Having vented in a previous article “When cooking becomes a childish game “ with regards to the current stream of media sensationalism that is presenting the art of cooking and being a chef as some sort of confrontational and vulgar sport, I felt it important to present what I believe and from the history of cooking and cooking shows, what real and life affirming cooking is and should be about.
I know to each their own and so on, (this is my “to each their own”), but not only as a cook and one who loves the art of cooking and food in general, but also as a consumer of meal at restaurants, I must protest and stand up and be counted to say I don’t want to eat food prepared by angry, vulgar chefs/cooks. What these chef/cooks are being exposed to, taught and conditioned to through these confrontational shows, is to prepare negative and destructive food. I as a consumer may be exposed to these negative infused dishes when I go out for a meal.
Food prepared in an environment or under such conditions is worst than just being unhealthy, this food becomes infused with the negativity and vulgarity that these cooks put into the environment. The shows have been shown to not only be vulgar in the extreme at times but may also be dangerous to the participants. Two contestant chefs have committed suicide after having endured demeaning and psychological abuse while competing on the Hells Kitchen show. But the media pumps these shows out to an audience that has become so desensitized that even in cooking, for it to be entertaining to them has to be a gladiatorial show of abuse and negativity.
While I may have come down a little heavier than needed on the Marilyn Denis shows “Cooking expert competition” in comparing it in the same article as Hells Kitchen, the competition show on the Marilyn Denis show did not present to the audience a “cooking expert”. I still maintain that if they had presented each of the contestants, in the manner that Chef Michael Smith of Chef at Home fame, presents his expertise in all areas as a cooking expert, they would have had a better show and a more believable “cooking expert” presented.
If I were to be asked, I would have suggested that competition that tested their true expertise would have been much more beneficial and more fruitful. From the Planning, the ordering and selection of the foods they use in their cooking, to the budgeting and the price per serving costing that chefs perform, to the management and atmosphere they bring and induce in their kitchens to the preparation and presentation of creative and nutritious foods. In this way each competing chef could be judged on their “expertise” in all areas related to cooking and we would have seen a true competition of a new “Cooking Expert”. Oh by the way, I new from day one who the winner would be, though I did get the runner up wrong.
The art and joy of cooking
Is there an alternative to these types of cooking shows? There always have been the past cooking shows that were about the art and joy of cooking. Yes that’s right the “Art and Joy” of cooking. There are of course a number of new cooking shows that celebrate the art and joy of cooking and these are the shows that those truly into the art of cooking are watching. These show present cooking as it should be, the chefs show the pride and the joy they have in cooking, these are chefs that are not angry about cooking and preparing a dish, or a complete course of dishes. They don’t go into fits of rage because it took a moment longer than planned to make the dish, or go into a screaming frenzy over a minor missed step, they adjust and mold the food with their skill. It is a joy to see the pride and the joy written across their faces, the spontaneous smiles and some even break into song. This is what cooking is all about and those who get into the art of cooking for the most part are all about.
It is shameful to see the vulgarity of these near Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) performances that pass themselves off as cooking shows. It is also shameful to think that these competing chefs are ingraining this type of attitude about cooking and that they will carry it forward into their cooking career. The establishments that these chefs end up at will not be made the better for their experience on these shows.
Body, Mind, and Spirit.
The internet abounds with chefs and cooks all claiming that what they do is holistic cooking. There are schools and people all wanting to teach you how to be a holistic chef or how to cook holistically. I hope that after reading this article you will see the difference between what so many claims as holistic cooking and what true holistic cooking is.
If all you take with you from this article is the following, then you are well on the holistic road to cooking and fully enjoying holistic food. The one question to ask your self whenever you come across these self proclaimed holistic chefs or courses, is this; does what they claim and say meet these three holistic requirements?
- Body: does it nourish the body
- Mind: does it nourish the mind
- Spirit: does it nourish the spirit
For the art and or training to be truly Holistic, it must meet all three of them. Just because you cook only organic foods does not make you a holistic chef or cook, yet that seems to be what some think holistic cooking is all about.
This of course is an opinion piece and other opinions on this subject may differ from the above. As it is with opinion articles, it is up to the reader to choose what they take and reject.