Chef or Cook - What's in a Name?

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Tuesday, August 1, 2017


Search the hashtag "chef" on Instagram and you're bombarded with a lot of different images.  There are moms cooking for their kids, professional chefs working in restaurants, but of the images are amateur cooks sharing photos of the things they make in their home kitchens (these are my favorite).

So what's the difference between a chef and a cook?  They both do the same thing right?

Well, not exactly. And kind of. But not really.  Um....ok.

So technically a chef is someone who has received culinary training.  A chef is someone who cooks in a restaurant and has creative control of the menu.  A chef has either gone to culinary school or has studied under another chef and has received education that is equal to a formal degree.  If you are a "chef" odds are you are in a supervisory role in your restaurant.

A cook on the other hand, is me.  I have not trained in a restaurant or under a chef (unless you count asking my parents questions because they are both bomb ass cooks) and I don't have any formal education.  Everything I have ever made in the kitchen, has come from me.  I study on my own with the amazing resources we have these days.  I have a trillion cookbooks, books on cooking technique, and spend most of my free time reading up online about food and cooking.  But unless I decide to go back to school (I graduate this semester from an MFA program...so the odds on that aren't great), I will never be considered a chef.


But who cares?  There is definitely a hierarchy in restaurants, but I don't intend to work in one.  My goal is to show people that cooking is easy and FUN and you don't have to have studied in France to be able to cook a delicious meal and share it with other people.  Also, I would probably have an anxiety attack and die if I had to work in a restaurant kitchen.  The only reason my Instagram says "personal chef" is because "personal cook" wasn't an option.

So I may take a class or two, or ask people who are chefs for advice, but I'm a cook.  And I'm proud of that.
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