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What Chef/Critic Would You Love to Cook For? And Whom Would You Rather Not?

mamachef Jul 2, 2012 05:17 PM

This is not meant to create a love/hate discussion about any particular chef (celebrity or otherwise). I'm just curious: given the opportunity to choose one chef or critic to prepare food for, who would it be? And who would you be scared of or intimidated by?
For myself? I'd REALLY love to have had the chance to cook for M.F.K. Fisher. I think she was a grand lady, and I loved her food sensibilities - a lot of my own were informed by her writings and philosophies. I would keep it soooo simple...the very freshest vegetables in their perfectly-cooked state; some amazing fish or fowl with herbs; fresh breads; tarts. I think she'd love it and I know I'd love the opportunity to feed her. Conversely though, one person I would rather carve my eyes out than cook for is Morimoto, re: the complete knee-buckling intimidation factor. I'm sure he's the nicest fella ever, but dammit, that's one place I know positively I could never measure up, and I DON'T have a self-confidence problem. :) And the chef I'd pull a complete dorkus on would be Hubert Keller, for reasons which are well known here. If my Hubert was the platin' kinda chef, I'd be having plates hurled at me with amazing regularity due to my inability to do anything but stare at him and fantasize about a chateau in the South of France.

  1. Bill Hunt Jul 3, 2012 09:20 PM

    Cook for:

    Thomas Keller
    Daniel Boulud
    John Besh
    Eric Rippert
    Joseph Lenn

    Chef's that I would not want to cook for:
    Any on the Food Channel

    Hunt

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bill Hunt
      mamachef Jul 4, 2012 10:04 AM

      And that is why? Please tell!

    2. mamachef Jul 3, 2012 01:49 PM

      Let me try to clarify my meaning: when I said, "cook for," I basically meant cooking for as in a guest, in my home, or in a restaurant but NOT as that chef's employee, necessarily. So, whichever way one interprets my meaning, either way's just dandy. Legalism need not apply :)

      1. gaffk Jul 3, 2012 12:51 PM

        What a great topic! as long as we can switch it from "for" to "with" I'll play (I'd be too intimidated to cook for any of them). Definitely Hubert Keller and Eric Ripert as they strike me as being patient and wouldn't yell at me too much as I fumbled through my portion of the menu. Plus Hubert has a pastry background as well, and I love a good dessert. But yeah, I'd probably just zone out while watching them cook engaging in impossible fantasy ;)

        I'd also like to cook with Tom Collichio. Not sure how patient he'd be, but I watched him cook at a food festival a few years back and everything was very simple and clean. And it smelled and tasted divine.

        My final one would be a local chef, Mark Vetri, who makes the most amazing Italian food of all types at his four restaurants in Philly.

        Oh, I thought of another. I'd love cook with Rick Bayliss and learn some Mexican classics.

        I would not want tp cook with Bourdain (just don't care for the man) and I wouldn't even count Paula Dean as a chef.

        1 Reply
        1. re: gaffk
          mamachef Jul 3, 2012 01:52 PM

          Me too on Bayless and Vetri.
          For Bourdain: don't love the personality, but I'd cook side-by-side just to observe his grasp of techniques and classics, and try to let the shnark pass as annoying background music. :)

        2. k
          kengk Jul 3, 2012 07:24 AM

          Cook for, Jeffrey Steingarten

          4 Replies
          1. re: kengk
            mamachef Jul 3, 2012 07:28 AM

            Now that's different, kengk. May I ask why?

            1. re: mamachef
              k
              kengk Jul 3, 2012 07:35 AM

              I liked his books and enjoy his commentary on Iron Chef. If he is not one of the judges I typically change the channel before the judging.

              I figure I could learn something from his critique. He might spit my best effort into his napkin!

              1. re: kengk
                mamachef Jul 3, 2012 07:49 AM

                OTOH, he might just kick down the high praise!!
                I enjoyed his books as well. And your thoughtful answer.

                1. re: kengk
                  c
                  chefathome Jul 3, 2012 03:55 PM

                  Man, I love his books. They are brilliant and so humorous. When I read them I laugh out loud! He would be so great to cook for and with. Good call.

            2. Tripeler Jul 3, 2012 06:36 AM

              Mamachef,
              What a great idea for a post, and your initial descriptions are wonderful. This thread will certainly go long because the concept is truly rich for possibilities. I don't really cook much, so have never thought who I'd like to inflict my food upon.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Tripeler
                mamachef Jul 3, 2012 07:19 AM

                Tripeler, thanks!! I was watching something.....have no idea what, but this idea came to mind and it seemed so fun to pursue. As far as you "inflicting" your cooking? I'd happily eat your food, and then do dishes.

                1. re: Tripeler
                  mamachef Jul 3, 2012 07:20 AM

                  wanker, it's a boxing match I'd love to watch too. Would they serve beer and popcorn, though?

                2. w
                  wanker Jul 2, 2012 09:19 PM

                  Paula Dean and Anthony Bourdain. When the inevitable fight broke out, I'd sit back and watch with Christopher Kimball.

                  1. a
                    ahuva Jul 2, 2012 07:54 PM

                    can i change for to with? 'cause I would love to cook with eric ripert but would never want to cook with - or for, for that matter - gordon ramsey.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: ahuva
                      mamachef Jul 2, 2012 09:11 PM

                      Yes, acceptable substitution!! Hey, Ripert's a doll. I can think of a few things I'd like to play at with him, and one would involve cooking too. :)

                      1. re: ahuva
                        mamachef Jul 2, 2012 09:16 PM

                        Ahuva, is that because of his shticky shrieking, or something else? His food style? Just wondering.

                      2. a
                        AnneMarieDear Jul 2, 2012 05:59 PM

                        I.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: AnneMarieDear
                          cayjohan Jul 2, 2012 07:32 PM

                          I, too, would love to cook for Jacques Pepin. I like the way he cooks, and I think he might approve of the way I cook. Cripes, we always joke here that Mr. Pepin would be my ultimate favorite uncle. I affect his charming verbal mannerisms in my head when I talk to myself while cooking. Oddly, he would not intimidate me at all, either. What a nice testament, really, to how he presents to his audience.

                          Everyone else would scare the cr@p out of me, honestly. My own family scares me sometimes. <grin>

                          1. re: cayjohan
                            mamachef Jul 2, 2012 09:13 PM

                            I love the warmth he projects, and that familial feeling. More than that, I love that you affect his mannerisms in your head. I've been known to channel Julia's trills in my mind during a kitchen shift or two, myself. "Oooooh, we're making love-ly riiiich chiiiiiicken stock! hoohoohoo!"

                        2. tcamp Jul 2, 2012 05:36 PM

                          Can I alter the rules slightly? How about "chefs I'd like to cook with?" I think I'd be paralyzed by the idea of "cooking for" any food professional. That said, I'd enjoy cooking with David Tanis (he might be an asshole but I love his approach to food), Jamie Oliver (a food sprint!), or Lydia Bastianich (she reminds me of my mom). Would not want to cook for or with Ramsey, Sandra Lee, or Paula Deen. NMS.

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: tcamp
                            mamachef Jul 2, 2012 05:51 PM

                            Sure, that's a good and very small twist, I think. I'm curious about David Tanis. I LOVE his food and have eaten it many times. My question comes in, though: why not Alice Waters, since she's basically his mentor re: POV? I'm genuinely curious; not argumentative.

                            Funny: I had the same reaction about Paula Deen, and it isn't because I don't find her charming. I even eat some things she'd probably make, though I don't really watch her shows much. I just...I wouldn't have an interest, I guess. I like the Lidia choice. But her son's one I'd really really rather drink a gasoline cocktail than have him critique my food.

                            1. re: mamachef
                              tcamp Jul 2, 2012 06:00 PM

                              I know Alice can cook but I see her more as the marketeer, the consumate front of the house type. She might be more fun to eat with, or shop with, but I perceive (based on nothing but reading his books) that Tanis likes to roll up his sleeves and get busy cooking, rather than rhapsodizing about the fresh and local fare.

                            2. re: tcamp
                              c
                              chefathome Jul 2, 2012 05:53 PM

                              Wow - this is almost exactly my response, including the "chefs I'd like to cook with" comment. Jamie Oliver would be fun to cook with and not intimidating. Nigella would be great, as well. We could sneak to the fridge later to finish up the leftovers!

                              Would love to watch scientific minds at work such as Heston Blumenthal and Grant Achatz. Highly admire Hubert Keller, Eric Ripert and Thomas Keller's skills so would enjoy cooking with them as well. David Rocco (Canadian) would be fun, too.

                              Would never cook with or for Ramsay, Sandra Lee, Paula Deen, Rachael Ray or Giada de Laurentis.

                              1. re: chefathome
                                tcamp Jul 2, 2012 05:57 PM

                                I forgot Nigella! Totally the one I'd want to do a "girls night in" with!

                                1. re: tcamp
                                  c
                                  chefathome Jul 2, 2012 05:59 PM

                                  I think that would be a blast.

                                  1. re: chefathome
                                    mamachef Jul 2, 2012 06:25 PM

                                    I'm in.

                                    1. re: mamachef
                                      c
                                      chefathome Jul 2, 2012 06:55 PM

                                      Let's do it!

                                2. re: chefathome
                                  Emme Jul 2, 2012 07:26 PM

                                  my cook *withs* in the US are definitely Blumenthal and Achatz.

                                  still thinking about my cook *with* pastry/cake list... for sugar work, ewald notter for sure.

                                  i don't think there's anyone i would want to cook *for...*

                                  1. re: Emme
                                    mamachef Jul 2, 2012 09:15 PM

                                    I admire Achatz' brilliance and innovation. Interesting that this brought you to pastry; I never even thought of that - but I guess mine would be Pinchet Ong for newer creations, Lindsay Shere for classic/rustic. And Mary Canales for Ice cream and gelatos.

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