been watching a couple episodes of this and i have to say the show is interesting but i have been starting to have a great dislike for david chang, specially after what i've read the stuff on here.
Technically, the terms chef and cook can and are interchangeable. The concept that only the head cook can be called chef is the equivalent of "Heavyweight Champion of the World" or playing in the "World Series". Basically American fantasies with no real historical basis. If you don't believe me, then I would like to take you to enjoy a Kobe beef burger at your local Applebees and sip on some Champagne made with authentic California grapes.
Chef means chief and there can only be one chief in the kitchen. A chef is a cook but, a cook is not necessarily a chef.
I haven't lived the life I wanted, just the lives I needed too at the time.
Actually, a cook is a chef. It's just that the original phrases had too many syllables. With Americans generally being lazy in all things foreign, it was easier to culturally split up the words chef and cook in their singular forms. Chef does not mean chief directly. America simply loves one word titles, and will hammer away at a trend until it becomes normal regardless of it's incorrectness.
Man I was so backwards on this. The original term was I think more like "head of cuisine" or kitchen. I think it was more of a term people thought sounded foreign, cool and important, and was adapted to normal terminology. Chef never directly meant cook at all. I was half right, half wrong. My mistake.
Either way, IMO and many others, Chef is a term or respect. Someone who leads the kitchen, leads the crew into doing the best they can, creates new dishes and keeps the quality of food up, and at times runs the front of the house (I had to when I was Chef at Fox Briar Inn) and is a mentor to the team. They should lead by example. Some chefs get respect in different ways, some with anger and whatnot, but its still a form or respect.
From the things I've heard about Chang, here and otherwise from past employees, I would have a hard time calling him chef and meaning it.
"This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption.. Beer!" -Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, Friar Tuck
The funny thing is, based on the original term of the word "chef", as it has nothing to do with putting a fire to anything, you don't even techinaclly have to be the best cook in the kitchen, or even that good. You just have to be the person in charge in the kitchen giving orders and running the show. If I were to open a restaurant and Anthony Bourdain was foolish enough to let me hire him, he would still have to call me chef, regardless of the light years between our cooking abilities. Just because people feel that something is wrong or right doesn't make it so.
It's kinda like a general in the army. Sure he receives respect, is the thought to be the creme de la creme of soldiers, every soldier salutes and follows their orders without word or complaint. But would you really want General Dempsey or John F. Kelly shoulder to shoulder with you in an actual fire fight?