Chef Dez: Foodies don’t have to be so serious or pretentious

One of the aspects of the food and wine industry that I have realized over the years of my career as a chef is that people can be so serious.

Yes, I take pride in what I do and I think that the role I play in the industry has an impact on people’s lives. But, why am I expected to have a heavy-weighted approach in discussions regarding food and drink?

Many of you probably agree that there are numerous people in the food industry, who we may label as foodies, who come across as pompous or event pretentious.

This is perhaps why it is presumably expected for others to be the same way.

Don’t get me wrong – I believe it is a wonderful thing when someone loves what they do, even to the point where their lives are utterly consumed with related passion, but why must we take such a rigid approach?

Yes, there are rules in cooking, and many are steadfast. But, I am talking more about the areas where approaches are not as strict and could very easily be bent based on personal preferences and taste.

For example, I am sure that you have heard the statement that “medium-rare” is the optimal doneness for cooking a beef steak… but what happens when someone likes their steak more well done?

Or when a person does not like their pasta cooked al dente (Italian for “to the tooth” meaning not to overcook; it should have some firmness)? Is it our role as chefs to tell that person that they are wrong?

Or when someone enjoys a Riesling wine paired with their meal when a sommelier believes that is completely incorrect and only an oily Viognier is the way to go.

Or should condemnation be delivered to one who enjoys ice in their single malt scotch? Where is the line where the steadfast rules and training stop and where personal taste and preferences start?

Where that line is and the boldness of that line, varies in many circumstances. But, it does exist, and I believe as an industry expert that it cannot be ignored, or overruled, just for the sole reason that we are professionally trained.

I remember working with a chef in my training days who told me: “An individual of the general public has personal preference and taste buds that cannot be ignored. We must not only learn from them, but also learn to accept their perspectives as a part of our ongoing training and fine-tuning of our careers as chefs. Everyone has an opinion and is a unique individual and should be respected as such.”

Wise words, well said that I have shaped my career around.

I am a fully certified Red Seal chef, but to me my trades paper is just that: paper.

I see myself more as a chef for the home cook. A chef for the majority of the households filled with all classes of people, with or without families, who are looking for great meals that are not constructed from obscure ingredients. Meals that are not paired with unfamiliar varieties of wine.

If you love food and love to cook, regardless of whether you are professionally trained or not, you are a chef in my eyes.

Does that mean I don’t respect, appreciate or value my certification as a chef, or other professionals in the industry? Of course not.

It means that I can find importance with what we have and at the same time be open enough to appreciate and respect others and their opinions.

Opinions are like taste buds – everybody has them.

So in closing, in what I hope does not seem like a rant, I welcome you with open arms to share your food experiences with me.

No guard must be erected.

Let us talk, taste, discuss, sip, and share passion for the nurturement that keeps us alive and keeps our lives exciting and fulfilling.

Let us eat, drink, and be merry.

Until next time… Cheers, Dez.



Just Posted

DW Poppy Sr. boys basketball defeats ACSS Totems rivals

DW Poppy’s Sr. boys RedHawks defeated ACSS Totems this Friday in a high-stakes basketball match.

VIDEO: All ages participate in Langley Hospice Historic Half marathon

Turnout was down, slightly, this year but donations are up

LETTER: Langley man says Wilson-Raybould deserves Canadians’ respect

A letter writer said the former federal justice minister is one of a rare class of politicians.

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants blank Rockets

Langley-based G-men take over top spot in the west

Langley Township goes high tech to spotlight local history

To mark the start of History Week, the Township has put out a new app all about the community.

VIDEO: Langley hosting high-flying fun at annual gymnastics tournament

Action runs Friday through Sunday at the Langley Events Centre fieldhouse.

B.C. athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Pedestrian in serious condition after hit by car downtown Abbotsford

A youth was also hit, suffered minor injuries, police say

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

The can’t decide the pipeline’s fate until a new round of consultations with Indigenous communities

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

Most Read