5 Frequently Asked Chef Questions

Written By Scott Joseph On August 4, 2011

I saw this article on Eatocracy, a section of CNN’s website, and had to share it with you. It’s the five supposedly most frequently asked questions that chefs hear — and that they wish people would stop asking. At least these are the questions that Ryan Butler, the executive pastry chef at Mary Queen of Scots in New York, says he’s asked most often.

The number one question, he says, is “Are you any good?” I have a hard time believing that chefs get asked that question at all, let alone frequently. Have you ever asked that of a chef? Chefs, do your guests really ask you that?

Another question that Butler says he hates to be asked is “What is your favorite thing to make?” Really? It bugs you that people ask that? I think it’s an interesting question. And I think Butler’s answer — pancakes — proves it. Would you have guessed that of a pastry chef?

I find it easier to believe that chefs get asked the last question most frequently: “Can I have the ice cream that goes with the chocolate dessert on the caramel dessert instead?” Although I’m pretty sure they don’t ask it using those precise words. Butler’s response is “This isn’t a diner,” which we’re led to believe means that he isn’t a pastry equivalent of a short-order cook. Yes, we know you’ve thought out your ingredients and your pairings carefully, and you’d like each guest to taste that brilliance. Some people don’t get that, and I agree that it is an affront to the chef’s skills and expertise to try to re-orchestrate the meal. But come on, a scoop of ice cream? Ultimately, your job is to make the guest happy and satisfied, at least to the best of your abilities to do so.

So I have a question I’d like to ask Butler: Are you really that much of a jerk or did the editors of Eatocracy just make you look like one?

Chefs, I’d love to hear you weigh in on the topic.


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