Am I Obsolete ?

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I love food

I love food for the sake of food.
Does that make me obsolete? Out of touch? Old fashioned?
Removed?  Aged? Antiquated?  Archaic,? Bygone? A fossil?
Moth-eaten?  Out-of-date?  Outmoded? Primeval? A relic?
Or just plain stupid ?

Why do I ask this question ?
Well, most of my post’s are getting very positive, kind,
approving comments, which makes me happy , appreciated and
assured that traditional, simple, real food still has a stronghold
in the culinary universe. Most of my followers are food professionals
of  a certain age, the “riper” age usually, and a wide variety of
older, younger, middle aged, more or less experienced home
cooks, culinary students and food enthusiasts of all sort’s.
Great ! Who would complain? I certainly don’t !
But I really wonder why I don’t attract more so called FOODIES.
Isn’t the whole point of calling oneself a foodie the point to indicate
a strong love of  all types  of food, in any way, shape and form ?
Yet it seems to me  that some (most?) foodies are more interested in
creations that look like architectural creations, less like FOOD that is
nourishing, tastes great and is beautiful to look at. When I look at the
Internet lately and see some of the dishes out there, I ask myself if
there really is a huge part of the population which think’s that a 30 course
tasting menu made of lot’s of unidentifiable stuff that takes 4 hours
or more  to consume and cost as much as a used car is the new way to eat daily ?

While I am the first person to enjoy some of these foods and I can
appreciate the time, craft, effort and artistry that has gone into that kind of food,
by extremely passionate, highly professional chef geniuses who are truly amazing and
are bestowed with rare culinary gifts, insight and energy, I will never assume
that this is the way people will eat regularly in the future, breakfast, lunch and
dinner. I rather think meals like that should be appreciated
for what they are supposed to represent : Special rare, highly anticipated occasions
which are extraordinary for their cost, beauty, and rarity.

Besides, a lot of these so called modern interpretations of food
are nothing but weird, ridiculous crap, produced by people who call themselves
chefs and innovators who don’t have the slightest idea about good FOOD,
I am highly amazed of the large amount of guest’s in some of these “temples of modern cuisine”
who are gullible  enough to fall for some of the idiotic concoctions presented as innovations.

Again, I want to highly stress that I am a strong believer and admirer of innovation, artistry,
extraordinary new way’s to prepare and present old and proven dishes and explore
new way’s to prepare and improve long forgotten and under-appreciated ingredients
and find new food items and combinations nobody thought of before or which were
just ahead of their time .
But, Food is food. Crap is crap. Period.

So, I beseech all food lovers out there, old and young, experienced or not,
professional or not, to please don’t let the cuisine of our culinary tradition disappear.

Let’s continue to cook and eat them with the respect, love and passion they deserve.
Please continue to explore new stuff, experiment, develop, evolve and improve our
beloved culinary heritage.

I look at myself in the mirror and see an old man, but I
don’t think that should be a reason to dispose of me.

Same with our food. Old can mean ripe, proven, always reliable, satisfying,
reassuring and a great addition to new and exciting way’s and thing’s.

In conclusion, I believe there is a time for everything:

A )  A time for expensive, highly elevated food, presented in the most outrageously beautiful amazing fashion   🙂
B)   A time for excellent, beautiful, nourishing, economic, simple food, presented nice, clean and appetizing  🙂

C) There should NEVER be a time for pretentious crap  😦

Bon Appetit !
Good Is Good. Crap Is Crap !
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39 comments

    1. Hi,
      My name is Sara and I’m 25, and your post made me smile. I say that because I could have written it myself (though perhaps not as well, or with as much food industry experience to back it up!). The reason that I love food so much is because it feeds my body and my soul. It brings people together, it gives people joy…it surrounds our holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, but also our lunch breaks at the office and quickly prepared dinners at home when we are exhausted and rushed. I center my days around my meals, and whether they cost me $3 or $100, whether they take 5 minutes to prepare or 2 hours, I know that I dearly love food for food sake, and that I always will. Reading restaurant menus is more exciting to me than reading fashion magazines, and taste is everything. There are few things in this world that are as wonderful as wonderful tasting food. If I can pair it with a tasty wine at dinner on occasion, even better. Personal paradise. In the end, no matter how talented a chef you are or how much money your food is worth…all that really matters is that somebody out there tastes it and says “aaaaaah”, smiles, and is warmed.
      -Sara

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you Hans , for such honesty. The media is partly at fault for elevating crap to food when it should be left as crap. I think the local movement is helping to protect our traditions in many ways, and for people like us who share our experiences and opinions honestly without any hidden agenda. There are many young chefs out there who are being influenced to produce molecular cuisine when they’re nowhere near ready and haven’t even perfected basic techniques yet. I think thats some of the “crap” that I’m seeing out there. I enjoy your posts very much , so keep them coming and keep telling it the way you see it.
      Regards,
      Scott Brown CCC
      Director Product Development
      High Liner Foods

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Chef, You have taken the words right out of my mouth. I agree with you about everything you have said in this post. Especially the part about most of that being crap. It is my theory that this “new age” that you talk about is just the 21st centuries version of “pretentious yuppies” not schooled in the ways of what food is and how to expand on its inherent greatness but caught up in the “hey, how does this make me look”.
      I have been a professional in the culinary industry for almost 30 years, everything from a prep cook, to an executive chef to a culinary instructor. I was indoctrinated into this industry during the mid 80’s when California Cuisine was all the rage. I have seen trend come and trend go, and am thankful that I am “old” enough and “wise” enough (having learned from my predecessors like you) to know that crap will always be crap, and people that truly know good food are not fooled by the smoke and mirrors of those who seek fortune and fame to inflate their own pathetic egos.

      When I teach cooking now I stress the idea that good food is simple in its forma and function. My motto (one of them anyway) is start with good quality ingredients, and don’t screw them up. I believe that ingredients should be recognizable. In a world of molecular gastronomy and deconstructed everything, I feel a sandwich just simply needs to be a sandwich.
      My hat is off to you sir, and thank you for being the kind of chef those of us who love to cook good food can look up to.

      James Johnson
      owner
      Creative Educational Solutions

      Liked by 1 person

  1. HI Hans:

    Hope you and family are well,I agree with every word on your recent article about
    ones love for food, and how its changing, leaving behind the true background of food,
    and those great culinary professionals who created them. Being creative and innovative is
    fine, that’s what makes our world grow and prosper, however, some of what you have
    described and what I’m seeing out there, does not make good sense. Good is good, and crap
    is crap! These are trendy creations for those who are trying to make a statement, possibly that
    we should close the book on the old style and culinary ways of cooking, and concentrate on
    what’s new, but, what’s new, will not survive, and for all of us who learned under the old ways
    and style of cooking, our knowledge will never die,this is what started the food evolution that
    brought us to where we are today!

    All the best in hospitality,

    John R. Vicente
    Managing Director
    Midcities Lodging Associates

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is right up my isle …

    As you mentioned above, I am a chef of the “riper” age. Food for me is not only a job but also a vocation, it is a live style. I had NEVER considered myself a “FOODIE”. Now, the “FOODIES” by large are just chasing trends and very often fads in the culinary fields. Some are even chefs, earning their living in kitchens and calling themselves chefs, but are only “cooks”. I am NOT talking about mothers cooking for their families. I know a few which are regular wizards in the kitchen ….

    For the very same reason, restaurants that have been around “for a while” are the ones that prepare eatable food, very often traditional fare we grew up with. The ones selling towering concoctions, feeding “FOODIES”, they come and go.

    Lots of hard work goes into becoming a chef, and even more hard work goes into staying a (relevant) chef. So, how can you ask yourself if you are Obsolete? Out of touch? Old fashioned?
Removed? Aged? Antiquated? Archaic? Bygone? A fossil?
Moth-eaten? Out-of-date? Outmoded? Primeval? A relic?
Or just plain stupid ?

    … what’s wrong with being “aged”? … you got experience, makes one a teacher.
    … what’s wrong with being “old fashioned”? … show me a young chef that can make a meal with less than five main ingredients that tastes like food, …. I’ll happily be “old fashioned” …!!

    Yes, there is a time for cooking for glossy magazines. It can be fun. But no one expects flavor or even a working recipe or instructions. “FOODIES” have to be entertained too.

    I could write a five-page assay about this subject. But I think I’ll leave it with that ….

    …. thought from a “riper” Chef

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Chef Hans, if all the world loved food as you do, then we would spend a great deal of our time sitting at table, noshing and kibitzing and laughing and arguing and having a generally fabulous time. However, most folks don’t….they say they do but they don’t. What they love instead is the show, the specter, the theatre, the new and different, the wonder, the surprise and the critique. Chefs often times are judged not so much on the quality but on the entertainment value of their food. Sad, really. It’s like we have to perform every night like marionettes. Everyone wants to eat at those “food on display” restaurants and then shred the reputation of the chef and disrespect the food afterwards for being this way and not that way because we expected something tantalizing and impressive. The focus of the “foodies” is one-ups-manship and not all of us have that talent! so we’re destined to disappoint and fail.

    But then the real astonishing part is when people talk about their travels, about their favorite meals or their most memorable meals, these are oftentimes simple meals, home-cooked meals, meals taken at small out-of-the-way cafes, meals eaten at family table or at friends houses, filled with laughter and love, in a “I’ll have what they’re having” sort of way, filled with house wine poured from a carafe and lingering conversation around the table that stretches into the night. No pomp, no circumstance, no hovering servers, just big platters and bowls of deliciousness served family-style that we get seconds and thirds from, leaving no lonely roll on our plates as we mop up the last of the sauce, perhaps spilling some on our shirts. This is the food that we remember and this is the food that we sneak away to enjoy when no one’s looking and this is the food that we seek out in our travels to nourish us and comfort us when we’re away from home.

    So obsolete? out of touch? No….Chef Hans, you are just at the fore-front of the return-to-our-roots, simple-is-better movement. The fact that you take the time to cook for yourself and then tell us all about it puts you way ahead of those “foodies” that can talk a big story about the foods they have eaten, the places they’ve gone to and the new culinary vocabulary they’ve learned and yet cannot turn on the stove and whip something up for themselves. It’s curious to me that in almost every cookbook being written today by famous named chefs, all (ALL) have stories in them about family meals, simple meals…..heck, many of them are now writing cookbooks about these meals, there’s even cookbooks about the simple family meals made for the restaurant staff to eat!

    So I would say, Chef Hans, you’re at the beginning of the pack; just hang in there. Those nobody foodies will catch on eventually….they really don’t like being left out!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Take some time to read more Word Press blogs…….I find REAL people preparing wonderful meals without the hoopla….every day. Some are young, some middle aged, and some are old farts. They all have a passion that is contagious. Hooray for the online community of foodies!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Chef,
    I truely enjoyed your essay. Real food, simple, what we can put on the table in a evening to feed the family is an Art lost in the home. I spoke about that today, on video. I to enjoy amazing creations, but the media has pushed us so far from daily food, it seems a bowl oatmeal with raisins, mollassus, dash of sugar and heavey cream would never make a menu. God I love the Oldfassioned kind. A food revolution is in order, started by the chefs.
    Chef John

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank’s John.
      Hopefully, we who are serious about food can all co-exist with our passion, learning from each other and widening the horizon of GOOD food, simple, complicated, cheap, expensive one of a kind, ordinary, always good tasting food 🙂
      Seems to be a win win situation.
      Leave the crap to the donkey’s (Nicely put)

      BON APPETIT. Life is Good !

      Like

  6. I hear you. I am retired from the line. When I was younger I did not have the time to do much more than work,sleep,drink and talk to family. Now I have the time for blogs, games and mess with the young chefs. But age catches up with you. I can no longer stand in one place for hours. I do design menus and dishes, just not every day, and not for the masses.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Well said Hans! I’m a fan of your cooking philosphy and am one of the “riper” food professionals. Keep up your good work. I look forward to you posts. Fred Frazier

    ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Our world has become about drama in all aspects of life, including food (just look at the quality of reality shows on TV). Food should be beautiful to look at because not only do we eat with our mouths and stomachs but with our eyes as well. But pretentious on the other hand, is a whole different level. It’s not what good food is about. I tend to agree with your views on what good food is. It’s delicious, fun, looks great and makes me want to have more. It doesn’t matter whether you’re young or old, we all need to eat and the majority of us just want good food. Keep doing what you do because you do it well and don’t worry about the few that want a circus act on the plate. It’s fun on the rare occasion but for the norm, it’s overrated.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Take it from a youngish (30 year old) SIMPLICITY IS KEY. I believe you can make a very simple dish and have the plating still be eye catching simply by using your knowledge of food, the ingredients you are utilizing and how they work together. While I say this I feel I may come across as bashing things like gastronomy, which in its own way is very cool, but never going to be the type of food you would prepare at home. The other night I created a special for the restaurant I work for it was very simple yet elegantly plated and it went over very well. It was a bed of pesto risotto topped with grilled swordfish, tomatoes and garnished with a slice of lemon and a bit of curly parsley. I do not know how to add photos to these blogs so if you care to see it it is the picture I used for my linked in profile. As I have said many times before and shall repeat again now, Chefs, keep up the good fight.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s about time somebody with culinary clout said this! I full agree. I have been taking culinary classics and making them a bit more up to date” for my and I believe most people’s love for them” but my first priority has always been flavor and nutrition then eye appeal. There is a time and place for all the fancy art but I don’t think it should be everywhere. I am 36 and will always love all forms of food
    thank you for all you great culinary words of wisdom. i take them all to heart

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi All ,
    There is an add for an executive chef on this web side it reads :wanted an Artist to be in charge of a miilion $ operation .That says it about all where we are going no more chefs but “ARTISTS”
    Restaurants are owned by pretentious Lawyers and the big Hotels by bankers.
    None of them have passion for the business and pleasing customers just “BOTTOM LINE” Welcome to the 21 TH Century ,despite that we won;t give up or give in.Thank you for your articles Hans I am lookin forward every day to read them .

    Liked by 1 person

  12. When I go to a restaurant I pay for the whole experience. Ambiance, service, presentation and taste of the food. Growing, voracious teenagers have me cooking the “home-sweet-home” foods everyday of the week. When I do get out with my husband on those once or twice monthly date nights…yes! I want to be wowed with something that is everything at once…sounds good, looks wonderful, tastes that rival how it sounds and looks. I try to go somewhere different every time just to see all that my community has to offer. If it’s boring and I could have made it at home for a fraction of the price…forget it! Dining out is a visual, auditory, olfactory and taste experience…some of us like it home-style and the local Mom and Pop will do that beautifully..heck even the local grocer is trying for that!…I like my rare-treat experiences to be memorable for all the reasons above!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I believe that if you read my earlier post it may help a lil to clarify what chef was trying to say. I also work in a mom and pop old world Sicilian family food but the chef and I run some mind blowing daily specials. So dont count the lil guys out too soon.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Dear Isabelle
      Maybe there is a slight misunderstanding of what I was saying in my post. The whole point I was making was that the food we eat, at home or in restaurants, should always be about GOOD food, no matter what level it is on. Sadly, GOOD food has now taken a backseat at many establishments and the wow factor of presentation and shocking has become the main reason to exist. (Eating live ants, raw, less than fresh fish and meats, food which has been handled by many unwashed hands over and over) I could go on forever, but I am sure you get my drift. There used to be a majority of guests in restaurants who would apprciate food for its perfection, beauty and harmony. There was always pomp and circumstances in our profession but it used to express itself through perfection, not idiotic fru fru. I have to highlight again that I am all for beauty, the best ingredients affordable, pomp and circumstances, as long as it expresses itself in great food, not crap, which I just see too much out there nowaday’s. On the other hand, there are chefs out there who just blow me away with their presentations and ideas and I am in awe of them. But again, they are the minority in a sea of opportunist who are just trying to ride the waves.
      So in conclusion, enjoy your rare treat experiences and make the best of it 🙂

      Like

      1. Hans! I truly couldn’t agree with you more in this respect. I was raised with an appreciation for good food and for beautiful food. My father (also Hans!) is also a Chef by trade who immigrated to Canada from Europe when I was a little girl. He is a passionate proponent of having certified chef’s in every restaurant kitchen. He has always marveled that one must be a certified electrician or plumber to do work in that trade and yet in a trade where people can be poisoned and killed by the food they eat, “cooks” with questionable education and training are a common if not majority occurrence in restaurant kitchens (in Canada anyway). I’ve eaten many exotic things (no live ants…thank heavens!), but secondary to how exotic they were was the care taken to make the food appealing in every way it could be…more than just “gut-fill” if you will. I am all for good food! Carry on!

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Chef Hans,
    Thank you very much for your daily posts and for your passionate pursuit of great cuisine. Being one of the “riper” set of chefs myself, I too have a passion for great food that is cooked and presented with skill and with love. Too many chefs get discouraged when they are told they are not being innovative or cutting edge enough when they choose to present wholesome, tasty, properly prepared dishes over the avant guard of the day. There will always be a place for the risk takers, truly innovative and the avant guard, in fact we sometimes need the push provided by these pioneers to grow and move forward. However, all innovation should emerge from a foundation of solid, disciplined technique and respect for the ingredients one is working with. It has been my experience that the latest fad or trend always has a way of cycling it’s proponents back to the basics once the fad or trend has lost its fleeting appeal.
    To answer the questions you posted at the beginning of your blog:

    “I love food for the sake of food.”
    – Does that make me obsolete? No chef, that makes you the most current and relevant of any chef in our industry.
    – Out of touch? No chef, it makes you in touch with a great majority of consumers who are longing for real food presented by real culinarians who really care.
    – Old fashioned? No chef, “real” food will always be in fashion.
    – Removed? No chef, you as current as the technology you use every day to educate and inform.
    – Aged? Antiquated? Archaic,? Bygone? A fossil? Moth-eaten? Out-of-date? Outmoded? Primeval? A relic? No chef, a passion for quality is timeless.
    – Or just plain stupid? No chef, he who educates others can never be considered “stupid”.

    Keep up the posts, and continue to share your love of food for the sake of food. Many people are benefiting from what you are doing.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. First and fore most you are as old as you feel chef. Having read your article I’m inclined to agree with you whole heartedly. I find it incredibly funny (though years ago insulting…) how the newer generation of “culinarians” have found wonderous paths of enlightenment to the existence of “chef” within what can only be described as light speed attainment. I couldn’t help, but notice this very fact as I watched a brief moment of yet another cooking show where one of the contestants spouted; “I’ve been a drummer for the last ten years and I have now been cooking for the last year. I am looking forward to becoming an executive chef within three years”. I laughed hard enough that I scared my dogs out of the room.

    I too am inspired by what I see in the molecular and modernist movements with regard to food, but to reiterate this is not real life nor day to day for the average person or consummate chef. We are loosing our footing in the ascension to “gastro- visual- centrique” (or is that the other way around…) interpretations of great food.

    As I read your essay I became aware of my own existence within the industry. As I pondered my worth and contributions (presently unemployed….) I thought about what I had learned, taught, experienced and shared. The answer? I’m as relevant now as I ever was. I continue to hone my craft at home. I’m looking into teaching and consulting at this point. The economy has touched us all in a very personal way. I’m blessed to have worked where I have and I know that the next chapter will be even greater, but I digress…

    It’s all about great food, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true Darel.
      I just look at it this way: I had my time, now it is their’s.
      It is up to the new generation what will eventually happen to our great profession in general. But one thing is certain : There will alway’s be great food. There was a time when only the rich could afford great food. Then, only recently, it was made available to the masses. If they reject it, fail to appreciate it and trivialize it, it will cease to exist for the masses who will be eating crap again on a daily basis. Eventually good, skillfully prepared food will end up as a privilege again, only accesible for the rich and the few who are passionate enough to create it on a non-comercial level. They will be the only ones (again) who will obtain the extensive training to produce it for them self or can afford to hire the experienced professionals it takes to produce great food, constantly, consistently, on a superior level. Alway’s been like that, alway’s will be like that.
      Fad’s come and go, quality, beauty and superiority will reign forever 🙂

      Like

    2. I wanted to thank you for posting this. I am one of those “Young ones” looking to start a culinary career (25 and stuck in an office job, dreaming of the day I can afford culinary school), but eternally fearful that the reality of the industry will lack the raw, natural, simple passion for food that I’ve always had. I don’t want to make people think i “know what I’m doing”, because ALL that i want is to learn from people who have been doing it their whole lives and STILL love it as much as they always have. That’s my inspiration, and my dream. As long as you always have your passion, and don’t forget why you do what you do, then you will continue to inspire the rest of us.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Interesting post! I love to cook and experiment. It makes me sad when I see people that hate cooking and who prefer to eat some crap or skip a dish just because they are so lazy and miss motivation. I wish more people have passion for cooking…

    Liked by 1 person

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