cast of characters
Just recently, chefs have transitioned from innovators to instructors. Blue-collar cooks are now white knight advocates. As chefs continue to step out of the kitchens and into the spotlight, how will their public personas evolve?
With the power they wield, chefs take on new roles to address more than just people’s appetites
In the future, chefs will need to be equal parts story teller and technical
Since the emergence of modern restaurants over 100 years ago, the role of the chef has not changed. Traditionally regarded as cooks and creators, for the most part they toiled behind the scenes, entirely comfortable in their anonymity. Today, however, successful chefs are entrepreneurs, social activists, and budding scientists.
Like engineers, doctors, and teachers, chefs can make a positive impact on society. After all, the ability to feed people and identify healthy food sources remains a global issue. Increasingly, chefs are combining their collective talents to challenge the ways we eat and cook. Beyond mastering technical skills, the chefs of tomorrow need to understand farming methods and design trends, and to be prepared to mentor outside the kitchen and adapt to changing technologies.
The MAD Symposium and global cooking events such as The Gelinaz Shuffle are creating communities of like- minded culinary thinkers, or philochefers, who share ideas on the ever- evolving role of the chef. These movements are creating a new generation of chefs who, although coming from diverse backgrounds, share a mission to change the way we cook and eat.
Pierre Hermé, the great French pastry chef, is heralded as “the Picasso of Pastry.” The New York Times compares Ferran Adrià to Salvador Dalí. Vicky Lau, Asia’s Best Female Chef 2015, was a graphic designer before entering the kitchen. Frédéric Peneau, chef- restaurateur behind Hong Kong’s Serge et le phoque, is a former architect.
Future chefs are no longer simply cooks working in restaurants; they are artisans, designers or visual artists operating in ‘studios,’ ‘ labs,’ and ‘ateliers.’
Ukraine’s Dinara Kasko, a former architectural designer- turned- pastry chef, uses design software and 3D printing to mold pastry structures that replace manual cooking techniques. Coolhaus, the Los Angeles- based ‘architecturally inspired’ brand of gourmet desserts, was co- founded by Freya Estreller and Natasha Case, a former real estate developer and designer, respectively. After losing their jobs in the economic downturn, they bought a food truck and introduced their brand of “Farchitecture,” a combination of food