Who is a Chef? Who is a Cook?

There’s a lot of confusion out there about just what constitutes a “chef” versus a “cook.” Oh yes, and it’s a question that many writers have tried to answer. Nothing new there. I’m a big believer in defining terms, realizing of course that terminology and words change meanings over the years. But, that said, and…

Science: The Missing Ingredient in the So-Called Art of Cooking

Every chef should be a scientist too. How so? Cooking changes the chemical and structure of food. Therefore, understanding these changes would help a lot when perched in front of the stove, whisk or wooden spoon in hand. Over the last several weeks, I’ve watched more episodes of the popular American TV program, “Chopped,” than I…

The South is Rising Again: The 2013 James Beard Nominees

In the culinary world, the equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize or the Oscars comes down to the James Beard Awards. This year, the list of nominees includes a large number of Southern chefs, restaurants, and other food-related entities. What’s so fascinating about this list lies in the evidence of increasing diversity – it’s not all…

The Expert (French) Cook in Enlightenment France: A Review

If you scrutinize sixteenth-century Dutch artist Pieter Aertsen’s painting, “The Cook in Front of the Stove,” you will see a rather stereotypical image of servant cooks, one that persisted in popular memory in Europe until well into the nineteenth century. Sean Takats, assistant professor of history at George Mason University and codirector of Zotero, attempts…

Auguste Escoffier: Le Guide Culinaire, Revised

New, revised version of Escoffier’s premier work, unabridged fourth edition from 1921. In English, glory be. Translated from the 1921 Fourth Edition, this revision includes all-new Forewords by Heston Blumenthal, chef-owner of the Michelin three-star-rated Fat Duck restaurant, and Chef Tim Ryan, President of The Culinary Institute of America, along with Escoffier’s original Forewords, a…

The [Culinary] Heroes of France

They’re not in the Panthéon in Paris, where France entombs her heroes, but from all the adulation they receive, you’d think they would be. France not only treats its chefs like celebrities or royalty, but the country  sometimes even views these men (usually they’re all men) like gods. Here’s a taunting image by photographer and…