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

Kazakstan’s U20 team takes 4-3 win over Langley university squad

Thursday night’s game is one of four the visitors are playing at the Langley Events Centre.

Langley Advance What’s On: Dec. 13, 2018 edition

Submit Langley events: or (subject: What’s On).

Cloverdale’s annual winter ice palace to open Dec. 21

Cloverdale Arena’s 21st-annual ice palace will open on Dec. 21

WHAT’S IN STORE: Producers getting into the holiday spirit

In business happenings, learn about Christmas efforts by two local wineries and a sausage producer.

VIDEO: Langley realtor builds holiday party for kids

Realtor Matthew Rufh hosted a gingerbread house-building party for the Langley Boys and Girls Club.

Tommy Chong says Canada took wrong approach to pot legalization

He also talked about the likelihood of another Cheech and Chong film

Fashion Fridays: How to change your beauty routine

Kim XO, lets you in on her style secrets each Fashion Friday on the Black Press Media Network

‘Both things are true:’ Science, Indigenous wisdom seek common ground

Reconciliation between Canada and First Nations is playing out not only in legislatures and courtrooms but in labs across the country

B.C. to move salmon farms out of coastal migration route

Broughton Archipelago plan set to start in spring of 2019

High winds force several BC Ferries sailing cancellations

Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay, Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay, and Duke Point to Tsawwassen among closures

Facebook reveals bug gave apps unauthorized access to 6.8 million users’ photos

It’s believed up to 1,500 apps built by 876 developers had access to Facebook Stories, private photos

Lower-than-expected parcel volumes helping cut into backlog, says Canada Post

The Crown corporation says that’s largely because it is taking in fewer holiday parcels than expected

Trapped B.C. crash survivor celebrates second chance at life

“Life is good now. It’s good to be alive.”

Vancouver police make arrest in hit and run that killed skateboarder

Charges stem from a two-year investigation into the April 17 death of 30-year-old Ryan Barron

Most Read