Memo to Chefs: Enough is Enough

The following are soooo five minutes ago:

– Swipes of sauce

– Schmears of sauce

– Dots of sauce

– Squeeze-bottles of sauce

– Under-sauced everything

– Artfully sauced anything

– “Gastrique” anywhere

– Any phrase for a sauce that doesn’t include the word “sauce”

– Any plate of food that comes with twee little cups of something or other on it to sip or slurp or confuse you (see above)

– Fifteen course tasting menus

– Fifty course tasting menus

– Ten course tasting menus

– Tasting menus in general

– Kissing Ferran Adrià‘s ass

– Cartwheels on the plate

– Pirouettes on the plate

– Double axels on the plate

Grand Jetés  a la Don Quixote on the plate

– Any unidentifiable dot of any liquid anywhere

– Sprinkles of anything and everything

– Sous-vide

– Molecular cuisine

– Nordic cuisine (as if!)

– Celebrity chef cuisine

– Calling anyone a “celebrity chef” who isn’t one (E.g., Anthony Bourdain is not a “celebrity chef,” he was a hack cook who wrote a book and lucked into a TV career. No one ever went out of their way to eat in an Anthony Bourdain restaurant.)

– Waitrons who tell you their first name (unless they’re trying to pick you up, or vice versa)

– Waitrons who ask “is everything delicious” six seconds after the entrees are delivered

– Salmon

– Celebrity chef cookbooks

– The Food Network

– Any vegetable du jour

– Gussied up American food (we get it – your mac n’ cheese beats all others)

– Tapas

– Mile high burgers

– Mini burgers

– Burgermania

– Anything and everything to do with f*cking hamburgers

– Bespoke cocktails

– Bespoke wine lists

– Bespoke vegetables

– Bespoke anything not haberdashery-related

– Garnishes with more ingredients than a Game of Thrones episode

– Competition cooking shows

– Pizza….anywhere but a dedicated pizzeria

– Florid menu descriptions that introduce you to your food like you’re meeting a crown prince or something

– Minimalist menu descriptions like “beef, chard, smoked salt”

Gluten-free everything

15 thoughts on “Memo to Chefs: Enough is Enough

  1. Sounds a bit like Mr. Curtas doesn’t like that people pay more attention to Bourdain than him.

  2. “John on February 8, 2015 at 2:30 pm
    Sounds a bit like Mr. Curtas doesn’t like that people pay more attention to Bourdain than him.”
    its exacly what it sounds like lmfao

  3. ELV responds: Au contraire mes amis. We are honored that you think enough of our status to include us in the same sentence as Anthony “Fuck Nuts” Bourdain.

  4. God, I hate those competition shows on the Food Network. Enough Already! Reminds me of how MTV switched from playing music videos to doing full time “reality” shows.

  5. Aren’t Pierre Gagnaire and Jose Andres leaders of molecular cuisine? I thought ELV gave them favorable reviews here in Vegas? Don’t the other two major French chefs here in Vegas (Joel and Guy) incorporate some molecular techniques? (Now, I will agree that it’s annoying that 98% who try to do it suck, and don’t understand the fundamentals of cooking.)

    At least Anthony Bourdain has never called himself a celebrity chef, or even a “Chef.” He’s referred himself to a trained cook.

    On Nordic cuisine, I’m s little confused by this. Sourcing locally and from old techniques/recipes is bad?

    On things like tasting menus, “sauces,” and bespoke “whatever,” I can agree.

  6. I for one made it a point to eat at Les Halles (Bourdain’s old joint), of course after he went out on his own.

  7. Great column! Agree with all remarks except the one about salmon – maybe 5 minutes ago to you, I still love it and order it often! So true about the sauce spots, blobs and swipes across the plate! Seriously! And “bespoke,” really? Are we Saville Row now? Speaking of “bespoke,” how about the “handcrafted” cocktail, hamburger, et. al.

  8. What an absolute idiot! Sounds like someone who likes to eat at applebees or other chain restaurants

  9. …Gagnaire hardly implements ‘mg’ in his kitchen, certainly not a ‘father.’

    Several good points above, several terrible. Longstyle tasting menus are here to stay and a great benefit to both chef and diner.

    Comments about waiters/waitresses are well stated, particularly in Vegas…

    …and screw salmon, burgers, and mac n’ cheese (but taking into account the later, please stop kissing up to Carson Kitchen. ;-) )

  10. “Gagnaire hardly implements ‘mg’ in his kitchen, certainly not a ‘father.’ ”

    Uh—he worked/works with “father” of MG, Herve This. Pierre might not go to the edges like other MG restaurants/chef, but his cooking is certainly influenced by MG techniques.

    Still doesn’t answer my reference to Jose Andres, though.

  11. ELV responds: The whole “it looks like a fava bean and tastes like a fava bean but it isn’t a fava bean it’s the essence of a fava bean congealed into the shape of a fava bean” thing is so tired and played out it is not even worth talking about anymore. Adria has retired and the whole kids-in-a-chemistry-class-cooking hasn’t influenced anything but the ability of Jose Andres to become a big shot on the world food stage. (Bully for him!)

    No one is even doing (or discussing) foams anymore. (Bully for diners!) The fact that we admire him and his restaurants (as well as Gagnaire – who IS a father of molecular cuisine as much as Ferran), in no way detracts from our distaste for the whole, overblown fad.

    Tweezer food is on the wane (if not dead already) and those who love it (I’m talking to you Steve McL. and Michael U.) are like modern art acolytes who love seeing envelopes pushed and perceptions challenged. There will always be a place for avant garde cuisine, but the days of ohhhing and ahhing over 20 teeny tiny plates of artfully “composed” dishes are deader than Woodrow Wilson.

  12. Thanks for the response, ELV. Andres and Pierre still respect the tastes of their products and foundations of simple cooking; they know how do it right. The 20 teeny tiny plates of “Art” are ready for a burial.

    I agree on foams, they stink.

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