The problem with American restaurants is that there are too many chefs and not enough cooks. Ever since the Food Network went on the air, people started paying too much attention to people with large white toques who like to mess around with food, forming little towers of quinoa with raspberry sauce and maybe a small amount of meat or fish. The less the foods appear to go together, the more renown the chef is likely to earn for his or her daring.
It’s become an epidemic. The tutsi-fruitsie is king. The ice tea is contaminated with passion fruit or other petrochemical waste. Side dishes avoid the usual rice or potatoes and provide instead broccolini with mashed yeast and ground Murano glass and Galena lead pellets.
Whenever I see some Culinary Institute of America (CIA) chef wearing a towering white toque, I know I’m in for a pretentious soaking. On the other hand, when I see what Hungarians call a szakács or szakácsnő (cook, masculine or feminine gender respectively), I know I am likely to have an excellent meal. There must be no toque or other sartorial trimmings. I want a good, honest cook who knows how to prepare food. And no little towers!
As for the Food Network, I hope they switch over to running “Antiques Roadshow” or “Pawn Stars.” Or maybe they can talk about Kim Kardashian or some other celebrity twinkie. They certainly have not done anything to improve the quality of food in this country.