Jacques Pepin: A Good Kitchen Is ‘Not Exciting or Dramatic Enough for TV
You’re confused. We know. Because you saw “Jacques Pepin” in the headline and “Smackdowns” as the category. The overlap there seems unlikely. But Jacques Pepin took competitive cooking reality shows to task in an essay for The Daily Meal, in which he called out Hell’s Kitchen specifically as a purveyor of “unkempt and untidy” potty-mouthed cooks who “seem to be terrorized and belligerent at the same time.” Continues Pepin:
For the good of his or her restaurant, the chef should be a role model, an educator who probes and advises his cooks, rather than embarrasses them publicly. A good kitchen is quiet most of the time. It is disciplined, well structured, and clean.
People who cook there are dedicated and work together. Teamwork is extremely important, as all parts of the kitchen have to work on many of the same dishes. This requires them to work as one unit, like in a symphony when all the parts come together at the end. It is not exciting or dramatic enough for TV.
The cruel rivalry and conflict depicted in ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ may be good for ratings, but it is unjust to dedicated cooks and unfair to the trade. In my opinion, nothing good enough to eat can be concocted under such conditions.
We guess Top Chef is exempt since occasionally guest judges that show himself, but yeesh. Let the war between 1980s French and British cheffing styles begin?