Cookbook in the Craw

 I have just about had it with all these television and movie celebrities turned ”food authorities”. Does everybody and their brother have to write a cookbook? We have some very decent chefs who would contribute volumes in the way of having something published, having a product marketed, educating consumers, but can they walk right out and get picked up by a publisher? All of a sudden a movie star makes a vinaigrette and it’s on every supermarket shelf, another puts a little olive oil on some pasta, has a nutritionist say,”This is good,” and WHAM-O, a cook book! A talk show host has a cook book out with his mom’s recipes and he won’t even let a Chef get through an entire presentation on his show with out making a fiasco of it!  
Look, what credibility would Emeril Lagasse have in writing a book about the performing arts? Just because we see his face on TV does that make him an authority on acting? I know, I know, the celebs are in the spot light and their faces sell books but have they been through the trenches? Have they worked a thirteen hour shift for minute pay for the love of the trade and the desire to learn? Or are they at least educated culinarians? It’s like when Michael Jordan left basket ball and immediately got a base ball contract. Granted he dropped from the majors to the minors, but would he even have gotten that if he wasn’t Michael Jordan? Some of the guys who broke their backs to get into the minors were kind of put off by this. Nothing against Mr. Jordan, it took a lot of heart to do what he did, but you can imagine how the guys who worked all their lives just to play minor league ball must have felt at Michael’s fanfare. The point I’m trying to make is that what’s selling these cook books is celebrity fan fare, which to a culinarian may not be fan fair, if you get what I’m saying.

 OK, here’s the proposal, for these celeb guys to write a cook book, which I’m not necessarily against the idea per se, they would first have to go through an apprenticeship, not a 2 day stage at Charlie Trotter’s, a real apprenticeship from the ground up, peeling potatoes, turning vegetables, doing the mis en place for the saucier at a big hotel, setting plates for the egg man at breakfast, garnishing the entrees for the sauté station on the hot line. Until they get that little yellow callous at the base of their index finger they shouldn’t be even be considered by a publisher! When they have felt the aching bones from standing all night, when they have sweat off 30lbs. on the “Mesquite Broiler Weight Loss Program”, when they can pump out 100 beautifully executed entrees on a busy night, really when they can contribute more than a novelty and at least be considered by culinarians as fellow culinarians, then, maybe I’ll consider buying the book!  But hey, I’m writing this article and I’m not a journalist, so what do I know? Happy cooking everyone! (Yes, even you Oprah.)






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