Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Chicago Chefs Roundtable

Chicago Magazine sat down to chat with six of Chicago's best chefs about the star system, food plagiarism, ethics of food, and more. It's a good read.

My favorite line is from Grant Achatz of Alinea. In response to the question "Grant, you do a lot of local food sourcing. It seems like no one ever talks about that part of your food" he says "Of course they don’t. I make it all in the laboratory, in test tubes and petri dishes." That is certainly the perception about his kind of cooking. Which is really too bad.

Here's what the assembly had to say about celebrity chefdom:

Q: The celebrity chef thing: does it annoy you?
Bayless: It doesn’t really have anything to do with me as a chef. We play a role in the culture, so I do what I have to do for that. But in the long run, I have a bigger mission that I’m trying to accomplish and it allows me to do that.
Trotter: I don’t think anyone at this table got into the business because they thought they’d become a celebrity. Along the way, things happen and opportunity comes your way. But, as Rick says, it doesn’t change what you do. You’re still devoted to a much higher good. I keep pushing forward to refine what I do. It’s dreadful when you’re interviewing a person and you ask why he wants to be in this business: “Well, I see myself having a TV show.”
Kahan: That’s happening more and more. It’s creepy.
Trotter: You should go into this business because you love touching food and caressing food and cooking food—and you love to serve people. And you better love to serve more than being served. But we’re blessed because we have opportunities. We’ve benefited from what Paul Bocuse started in the sixties, and it just keeps going. I can only imagine what the situation will be in 15 years.
Bayless: It also enhances the livelihood. You figure out how much you have to do and how much you don’t have to do.
Stegner: Sometimes you feel like you can make a difference so you say yes to charities that touch you. But it’s a time management thing. Since my child came along I’ve pulled back a little bit. You just have to make time for it.

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