by Chrysa Smith

This link will take you to a Yahoo news story about chefs. What they like; what they don’t. What they will and won’t pay for in a restaurant themselves.

It caught my eye mainly because I’ve interviewed a handful or more of celebrity chefs over the years. And my read on them is that despite some of the intimidation factor that they can raise with ‘gourmet’ food, fancy French names, rich sauces and nouveau spins, those guys and gals in the kitchen—the chefs— are just good old, down home folks who like to play with food.

My favorite interview was with Eric Treuille in Notting Hill, London. A French-born cook with boyish charm, he spent close to an hour on a long-distance call telling me what fresh food should taste like: a roast chicken, a summer tomato. He spoke of opening the windows and letting the smell waft through the air, so all the neighbors could smell. There was Douglas Rodriguez–Latin master with restaurants in NY, Philly and possibly elsewhere by now who talked about cooking with family. Tom Colicchio of NYC restauranteur fame who described his favorite dish that included (at that time) fresh tomatoes. Charlie Trotter who spoke of a program he had to get kids involved with good, fresh food. These guys and others I’ve met with got their love for food from a very reliable source—their moms or grandmoms. See? Some things we matriarchs teach them actually stick. So take heart.

Some of them had formal culinary training—like Cordon Bleu in France, Culinary Institute in NY or Johnson & Wales in Rhode Island. Sometimes, no formal training—-like Rachel Ray; bubbly kitchen goddess with a mega culinary enterprise. She too, got her training from the woman who bore her, fed her, clothed her and raised her.

Even if your offspring haven’t become Master Chefs, there is something primal, comforting and partnering about sharing time in the kitchen with your children—-something that makes conversation, like comfort food, stick to the ribs and the soul. So next time there’s a subject to discuss, a point to make, instead of sitting your kid down in the living room chair (whether they are under age or fully grown), try handing them some utensils to help set the table, a few pounds of potatoes to peel, a roast to check on—–and see for yourself if what you say in this setting isn’t worth it’s weight in the counselor’s office—sticking with them long after the meal is done and digested.
With college age kids, it’s food on the go. I’ve got a couple of chickens roasting in the oven right now—some to eat for dinner tonight; some to share with a house full of soccer players out in Central PA tomorrow night. Anyway you can, you’ve got to keep the umbilical cord attached from nourishment to soul. Even if that means coolers, foil wraps and care packages.
Good luck and Bon Apetit.