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Why is Bob Blumer "chef" ?

Don't get me wrong, he's cool, funny, seems like a genuine nice guy, and most importantly ...... Canadian ;-)

But no where do I see any chef or culinary credentials attached to his background (maybe that goes for ahem, Rachael ...... oh let's leave her out of it). I'm not trying to sound legalistic about it, but I find it amusing that he's often referred to as Chef Blumer.

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  1. Where have you seen him referred to this way? It's been a long time since I saw him on US Foodnetwork. We have had a debate as to whether Pioneer Woman deserves the label of chef. Probably the same observations apply here.

    Some people are legalistic about the use of 'chef', others use it freely.

    3 Replies
    1. re: paulj


      Here he does refer to himself as chef
      'Culinary adventurer, chef, artist and seven time Guinness World Record holder ...'
      but that 4 letter word gets lost among all the other superlatives on that page - lost unless you are particularly sensitive about the exalted status of that profession.

      1. re: paulj

        The current 'about' page starts:

        "Gastronaut, artist and seven time Guinness World Record holder ...

        'chef' is no longer found on that page.

        1. re: paulj

          Maybe they read this thread ...... ;-)

          Gastronaut ? Sounds like someone who suffers from gastrointestinal issues :-O

    2. Ah, Bob "The Barnacle" Blumer. His every appearance underscores the importance of friends--especially when you're light on accomplishments. Mugging at the camera and a high pain/embarrassment threshold appear to be Bob's key talents. Personally, I think he's headed to kids' TV in sort of a nouveau "Mr. Dressup"/cooking show on TVO fronted by WholeFoods. It's a long way down, Bob.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Kagemusha

        His latest new series, World's Weirdest Restaurants, appears to be going in that direction:


        I would have rather he take on something more educational and "back to the basics" show like Chef Lynn Crawford's "Pitchin' In". I can see Bob being comical and engaging in something like that but still provide value of the genuine kind:


        1. re: LotusRapper

          Notice that FN.ca talks of 'Chef Lynn' (as a title), but 'as a chef, Bob ...'. One is a Chef, the other a chef.

          1. re: paulj


            Maybe it's time to dig up this commercial and remake one for some of 'em:


            1. re: LotusRapper

              Looks like the Thais have beat you to it
              I am not a chef ... but I sure am a good cook series
              Unfortunately there's a lot more talk (which I dont understand) than action

      2. I just like his Airstream Toaster. (Toaster Airstream?)

        1. Who is the credentialing society that bestows such grand titles? There is no degree for such (University), there are diplomas but pretty much any organization can create their own diploma? I gather from your current definition that you would strip the chef title from Heston Blumenthal (Fat Duck - recognized as one of the top restaurants with 3 Michelin Stars)..... who is self-taught?

          1. I agree with you. I contacted Bob and asked him the same question. His answer was since he has spend 22 years of job training around the food industry he should be know as a chef. What a disservice to great Canadian chefs like Mark MCewan, Lynn Crawford and Massimo Capra.

            7 Replies
            1. re: longcast

              Here's some of Bob's past, at least what was published in the UWO Alumni gazette from a number of years ago:

              "Bob Blumer graduate of the Richard Ivey School of Business (HBA ’81), he used his business education, not to land a corporate job, but to exploit the brand created out of his “accidental” career. Prior to landing his cooking show (Surreal Gourmet), he was business manager for Canadian singer-songwriter Jane Siberry from 1984 to 1993." (I added a few points to this quip from the Gazette as the straight cut and paste missed some info from earlier in the article.)

              Until there is some form of governing body for cooking and chefs pretty much anyone who wants to call themselves a chef, can. I'm not saying that's right or wrong, just the way it is.

              1. re: vanderb

                No doubt there are differences on the opposing sides of the Atlantic about the use of the word "chef". Here, on the European side, it is simply the job title that we give to folk working in professional kitchens.They may be a commis chef, chef de partie, sous chef, chef (de cuisine), head chef, or executive chef (along with the specialisms, such as pastry chef). The use of the word has no relevence to cooking qualifications that may, or may not, be held and, indeed, many kitchens are run by folk who hold no diplomas whatsoever and have, simply, learned their craft by starting at the bottom and worked their way up a career ladder.

                If I headed up a professional kitchen, I may well expect the staff to call me "chef", in the same way as, in other walks of life, the boss may be called "sir" or, indeed, "boss". I would not expect to be referred to, outside of work, as Chef Harters but as Mr Harters or John Harters.

                1. re: Harters

                  In the USA, and apparently Canada as well, we have the idea of a 'celebrity chef', created in large part by the the TV business.

                  I never heard of the 'great Canadian chefs' the longcast mentions, but I find online that:
                  "Massimo Capra is a restaurant consultant and celebrity chef"
                  "Lynn Crawford is a Canadian chef, trained at George Brown College in Toronto. She is known for her appearances on the hit Food Network show Restaurant Makeover"
                  "Mark McEwan is a Canadian celebrity chef based in Toronto. He is currently the host of Fine Living Network's The Heat with Mark McEwan..."

                  So the debate isn't whether Blumer has managed a professional kitchen, but where he fits in an imaginary hierarchy of celebrity chefs.

                  1. re: paulj

                    All three of the aforementioned celebrity chefs have headed kitchens and have long rap sheets as Chef/Owner or Executive Chef at various places. Capra currently has Mistura among others, Crawford has been Exec Chef at several Four Seasons outfits in addition to her own places, and McEwan has a mini-empire in Toronto (North 44, Bymark, One, etc.). They're known as TV personalities, but I don't think anyone would question their being called "Chef."

                    1. re: Wahooty

                      Is there another business where we give a special name (out side of work) to managers and owners?

                      1. re: paulj

                        "Counselor" for lawyer? "Doctor" for doctors (including dentists, osteopaths, and vets)? But those people have degrees they earned to get the title. Granted it's very different, but many doctors and lawyers work in solo practices so are, technically, the managers and owners. They typically employ a staff, even if a small one, hence are bosses. A university mathematician friend always calls me "Counselor" when we first run into each other and I call him "Professor" after which we go back to first names.

                        1. re: KailuaGirl

                          I can only think of Doctors or Reverand/Father or military ranks. But none of these are "industrial" in the way of a restaurant kitchen. And, of course, I'm commenting from a British perspective - different countries have different cultures.

            2. Perhaps they should refer to Bob Blumer and a few of the other celebrities on the Food Network who are not trained chefs as "cook" or "amateur chefs". The title of chef is just that, A title. It means you have trained at a culinary institute or have been trained by a professional chef in a restaurant. I'm sure Bob has more passion than many professional chefs and has been around the food industry for many years, but that still doesn't qualify to be called chef. Can a person who loves to take photographs be called a professional photographers because they have taken 1000's of photographs. They are referred to as amateur photographers.

              8 Replies
              1. re: longcast

                This thing about the title chef is silly, it is not like they are going to kill you or have you locked up for 20 years due to malpractice as a chef.... The word chef is just a synonym for cook (as a profession), not some glorified certified specialist. As far as how good someone is, that is for the market to determine. Some amateur home cooks are far superior to many of the "professional" chefs, the title of chef does not indicate how good someone is, just what they do as a profession.....

                1. re: longcast

                  I see what you're getting at, but surely the distinction between "professional" and "amateur" is that one gets paid and the other doesnt?

                  1. re: Harters

                    It's not about being paid. It's simply a title that states you have been professionally trained as a chef. My question is does a person get to call themselves "chef" because they love to cook. I'm sure there are many people on this board that are fantastic cooks, but that doesn't mean they call themselves chefs. People like Guy Fieri and Ina Garten are huge celebrities for The Food Network and have years of culinary experience, yet they will be the first to admit that they are not trained chefs. One wonders whether someone refers to themselves as "chef" as simply ego.

                    1. re: longcast

                      The word use in english is a synonym for cook. The word origins are "chief" or head of kitchen, then head of "area" and so -- on.... not some professional organization, or professional training. It is not brain surgery :o

                      1. re: longcast

                        Have to disagree, longcast. Most dictionary definitions of "amateur" refer to doing something as a pastime or without payment, rather than as someone who is paid.

                        I'd also disagree that, the title of "chef" can only be awarded to someone professionally trained. Unless, of course, that requirement applies whereever you are in the world. Certainly where I am, there is no such requirement (although many chefs will have been to catering college, there's no requirement for them to do so before being employed in a professional kitchen and working their way up the career ladder). By the by, at my local catering college, there are courses at the same level of national qualification for chefs and for serving staff.

                        1. re: Harters

                          Everyone will always have there own definitions as to what the term "chef" is and who qualifies for that tile. So lets go back to the original post and ask the same question which started this discussion. Is Bob Blumer a chef. Yes or no.

                          1. re: longcast

                            I had never heard of Bob Bulmer until this thread and have absolutely no idea whatsoever who he is or what he does, or has done to, to earn his living, so am unable to comment specifically.

                            But I'm happy to repeat my point that, here in Europe, it's a job title of someone working in a professional kitchen. Nothing more and nothing less. Other cultures may have different definitions, as you point out.

                            1. re: longcast

                              Yes. He cooks for a profession, location not important. He might be the Jerry Springer of chefs..... and he personally would not be high on my list.... and definitely not if it cost money.... but then my "chefs" make great food for me at a measly $1.00 - $1.50 per meal.... so competition is fierce.

                    2. I knew a 'chef' who graduated from an accredited culinary school. He insisted on being called 'Chef' everywhere he went.....even by the guys who changed his tires at the tire store. LOL
                      My criteria for who I enjoy watching on the 'cooking shows' is: Would I like to spend an evening with this person? Sorry but a little of 'BB' goes a LONG way. AB or MM or KF for sure. BF no way. LOL

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Puffin3

                        I guess that's just evidence that gaining a qualification doesnt stop you being a complete arsewipe.

                      2. Now doing the cruise line circuit promoting himself as celebrity chef.

                        1. There are many ways in which one becomes a legitimate chef and Bob Blumer has done none of those things. The fact that he promotes himself as a real chef is ridiculous. The only place where his credentials are correct is the Second harvest Food Bank which lists him as a TV personality, cookbook author and illustrator. I think that's all he really is.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: michslomn

                            Close your eyes and imaging 'Bob' walking into ANY decent busy restaurant kitchen in the world. "Good morning everyone. Are you all ready for today's service"?
                            Everyone in the kitchen smartly replies: "YES CHEF!"
                            Ya right.
                            'Bob got his title 'Chef' from the same Cracker Jack box as Irvine got his knighthood.

                            1. re: Puffin3

                              It's curious that while this thread worries about whether one TV personality deserves a title like 'chef', another thread


                              worries about the hair style of a successful cooking instructor (in her own business and on TV).

                              1. re: paulj

                                In most circumstances probably not a big deal to give yourself a title, but I think when you are telling the general public one thing and charging for admission isn't that a lie. A book keeper cant refer to themselves as an account nor could a para-legal sell themselves as a lawyer.

                                1. re: michslomn

                                  Are people paying to see a real restaurant manager, or a guy who travels in a toaster and cooks salmon in a dishwasher? Just because someone is a real chef it does mean not he's a
                                  n entertaining speaker.

                                  1. re: paulj

                                    You are probably correct in that most people who are paying to see Bob Blumer are going to see the guy who drove a toaster cook. The problem with the word "chef" is that it is now used in reference to anyone who cooks on TV or writes cookbooks.

                                    1. re: michslomn

                                      Whose problem is that? Who is being harmed by a freer use of the term 'chef'?

                                      I don't think an investor is going to confuse 'chef' R Ray with Chef M Bitalli. An employer isn't going to confuse a cookbook author with an experienced chef de cuisine. The phenomenon of the celebrity chef might actually enhance the status (in the eyes of the public) of someone qualified to wear a 100 fold toque.