Top 5 Modern Chefs and What They Can Teach You
1. Mario Batali. There are several interesting things to know about the career of this famous chef. For starters, he never completed culinary school (he began at Le Cordon Bleu in London, but dropped out). Then there’s the fact that he somehow snagged an apprenticeship with famed London chef Marco Pierre White, only to disappear for three years to train in a small Italian village before returning to the U.S. Finally, there’s his stewardship of not one, but several highly-rated and award-winning restaurants (not the least of which is New York standard Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca) that rely not on flashy gimmicks and quirky fusion trends to draw a crowd, but rather on hospitality and the simplicity of exquisite flavors to ensure return customers. His career has not been traditional by any means, which only goes to show that many paths may lead to success in the world of culinary mastery.
2. Gordon Ramsey. This chef may be best known for his notorious temper and his intolerance for sluggish, sloppy, or ignorant kitchen help. But before he let it all hang out on Hell’s Kitchen, he made a name for himself by working under some culinary legends (including Marco Pierre White, Guy Savoy, and Joel Robuchon) before he became the head chef of Aubergine, a highly recognized and successful restaurant. From there he became a household name after publishing books, opening more restaurants, and demonically training would-be chefs on one of several TV shows. While his demeanor is nothing to aspire to, there is a lot to be said for his dedication to perfection and his dogged desire to be the best at what he does.
3. Rachel Ray. This petite chef’s claim to fame is her simple techniques and recipes used to create delicious meals in less than thirty minutes. She has somehow managed to turn an otherwise unassuming concept in cooking into a full-blown career that includes cookbooks, a magazine, product endorsements (Nabisco, Dunkin’ Donuts), and even a syndicated “talk and lifestyle” TV show that centers on her cooking. Being cute and spouting clever catchphrases (“Oh my gravy!”) does not a master chef make, but Rachel Ray has managed to segue her personality into a lucrative career as a professional chef.
4. Bobby Flay. Another person who relies heavily on his loud personality to garner attention, Flay is also a stellar and inventive chef. His strengths lie in southwestern cuisine, but that hasn’t stopped him from competing on such televised challenges as Iron Chef and Throwdown! with Bobby Flay (just two of the seven shows he has been featured on). He also owns ten restaurants. And while he went the traditional route by graduating from the French Culinary Institute, he turned down an opportunity to become an executive chef early in his career because he felt he wasn’t ready. As chefs go, he is one of the few who relied on perseverance and training to build his career from the ground up and become the best chef he could be.
5. Masaharu Morimoto. Although he gained worldwide recognition as the somewhat retiring Iron Chef Japanese on the original Iron Chef (a role he reprised for Iron Chef America) Morimoto traveled widely, worked at and opened several restaurants (from Malibu’s famous Nobu to his own Morimoto in Philadelphia), and turned his innovative spirit and love of fusion cooking into an empire. Not to mention his alliance with Rogue Ales of Newport, Oregon, with whom he has created a line of specialty beers. His career has been one of experimentation and sampling of foods from different cultures. And his subsequently unique creations have made him a standout chef.