You know, I was watching a rerun episode of Hell’s Kitchen starring Chef Gordon Ramsay and I couldn’t help but chuckle. I consider this a comedy, not a reality show. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a basher. He is legit and you don’t earn umpteen million Michelin stars and become one of the 20 richest men in the world by not being a genius. I get it this cruelty thing is his schtick. In the show, the slightest imperfection or misstep by one of the unfortunate participants is met with scorn, ridicule, and humiliation. This is the show. In reality, depending on your resources, there are five separate stations in the smallest of French restaurants: Sauté—The station where entrée dishes are prepared, sauced, and finished—Entremetier—Responsible for production and presentation of vegetables. I put a very creative individual on this station as I wanted the same “wow” produced by each station of the process. Garde Manger—responsible for all cold or frozen items, including plating of sorbets and desserts, prepared earlier by La Pâtissier—the Pastry Chef. ALWAYS befriend whomever your PC is. It can only help you. Young chefs: carve that one in stone. Usually, the Sous Chef will serve as the all-important Chef Tournant, whereby he or she will assist any station or cover a station themselves if needed as the Chef ensures the quality, taste, and appearance of the final product leaving the kitchen. In the thick of the fray, when tickets are being spit out of the computer terminal faster than we can pull them down, the most important team members you have in ANY kitchen are the runner and the dishwasher. If you do not recognize that as a chef, you better look again.
Now getting back to the show and the concept of reality.
I have had the privilege of working under some of the best chefs in the world, and several have been jerks. Arrogant to the point of totally minimizing your contributions in their kitchen while exaggerating their own skill sets and accomplishments. I get it. BUT you just try talking to some poor schmuck hourly cook who just made a mistake on one of your plates the way Chef GR does and now you add Entremetier to your duties. And so on and so on…..No one is going to put up with that crap.
Maybe if you are getting paid on TV to be abused.
Here is an excerpt from my book EMOTIONS: Not Your Mama’s ABC’s under the letter “R.”
“Respect is and always has been, large in my life. I need to respect something before I can believe in it. Is that weird or is that just me? I respect weird things like commitment. Commitment in the form of loyalty, fearlessness, and resolve. But what about serial killers or terrorists? Are they committed? Hell yes. Do I respect them? Fuck no! But they are committed.
I respect someone who talks to you from the heart and not from a subliminal script learned from advertisement bombardment. You can seriously tell the difference. Even so, all it really does is highlight yet another glorious human difference. We are truly a delicious Gumbo humanis.
Respect in my family was not earned, it was there for all eternity for you to pay, and rule number one if you wanted to continue living.
Let’s just say you were unfortunate enough to disrespect my mother in front of the other family members at a Sunday morning breakfast. Well, before you even got a glimpse of the fresh homemade tortillas, frijoles, chile rellenos, menudo, huevos con queso blanco, pork guisado, salsa and guacamole, you first started the respect repayment plan with a pop to the chops by the entire family. There was a definite hierarchy. Gramps first, (Gramma never did), Aunts and Uncles next, and finally, Mom herself. A stiff price to pay and not oft-repeated. I still say “yes ma’am and yes sir” when I address those worthy. That right there is how I was raised, pure and simple. Effective, yet all the love in the universe.
It hurts to see someone disrespected even if you don’t know them. Self-disrespect is the very worst, and that hollow look in the sunken eyes of someone who has given up is a ghostly image to carry.”