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Jun 5, 2012 04:21 PM

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 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.