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Old 01-18-2009, 06:34 PM   #51
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Id love to cook side by side with Jacques Pepin and learn so many things. Im just not sure his style of cooking would be best suited for me, but technically I would learn so much. Id love a nice Italian meal from Lidia of " lidia's Kitchen". Id be curious to see how Gordon Ramsay performs after hearing him torture so many other chefs.
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Old 01-18-2009, 06:52 PM   #52
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You have created a monster. Trying to separate talent and personality with pure objectivity is impossible (although there are certainly people here who will say they can do it). Each celebrity chef has their own unique talents, and part of their success is in their personality. I'm sure any one of them could prepare a meal that would be delicious, but if you don't click with their personality it's not going to be received as well as if it came from your favorite personality. I married my wife because of her personality, not because she was a hard worker and a good cook (I really married her because she was the first one to say YES!). We gravitate toward some folks and retreat from others for many reasons, but primarily because we like their personality. I know a couple of the celebrities who I wouldn't let in through the garage door, much less let them cook for me. I'm sure they would make a good meal, but I don't click with them.

When you find the chef who tickles both your palette and personality, you will have a favorite.
I think you are making it way more complicated than it has to be. When you go to a restaurant, do you meet the chef first and then decide if you liked what he cooked. In most cases you never meet the person who cooks your food in a restaurant. Personality does not need to play a role at all.

The OP's question was about who, based solely on their food, would you like to cook for you. You would not be meeting or seeing the chef, only eating your food. I do not see why it would be so difficult according to you to separate the food from the personality.
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Old 01-18-2009, 07:12 PM   #53
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I think you are making it way more complicated than it has to be. When you go to a restaurant, do you meet the chef first and then decide if you liked what he cooked. In most cases you never meet the person who cooks your food in a restaurant. Personality does not need to play a role at all.

The OP's question was about who, based solely on their food, would you like to cook for you. You would not be meeting or seeing the chef, only eating your food. I do not see why it would be so difficult according to you to separate the food from the personality.
When dining out you rarely meet the person who is cooking for you, and in fact there may be several people preparing the same meal from the menu. Repetitive cooking that you could teach anyone to do if they had the opportunity to prepare it a few times. TV Celebs are in our face many times each week, and we form opinions about them, their cooking and their personality. The OP comes along and asks us to separate us from the virtual relationship we have with them. I find this a difficult thing to do because I have expectations of each of them based on my virtual relationship with them, and biases against a few as well. That's my opinion, and $.65 with it will get me a senior coffee at McDonalds.
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Old 01-18-2009, 07:20 PM   #54
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Alice Waters (Chez Panisse), Jaime Oliver (I like their sociological bent), and the crew at America's Test Kitchen and Cooks Illustrated. I've learned so much from them.
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Old 01-18-2009, 07:27 PM   #55
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I think my biggest problem with this thread is that very few of the people mentioned here are "chefs". "Cooks", yes; chefs no. Is Sandra Lee a "chef"? No. Is Rachel Ray a "chef"? No. Are either one of "The Neelys" chefs? No. Is Guy Fieri a "chef"? No. Ad infinitum.

I find it so unfortunate - & this isn't snobbery in any way - that The Food Network has done so very much to dumb down professional cooking. I barely watch the channel anymore - it's way too sad. No wonder so many of the REAL chefs like Bourdain & Batali left Food Network asap.
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Old 01-18-2009, 07:30 PM   #56
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Who cares what the title is? Just because someone has chef in front of their name does not mean they can cook a better meal then someone who is just a lowly cook. Labels do not matter. What they do with the food does.
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Old 01-18-2009, 07:52 PM   #57
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I agree with you GB but at least with chefs like Sara Moulton, she taught me better knife skills and she tried to cook in real time without too much switching out. The other Bobby who taught grilling with Bobby Flay really knew his fire. (Sorry, I can't remember his last name). David Rosengarten also taught me a lot when he found what he considered the best version of a particular dish. I loved the history lesson that accompanied the food. Now, it seems that style and flash has replaced cooking. Remember Michelle Urvater? She taught people how to cook and bake. I miss people like her. I vaguely remember another David who at one time was a fighter but he taught Italian cooking. I enjoyed his show.
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Old 01-18-2009, 07:56 PM   #58
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I agree with you GB but at least with chefs like Sara Moulton, she taught me better knife skills
I am not saying there is anything wrong with being a chef. I think it is great if someone is a chef. I do not think the title chef means that they necessarily cook better food though or that there is nothing to be learned from them. How many people have learned a ton from Alton Brown for instance?
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Old 01-18-2009, 09:06 PM   #59
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Well ... the question was is the best CHEF, not cook, right? Maybe OP could chime in here. We could probably agree to disagree, as any one chef may be truly better than the next in their specialty. Just like pro athletes, another may be better on a given day.

Sandra Lee did go to culinary school, but I don't think she finished. I've never seen anybody refer to her as a "graduate" of any specific school. She's quite creative, and many home cooks feed their families that way so it's relatable.

Some people do pay their dues in service, just like other walks of life. Whether or not you're a fan of Paula Deen or Rachael Ray, there's no denying what they've done for many a home cook by way of pure inspiration.

I already posted my choice earlier, so I asked Curt and he said "The Big E!" because he likes his cookin!
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Old 01-18-2009, 09:10 PM   #60
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I agree with you GB but at least with chefs like Sara Moulton, she taught me better knife skills and she tried to cook in real time without too much switching out. The other Bobby who taught grilling with Bobby Flay really knew his fire. (Sorry, I can't remember his last name). David Rosengarten also taught me a lot when he found what he considered the best version of a particular dish. I loved the history lesson that accompanied the food. Now, it seems that style and flash has replaced cooking. Remember Michelle Urvater? She taught people how to cook and bake. I miss people like her. I vaguely remember another David who at one time was a fighter but he taught Italian cooking. I enjoyed his show.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU PieSusan. You hit the nail DIRECTLY on the head!!! Unfortunately, those new to cooking will never know what they missed if all they view are the pseudo-chef "cooks" on The Food Network. It's so SO sad.

They'll never know the joys of watching Julia Child correctly debone a chicken or fish (unless they bother to buy the DVDs), or realize that not every great dish can be made in "30 minutes".
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