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Jul 27, 2013 10:44 PM

Is Food Network creating a generation of entitled chefs?

An article in The Globe and Mail this week claims that the Food Network is responsible for a glut of chefs who aren't willing to work the usual hours and apprenticeship. Do you agree?

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  1. It's not just chef jobs.....the entitlement is rampant in all jobs.

    2 Replies
    1. re: LaLa

      I agree. Who are these people thinking they should be able to earn a decent living?

      1. re: LaLa

        I agree...

        With regards to work as a chef though it does seem like a lot of effort for little payoff. And if someone has the resources to jump the "typical" training/etc that used to happen with chefs and open up a food truck or do pop-ups that are profitable then why not.

        However, I do think that in my own local market the food truck scene will only have the "strong survive" at some point as there is a lot of bad/over priced food in it (especially based on my recent experience this weekend).

      2. Not really. But I would say the Food Network (AND Cooking Channel) are solely and entirely guilty of smearing and decaying the definitions of "chef" and "cook " Both channels feature "chefs" of fast food take-out, street vendors, and the like. They seriously blur the line between classically trained (culinary school or apprenticeship to and training from Michelin starred chefs) and "The Pretenders."

        And now they have bona fide chefs jumping out of airplanes prior to plying their bona fide chefly cooking talents? I don't know why these true chefs don't have the balls to draw the line and tell these "reality" show producers to go take a flying leap!

        Can you imagine Julia sky diving into a kitchen to whip up a coq au vin? LOL! And where are the Pepins and Balluds and Riperts??? Huh??? Answer me that!

        These channels are culinary brainwashers! :-)

        9 Replies
        1. re: Caroline1

          *L* Julia in her prime might have taken the jump, not to promote anything but for a new experience :)

          1. re: 51rich

            True. But I don't know for sure that she never parachuted from a plane. Who knows for certain what all she did or did not do in her years with the CIA? And THERE is a bunch of scamps, if ever there was one! '-)

            1. re: Caroline1

              There are parachutes sized for motorized equipment landings, also.

          2. re: Caroline1

            Couldn't agree more, C1. I stopped watching ALL cooking shows when Batali left the air.

            1. re: Caroline1

              Really!!!!! If Sandra Lee is a chef then I am...... well I don't know what but on what planet are she, Rachel, Guy - chefs?

              1. re: wincountrygirl

                Rachael has never claimed to be a chef. She's been pretty clear that she does not consider herself one.

                  1. re: JonParker

                    Very true about RR.
                    Sandra Lee is called a "host" and an "expert in all things kitchen and home" in her FN bio. It never once mentions the word chef.


              2. I agree with LaLa, entitlement grows in all aspects of life, not (just) the culinary sector. However, I do have to comment on comments regarding the Top Chef aspect of the article: For anyone who's participated in the competition there is no illusion that anyone who's made it anywhere close to the end of the contest didn't pay their dues earlier on in their career before getting on the program.

                Culinary school students, recent grads and apprentices (and people of similar level of experience) have all been chewed up and spat out of the show fairly quickly. Even the winners that have generally been considered "weaker" (let's say for the sake of argument Ilan and Hosea, based on what I've read here) have worked a number of years and racked up a half-credible resume of work experience.

                On the other hand, I think those of us in the industry should continue our best to support the cooks and chefs who work hard to produce good food despite the slim margins in being supporting and good mentors and in paying them as much as possible (without making the restaurant go out of business, of course). I value work ethic and ability and try to reward accordingly

                1. I have no idea how much time and effort these people have put into there careers, so I cannot judge. We only get a skewed glimpse of who they really are from a half-hour TV show.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: ttoommyy

                    In many ways it is no different than kids who aspire to be professional athletes or musicians. They do not appreciate the amount of time necessary that has to be put into it to become a great chef, nor the value of the process of learning and the amount of practice necessary. TV has just shown spotlight on another profession and made it glamorous thus attracting young people to it.

                    1. re: cwdonald

                      That's a good analogy. There are 100,000 young golfers with a 2 handicap and pro aspirations, but about 200 making a good living at it.

                  2. It's not that simple. The big part TV played is in selling the delusion that professional cooking is a creative endeavor, maybe even glamorous. Which drove a lot delusional of people into the field.

                    You could put about as much blame on the cooking schools. With 50k+ in student debt and $8/hr after graduation, seeking raises and promotions isn't a matter of entitlement, but survival.

                    Even though a lot of people entering the field have unrealistic expectations, the rise of food trucks and internet-based self help has made it a little easier for ambitious and newly disillusioned people stuck in low wage food industry jobs to find quicker routes to self-employment in the industry.

                    And most of all...
                    I'm not an industry insider, but this is what I suspect is going on: industry veterans are finding it hard to get good, stable, low-wage help, and are blaming TV and an 'entitled' generation for what is really a shift in the basic business structure of American restaurants. Consumer interest in large, stuffy, big-menu restaurants has leveled out or maybe even dropped while interest in smaller, more casual operations has boomed, siphoning off a lot of the younger work force that used to do the drudge work in big restaurants. More and more people are no longer going to restaurants only on special occasions, but as a major source for their meals... and that supports a different restaurant industry than the one veterans grew up in.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: cowboyardee

                      You make a good point. To be honest, I'm tempted to become violent every time I hear someone call people stuck at the bottom of the wage heap "entitled." It's not just restaurants -- America is becoming a third world nation of slaves to low wage, low benefit jobs.

                      1. re: JonParker

                        I agree. In the article some of the chefs seemed to be complaining that employees weren't willing to put in 10-15 years working for low pay, and wanted to go open their own restaurants in "only" 4-5 years. Well hell yes, if they think they can be successful, why not? If they're not successful, it hurts them, not really the chef they left. There seemed to be an element of hazing, that "back in the day, I walked uphill both directions to school in blizzards".

                        1. re: JonParker

                          Cowboy, you must be an intellectual carpenter because you 've hit the nail on the head! And to add insult to injury, Corporate America is "outsourcing" many of those low wage jobs overseas, At least they can't outsource jobs at McDonald's and Taco Bell, but those places don't pay a wage that helps pay back student loans for culinary school or any other post-secondary education!

                          Is there anyone in government who can think rationally when it comes to cutting best benefits to corporations and not even crumbs for the workers on whose backs they ride???? We live in very scary times.

                          1. re: JonParker

                            I'm not a restaurant worker but my understanding was that the bar has always been set pretty low as far as employee treatment. I wish I could remember what tv chef said that cooking was "where you went after you left the military before you went to prison" but it seems that restaurant work has largely depended on disposable desperate people.

                            Also undocumented workers, over a million of whom have been deported from the US over the last few years at an unprecedented rate; they may not want to talk about it but I'm sure the restaurant business is suffering from that loss as well.

                            Who is taking their place? People who lost their careers in the crash and are looking to start over, or who (as the article suggests) want to get some ground-floor experience in before they open their cupcake truck. People who are still otherwise employable, and who might bristle at working 16 hour days in 120 F kitchens for minimum wage. They have options, and unfortunately it seems "having options" sounds like entitlement to some employers.