What differentiates a ” Good Chef ” from a ” Bad Chef “

What differentiates a
” Good Chef ” from a ” Bad Chef ” ?

By Chef Hans D. Susser

This is a question which many young cooks have asked me over the years.
Obviously, there can not be one single, complete, all-defining answer to this.
However, over the years it has become clear to me that if a professional wants
me to look up to him / her, there is a number of things which together will
combine to form that special person to which I can relate with respect, admiration
and, sometimes, awe. Here are a number of attributes which, in my opinion,
define a ” Good Chef ” :

– Skills
– Vision
– Fairness
– Experience
– Knowledge
– Compassion
– Decisiveness
– Sense of urgency
– Ability to multy task
– Objective self critique
– Commitment to quality
– Ability and willingness to teach

So then, what makes a ” Bad Chef ” ? A lack of the attributes above, which
unfortunately, is profound in too many so-called chefs of today. However,
there seems to be an emergence of a new type of chefs altogether. Young,
with a sense of professionalism and hunger for quality, with a willingness
to work hard and endure what it takes to become a truly outstanding professional
and individual. Maybe, at the end, not all is lost and there will be a new
guard of chefs who understand and are willing to keep the flame of our beloved
profession alive and strong. To the rest, all I can say is this : The higher you build
without the proper foundation and attitude, the more likely it will be that your house
of achievements will crumble into rubble.
P.S. Interestingly, you can replace the word ” Chef ” with many other words, such as
“Manager”, “Politician”, “General”, “President”, ” Teacher, ” etc.

Long live culinary knowledge and skills

From CC.I Newsletter 10 / 2011


  1. Maybe I am just lucky or travel in different circles….I have not met a bad chef…but I can say I have met undereducated, lesser trained and lesser motivated chefs.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, William,
    if a typo marks me as a bad chef, so be it.
    Especially if it is in one of the many languages I try to communicate besides my mother language (German)
    More power to you Sir.

    Origin : ” Sauté ” , one e


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