
Comment by Alfredo Nasti Jr on November 30, 2008 at 10:33am
Interesting column, all the food I grew up with is now considered gourmet. Thats funny considering this is what we ate because thats all we could afford. Risotto, macaroni and peas, potatoes, pasta marachiata is what we called shrimp sauce - latte and caffe was expresso with hot milk todays time is called Starbucks but who knew. The list goes on and on. Ciao and enjoy.




Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries


Read the latest

Read the latest food and beverage coverage by SmartBrief in SmartBrief Originals: -More

Kids LiveWell turns 3 with 42,000 participating eateries

NRA's Kids LiveWell program has grown from 19 restaurant brands to 150, with 42,000 U.S.  -More


Posting a job or finding a job starts here at FohBoh. Call us about special $50 posting packages to syndicate across all major jobs boards.

National News

Ward Whitworth Named President for On The Border Mexican Grill

On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina, which was recently acquired by Border Holdings, LLC, an affiliate of Argonne Capital Group, today announced the appointment of Ward Whitworth as President of On The Border.

The Melting Pot Targets Houston and El Paso, Texas for Franchise Expansion

Restaurants, Inc. announced today that it is actively seeking franchisees to expand its presence throughout the Lone Star State, naming El Paso and Houston as target markets for future franchise development.

Encore Restaurants Purchases 8 Existing Five Guys Restaurants, Plans to Develop 45 More

Encore Restaurants, LLC, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Encore Enterprises, Inc., has announced the purchase of eight existing Five Guys Burgers and Fries restaurants across central California including Elk Grove, Fresno, Lodi, Natomas, Roseville, Stockton, Tracy, and West Sacramento.

Takeout Orders to Hotels Jumped 125% in Popularity in Last Three Years

For many Americans, hotel room service is considered a travel luxury; however, data from PFK Hospitality Research1 suggests that room service revenues fell 9.5 percent from 2007 to 2012, with some hotels shuttering unprofitable operations altogether.

National Restaurant Association Praises House and Senate Commerce Committee Passage of Travel Promotion Act

Yesterday the National Restaurant Association (NRA) praised the House passage and Senate Commerce Committee markup of the Travel Promotion, Enhancement and Modernization Act of 2014. The bipartisan legislation reauthorizes Brand USA, the nation’s first global marketing campaign, to promote the United States as a destination for international travelers.


If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.


TED: Ze Frank: Are you human? - Ze Frank (2014)

Have you ever wondered: Am I a human being? Ze Frank suggests a series of simple questions that will determine this. Please relax and follow the prompts. Let's begin …

TED: Heather Barnett: What humans can learn from semi-intelligent slime - Heather Barnett (2014)

Inspired by biological design and self-organizing systems, artist Heather Barnett co-creates with physarum polycephalum, a eukaryotic microorganism that lives in cool, moist areas. What can people learn from the semi-intelligent slime mold? Watch this talk to find out.

TED: Shih Chieh Huang: Sculptures that’d be at home in the deep sea - Shih Chieh Huang (2014)

When he was young, artist Shih Chieh Huang loved taking toys apart and perusing the aisles of night markets in Taiwan for unexpected objects. Today, this TED Fellow creates madcap sculptures that seem to have a life of their own—with eyes that blink, tentacles that unfurl and parts that light up like bioluminescent sea creatures.

TED: Nikolai Begg: A tool to fix one of the most dangerous moments in surgery - Nikolai Begg (2013)

Surgeons are required every day to puncture human skin before procedures — with the risk of damaging what's on the other side. In a fascinating talk, find out how mechanical engineer Nikolai Begg is using physics to update an important medical device, called the trocar, and improve one of the most dangerous moments in many common surgeries.

© 2014   Created by FohBoh.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service