Anthony Bourdain gave a very honest assessment of celebrity chef endorsements, here. Tom Colicchio measured in on “cooking competitions” this way yesterday, “The whole idea of competition with chefs is foreign and alien to me. I understand the irony of that statement since I judge a competitive cooking show, but prior to doing Top Chef the concept hadn’t really occurred to me.”
Bourdain also talked about the Golden Clogs:
What about The Golden Clog Awards? Is there any chance you’ll be bringing those back?
Oh my god. Poor [Michael] Ruhlman. I suckered him into doing that with me and he was like black-balled in the industry for like two years. He’s still smarting in the perineal region from that experience.
Having a little experience with being black-balled by a person here or there, I can attest to the fact that it’s not all bad. In the end those that engage in such behavior always come off looking petty-sure some folks will go along for a while, but the pay back is a real bitch for the types that seek to use their positions to control, as they eventually get cut off by the very hands that feeds, for every action their is an equal and opposite reaction.
Kudos to Bourdain for once again pointing out that this type of behavior exists in the industry. Nobody has spoken more openly and honestly about the industry than he has through the years.
Any parting words or last thoughts?
Just that I honestly believe that a desire to cook at all, but specifically a desire to cook well, to excel, to feed other people, is really and truly a noble calling. It is rarely a high art, but I think it is a good and noble thing, a good and noble calling, and I think it is, generally speaking, wherever you are in the world, no coincidence that it is done by good people.
The changes to our industry in the last few years, the celebrity, and the exposure has been great for a work a day chef like me. Most of us didn’t get into this because we think it will lead to celebrity, or money, or what have you. We got into this because we love cooking and creating dishes that make other folks happy. On balance the celebrity thing- even on a small scale like ours, has been great for raising money for charity. Certain people (bankers) take my calls that would have scoffed at me before, and that’s been helpful. But make no mistake about it, the work has to be there 100% of the time for it to have credibility.
The folks that want to black-ball, the folks that seek to dominate others can’t do anything about you performing at a high level. Every night we fill the joint, cause the folks that matter the most, the ones coming in to eat only want the same thing as us, to eat well and celebrate life, no amount of posturing, no amount of press positive or negative can take away your hard work.
If you seek to build a business that has integrity, you build it one person at a time, one plate at a time, no amount of celebrity will ever change that.