Social occasions are always tough for a chef. More often than not, the host runs up to me and saying, “You have to try my hummus. It's the best!” as if I would not have made it to the hummus before the end of the night anyway. It's like a dog fight for dominance; I think that they want their hummus to be the best so as not to feel intimidated by me.
You know what? My hummus is the best. That's kind of my thing, otherwise I would not be doing what I do. In general, I make food taste better than other people do. Your hummus might be outstanding, but a little cilantro would have brought it over the top. Or some lime juice would have been nice.
The immediate and unyielding challenge for food dominance sucks. It is not like I go running for my checkbook when the accountant shows up, yelling, “Look! I keep a cleaner ledger than you!” or “I rolled over my entire 401K into money bonds! Did you?”
This is the evil of the food revolution. Everyone thinks that they can cook now. Any home cook can get a recipe for just about anything on the Internet. It makes me wonder what being a chef was like pre-Food Network. They probably had to work hard and actually learn how to be a chef, and were not called chef just because they cooked food on TV, like Rachael Ray. (She does do a good job admitting that she is not a chef, though.)
I can remember when someone used to ask me what I did for a living and when I said that I was a chef, they would ask, “Where do you cook?” Now when I answer that question, most people say, “Ohhhh. How exiting! Are you like the ones on TV?”
“No,” I say. “I am a journeyman, not a celebrity.”
I hate that people think that we chefs are all stars-in-waiting. My evil side wants to remind people that cream rises and I would not be at a dinner party with them if I was as good looking, talented and successful as the TV chefs. I would be sitting in my own restaurant in N.Y. or L.A., drinking chateau neuf du pape and eating caviar, not drinking Coors Light and eating hummus.
Randy King is the Executive Chef at Sysco Food Services of Idaho. He has served as the Executive Chef at several locations in Boise including Richard’s in Hyde Park, Crane Creek Country Club and the Doubletree Riverside Hotel. Randy is a member of the American Culinary Federation and has been awarded the elite status of Certified Executive Chef. He can typically be found behind a stove making a mess ... and something delicious to eat.