Photo by Donna

So many people commented on the distinction between foodie and cook in my post responding to the Michael Pollan essay, I wished I'd used it for its own post.  Then I realized I could!  And then from out of the Twitosphere came a lament from someone who didn't like to be called a home cook, feeling, I think that the term was inherently condescending.  And another who thought my description of what defined a foodie to be condescending.  (Guilty.)

Judging from those who commented to me, people were evenly divided between those who were proud to be called home cooks and those who felt, I don't know, as if being a "home" cook were akin to being a pretend cook.  But I liked what Chef Pardus had to say—on my facebook page (I can't keep track of all this stuff, facebook, twitter, email, blog, the center can't hold!)—it was right on the money, and I'm glad I didn't miss it: he says that he writes and he skis but he doesn't call himself a writer or a skier.

I think that's really all the distinction there needs to be. I don't like the term home cook for the very reason the Tweeter seemed to indicate.  There's something precious about it, and it grates.  Unless you work in a restaurant, where where else are you going to cook?  Why do we even need to call ourselves cooks, home or not.  Pardus doesn't say he's a home writer.  A guy who makes Shaker boxes on the weekend doesn't call himself a home carpenter.  On the other hand, if we're asked whether we cook, we say, Yes.  Cook is a verb.  It's what some of us do.  Not what we are. Unless we are, in which case we can pay our rent with the result of our cooking. I'm for abolishing the term "home cook." Or at least not using it.

If you're not allowed to call yourself a cook, then how to distinguish between those who are foodies and those who love to cook?  That as I mentioned in the earlier post, is an important distinction. What is a foodie? I like the Miriam Webster definition: a person having an avid interest in the latest food fads.

Foodie has only a tangential relation to cook.  Foodie is not an act, like cook.  Foodie declares specific interests.  (Food enthusiast is a good attempt at making the idea palatable, but it's too cumbersome.) Who first used the word foodie?  Well, Paul Levy, an American born journalist working in England makes the claim that he coined the word.  Is this something to be proud of? You're almost forced to wince when you say it. 

In fact, and Levy notes this, the first person to use the word foodie, according to Barry Popnick, a guy who studies origins, was none other than Gael Greene in New York mag in 1980.

True, Gael? (If so, it's still not as cool as being able to tell people you slept with Elvis.)

All this writing so early in the morning has made me hungry.  Think I'll go cook….


157 Wonderful responses to ““Foodie,” “Cook,” and “Home Cook””

  • Josh Venne

    I consider myself a cook. I only consider a very small % of people I’ve worked with, cooks. And “chef” is a entirely different story. I have a big problem with these words being used to loosely… I hold them very sacred.

  • mel

    to quote my kids…

    isn’t it a bit pretentious that we are all spending a lot of energy deciding what to call ourselves?

  • Big Red

    I personally do not put much stock in words in the American English Language anymore. I daresay that there is far too much “play” there, what with words showing up in commercials like “rockstair” and “Brangelina”. Someone shoot me. American culture has been on track to compartmentalize everything…we shorten words for texting, and email, and we combine words into phrases, which reflect some thing or another.

    If I were inclined to call myself anything, it is…well I have my own definition. My nickname implies all sorts of things to those who know me, and for those who do not, it may interest them in getting to know me. If not, Screw ’em.

    I cannot be defined by one word, nor one thing that I do. Yes, I cook things in my home kitchen. I also made a living at it years ago in a commercial kitchen. I would love to again. But like Ruhlman said, I also ski, but I do not call myself a skier. I write for a local newsletter, but I do not call myself a writer. I teach basic cooking classes, and when I get a new class I tell them I am no expert. A veteren of meals and food improvisations, an experienced mom with a flair for the kitchen, or even house Frau.

    But that is too much…Just call me Big Red. Enough Said.

  • Saltydog

    The “chef” thing is what bothers me. Cooks calling themselves “chefs”? It’s not the definition.

  • Liane

    Labels are how we understand and often relate to one another, Baby Boomer, Gen X, Parent, Gardener, Cook, Chef and Foodie alike. They all create a vision in our minds and we tend to gravitate towards “like minded” individuals.

    I do, however, get a 1950’s negative vision of a woman when I hear “home cook”. For myself I’m certainly a cook, I used to be a gourmet cook but I am not a professional cook. I used to be a foodie but now I don’t jump on the latest food rage but just like quality food, whether it’s meatloaf or BLT ice cream creation (as noted in your BLT challenge)…however…that didn’t sound so good :-).

    Labels all mean different things and there is nothing wrong with it unless they are used to diminish someone. Let’s face it..there is enough nastiness out there in there in the world, no need to add to it.

  • Christa

    I also dislike the term ‘home cook’ and the annoying ‘foodie’. But of all the suggestions, I think I’m inclined to agree with Ellen here. And, to offer yet another point of distinction, I’d like to add that I think there is a difference between a blogger and a writer. In my eyes, a blogger is someone with a blog as a hobby and a professional writer is someone who is either paid or is able to generate income from their writing no matter where it is published.

  • mel

    people– chill!!!!

    isn’t this a lot of wasted energy talking about what we all call ourselves? a little egocentric, dare i say?

  • sbp

    I don’t see it as egocentric to attempt to define a cultural trend. Food writers, sociologists, anthropologists, food historians, etc. either are or will someday be studying the impace of food/restaurant culture at this point in history. It’s trite to generalize and say “in the ’90’s – 00’s, people were food obsessed.” There are people who are/will find interesting the more subtle differences between people who are foodies because it’s fashionable and people with a real passion for food and cooking (and how the former may be devouring the latter).

  • Tags

    By the generic vanilla meaning of foodie, a person who dines at The French Laundry and a person who thrills to Sandra Lee’s tablescapes both “qualify.”

  • Big Guy

    Part of the problem is how lazy we are with language. Somehow “amateur” is a bit of an insult now regardless of the endeavor, while the term “expert” (chef, hwatever) gets thrown around with abandon.

    I used to brew beer, and I did this as a career. I got paid for it and I was reasonably good. Many people called me a “brewmaster”, which I always corrected immediately. A *real* brewmaster has a master’s degree equivalent (and it’s very rigorous and difficult) and many, many years of practice. I had none of that.

    Just because you get paid to do a job doesn’t mean you are expert or even competent.

    Also – why do terms for people who like good food (not necessarily fine food) always come off as pretentious and snobby? Are we snobs?

  • Diane

    I just like being called a good cook. When asked I say, “I love to cook” or even not-so-humbly, “I’m a good cook.” I don’t like the term foodie at all. It’s vague, and has a whiff of elitism.

  • Natalie

    Excellent point Chef delGrosso.

    I am an amateur cook. With my approach to cooking, it might be more appropriate to call myself one of these things: kitchen chemist or a kitchen kibitzer.

    My family eats what I create, however Chef delGrosso might say they are slave eaters.

  • luis

    Yes go cook and have fun!. A home cook has some fun… a line cook has a JOB!!!!!!!
    Bro this is not brain surgery you know!.
    I screw up every other dish if not every single dish I cook. Needs a little more something something… these two spices don’t work well together.. on and on….
    But I try and cook….
    Anyone that wishes to take up issue with that can go work on the line and get his/hers ass beat on a regular basis…. end of story.
    Oh yeah! can you picture an iron chef type facing or hearing some joe sixpack disting their creation???….Home cook’s don’t deal with that.

  • Pam

    I don’t care for foodie. It’s tossed around so pretentiously, sometimes as an insult. But I have no problem with “home cook” and it does not offend me. For me it defines the difference between cooking as a vocation and cooking as an avocation. Cooking is my avocation; I earn my living elsewhere. I’m pretty darn good at my avocation and have no problem being defined as a “home cook.”

  • luis

    Funny thing… Michele Bernstein renowned chef.. with show on PBS now.. recently commented that she never deals with the customer. Not a home cook for Sure!. A great chef in her own right and dealing with it.. best she can.

  • Dental El Paso

    Personally I do not care much for labels and stuff. So I do not see the harm done. However, if I must be put into a category I must say that I am a food enthusiast. (I don’t believe I am much of a cook).

  • Agopian

    I agree with Pardus, people need to be more confident with who they are and not get all worked up about labels.(no one cares) I do need to say that if you have never cooked professionally and you consider yourself a “foodie” then you have some big gaps in truly knowing and understanding what good food is.

  • franknwine

    Long before there were restaurants people figured out that applying heat to animal and vegetable matter made it more easier to ingest. That process, in English, came to be called cooking. People who did this were called cooks. Really good cooks figured they could cash in on this talent of theirs so they started selling the things they cooked. They called the places they sold their goods restaurants. The cooks in these restaurants came to be called chefs. So if you do cooking in your home you are a cook. Just that. A cook. No modifier needed. If you cook in a restaurant, or in any variation thereof, you are a chef. Period,

  • the curiousone

    I use the term, “serious hobbyist cook”. I make that distinction because I cant cook for 300 people every night and I think I would shoot myself in the temple if I had to make the same dish the same way 6 days a week. These are the skills I attribute to professional cooks. I like nothing more than to lose myself in a complicated technique or work to develop a skill which results in a specific result. My goal is to deliver really tasty, really prety food as an expression of care for those sitting at my table. That makes me a serious hobbyist cook.

  • CK

    Pardus’ example disproves the point he’s trying to make, doesn’t it? Would we really say the only skiers in the world are those who earn a living skiing? I don’t think that’s the case, even hough professional skiers probably sit around and bitch about all the novices who dare call themselves skiers.

  • Lawrence

    Bicker all you want about what is and what does not constitute cooks, home cooks, gourmands, but lets leave the Chef title alone. This acquired title is due in part to dedication, much sweat, far too many hours, and the knowledge of the inner workings of a professional kitchen and all of the facets necessary to sustain, grow and have the operation prosper within the fickle professional food world. Let us not dilute the title by bestowing it upon every person with a knife and a coat (Both of which can be bought, the title is and should remain earned.) Not trying to be elitist, or snobbish. Dont care what you call me, I am sure I have been called worse at one point or another by one of my cooks.

  • Rhonda

    Michael, Chef Pardus, Chef del Grosso.

    I am on annual holidays from my lucrative white collar career and instead of seeking the sun, I have chosen to work on-the-line at a European Bistro for minimum wage.

    I am tired of my pontificating, general bullshit and everyone else’s and I needed to experience this first hand

    Holy F**k!!!

    This is the hardest work I have EVER done! I have only done 2 shifts but FM it is hard work, especially when the kitchen gets slammed.

    I am proud to say that my knife skills have held up, I keep my station clean and now, as a second day Veteran, I have my prep & Mise down pat.

    I can now say, without hesitation, there is a HUGE difference between home cooks and professionals. Off the top of my head, when I cook at home, no one is yelling at me to chop faster.

    The other thing I have learned very quickly is that you can spot a “Foodie” a mile away. They want to ensure that you know they are educated and aware of food. This can be good or bad. Most are difficult and want to take pictures or make specialty orders because they know better than you.

    I now understand David Chang. It is fucking food. If you have never been to the establishment before and sampled the dish, DO NOT submit specialty orders. THAT makes you an asshole, not a Gourmand.

    Aaand, like Michael has stated many times before, you cannot lie in the professional kitchen. I didn’t understand this until now and it is hard to communicate. You CAN lie in the home kitchen.

    Many orders, pressure, consistentsy, excellence and quality all have to come together at the same time.

    I should be getting a paycheque in two weeks time which will then make me a professional cook and I do say professional. For how long, I don’t know. It is hard, grueling, but I LOVE IT! I AM HAVING A BLAST!!!!

    I am freakin’ tired at the end of the day but satisfied.

    Do I want to continue cooking professionally? I don’t know. This was basically an anthropological experiment. I will leave all options and avenues open and assess later.

  • Jenn

    I am not a fan of the word “enthusiast” because it implies that cooking is a hobby, something non-essential to life. And in my case, that is simply not so. Cooking (to me at least) is so much more important than that. I call myself an “amateur chef”, because I associate the word “chef” with a bit of creative concept design rather than simply the execution of a recipe. LOL, if being a chef means managing a kitchen, does managing my husband in the kitchen count? I often refer to him as my sous chef as he frequently assists in veggie chopping, etc…

  • Heidi

    I have no issues with being called a “home cook”, or simply “cook”. Epicure, foodie, gourmand, culinary aficionado, call yourselves what you wish, none of the above terms would offend me.

    I do have issues with people calling themselves chefs that do not (or have not ever) managed or overseen a kitchen. In my mind, culinary school is great training but not required for the term “chef”, and culinary school does not a chef make.

    On that note, here is one other word I call myself, “chefophile”, one who worships and adores professional chefs!

  • Col

    Isn’t a critical part of Michael Ruhlman’s dislike of the term “home cook” because he went to culinary school and has cooked professionally? Isn’t he sort of in a netherworld between chef, cook, culinary writer, and person who enjoys cookng at home?

    Methinks of course he would bristle at “home cook” since he is WAY beyond that level…?

    I’m just saying. BTW I’m a big fan of the “…of a Chef” trilogy and totally bought one of the Ratio charts.

    I am a professional actor and it kinda bristles me when people with no training and little experience roll into the business and call themselves actors.

    Then again, a lot of times acting (especially for TV and film) requires little more than “interestingness”, stillness, and understanding, as opposed to technique. And a lot of times amateur-types who make a change of career can be quite interesting to watch on film or TV. And hey, bully for them.

    Tough onstage, though. That’s where technical chops come into play.

    Re: Ellen’s comment above. People mean well, I like to think, when they ask “Have you been published,” because they want to show an interest, but it’s so obnoxious on the other hand. What it seems to me that they’re also asking is, “Are you legitimate, or self-deluded?” “How may I categorize you?” or “Should I take you seriously as a professional, or are you a [pretentious] hobbyist?”

    I don’t have any particular bee in my bonnet about home cook, plain old cook, etc. but do NOT call myself a chef. My dad is a retired culinary instructor. HE is a chef. Not me.

    Might I suggest a title for people who are consider themselves high-quality cooks, but do not cook professionally? How about “indie cooks”?

    Before you barf all the way to SXSW, think about it: people doing their own thing with cooking, independent of distinctions. ECCO-LA!

  • Yeaaa

    I love this blog, I really do.

    But if we are to make distinctions as frugal as this, then you and Bourdain and Zimmerman better not to ever have the balls to call yourselves writers.

    You are not. You are chefs who write. Don’t go putting your craft’s label on a pedestal while abusing others.

    You write, sure, like I cook.

  • diane

    What about using “hobby cook” as a distinction between “professional cook”….? And really, “Chef” is only used for professionals who are heading up they’re own restaurant or business (getting paid to cook for others).

    Great topic of discussion.

  • Stellaa

    Oh, bother. I cook. I eat. I feed and nurture my family like my mother and her mother did for generations.

    We, this generation did not invent any of this. We are so full of ourselves it makes me want to scream at times. Now that men have gotten into the business of cooking at home, it needs to be redefined?

    Yes, we read and experience more food options in our times, that is rather pleasant. Yet, we have lost touch of many of the basics of the home cook. We only give credibility to the paid expert, yet all they do is take the storehouse of information and repeat it to us.

    Foodie, has that quality of obsession or addiction, or what shall I call it, expertologist malarchy. People write and talk about food that have little day to day or practical experience.

    Foodie implies that there is a current orthodoxy of food trends, the foodie obsessively follows and adheres to the trends and bores everyone around them. Face it, it’ the same as a dork. Who wants them around. I would rather not follow an orthodoxy of anyone.

    I cook. I garden. I eat. Any questions? Please park the pretension and attitudes at the door.

    Now, what the hell am I gonna do with all these apples?

  • NMissC

    The term “cook” is not owned by professionals. “My grandmother was a good cook.” Who says that is an illegitimate sentence? (The interesting observation is that it would not normally occur to anyone to add the unnecessary modifier “home” to that sentence).

    I have a huge regard for cooks who have spent decades preparing food, daily, for a family. The food media entirely ignores the inventiveness and range of this type of cooks. They are the least documented of cooks.

    I’ve cooked, daily, for a family for about three decades. My son is a professional– he’s worked on the line in a Beard Award restaurant for 5 years. I cook with him regularly at home, and I’m pretty sure he’d tell you my skills and inventiveness, both stand up well against other cooks.

    The connotations of the word foodie is more interesting. It’s a deserved insult when aimed at, say, a cookware store that any serious cook could recognize is selling decorating accessories masquerading as tools, or at folks who install a professional range in a kitchen and never really use it. But on the other hand, I think it covers an audience of folk who read food blogs, buy high-end restaurant cookbooks browsing for ideas and wanting to be current about a subject about which they are passionate– and without that sort of foodie (I’m one), I’m not sure you’d have an audience…

  • Crystal Fox, Sous Chef Philadelphia

    It’s funny I stumbled across this post because our kitchen talks about this topic…. a lot.

    For, myself, that professionally cooks 70 hours a week…6 days a week. It’s insulting that “home cooks” remotely put themselves in the same category as me. That may sound rude or over-the-top or not “PC”…but it’s a fact. Cooking for 6-10 of your good friends (that will tell you your food is good whether it truly is or not)is NOT the same as cooking for 200+ hyper critical (absolute strangers) every night of the week…and WAIT every meal better be identical….it better be good…or it will be splashed all of the internet for all to see.

    I have a challenge for any “home cook”: go to any professional kitchen (you, know on one of your weeks vacations you have stored in your white collar benefits package) and work…for free…to see the kitchen. Chances are you’ll be running back to your home KitchenAid in a hurry.

    Home cooks and professional cooks are just different. Get over it.

  • Rhonda

    Hi Crystal:

    You misssed my comment. This is EXACLTLY what I have done and am currently doing.

    I was tired of my own bullshit and everyone else’s so I put my money where my mouth is.

    It is the hardest work I have ever done. EVER!!!! I am only cooking approximately 35 hours/week. I cannot imagine 70 plus.

    There is NO comparison –NONE between a home cook and professional. They are two different things completely!!!

    When one cooks at home, they do so at their own pace, and no one is yelling at them. They are also at leisure to take a bathroom break during their day.

    My bullshit has stopped forever. I must say that my knife skills have held up and although I am being yelled at on a daily basis, I have not been kicked off the line.

    I do love it, however and may continue. I was lucky to find an excellent Bistro that serves high quality French Food. I cannot imagine doing this type of work for a resto that serves up hundreds of plates of shit everyday. The work is too hard not to have some fulfillment at the end of the day. For those of you that do work in those types of establishments, my hat is off to you and you have my respect.

    I am in complete agreement with Crystal. This comparison needs to stop now and forever! It is wrong and disrespectful.

  • Libby

    @clotilde – I love your comment (below). I’m such a food history geek, it’s nauseating…

    “I also use the term “food enthusiast” (although I agree it is a bit clunky, it’s infinitely less grating that the “f” word) to describe the fact that I’m not just interested in the cooking part, but the world of food in general — all aspects of it, including the cultural, historical, political, and anecdotal ones.”

  • Rhonda

    The other thing that I forgot to mention about my Anthropological study is that the cooking profession is best started by the young.

    I am 44 and although I plan to leave my white collar job and stay on the line, I am not deluded. I would love to continue this for as long as my body will hold out (I estimate until Christmas time????). Then, I think it will be a catering job for me.

    I thought I was in great physical shape but it is not enough for this job long term.

    After one week of doing lunch service NOT dinner, I have lost 7 pounds which I believe is the result of dehydration, adrenaline and good old unadulterated FEAR.

    I have also not done a Sunday lunch service yet, which from what I understand could completely undo me.

    At the end of the day (sorry, still have white collar lingo), I think it is up to the professionals to differentiate themselves from herd, not everyone else.

    I had planned to do this before this post and applied for a job not thinking it would actually work out. Serendipity arrived and I started a couple of days after this post. Then came Crystals challenge.

    The timing couldn’t have been better and apparently I wasn’t the only one thinking this would be a great bullshit stopper.

    Perhaps after the BLT challenge, this could be the next one.

    What do you think, Michael?

  • luis

    Life is a process… It begins and it ends. Folks want to think there is another process after life ends. Makes sense to me!. Good folks think they should be rewarded with…? heaven? Nirvana?..a Zillion virgins? oh please not that!. But a simple home cook just longs for a good recipe and a kitchen with each and every silly whacky ethnic, trendy ingredient the DAMM thing calls for so they can turn out ONE GENUINE great tasting recipe.
    souls aren’t even supposed to eat!!!!!grrrrrrr!!!!!

  • Amy Scott

    I hate, hate, HATE the word “foodie” as it seems so snobby and elitist. Why should we feel the need to categorize ourselves?

    The one thing I loved about Julia Child is that her love for French Cuisine was so great that she wanted ALL people regardless of status to come to know and love it too. She turned her nose up at “status” because she wanted to make French Cuisine accessible.

    If someone truly loves the culture, history, science, etc. about food, then I would think that they would want your everyday person to come to know it and love it too. So why be so caught up in labels to make ourselves feel so much more important? Would it be a true lover’s goal to be to spread their love and not be prideful of it?

  • Lance

    What a bunch of elitist crap. You can play with the semantics as long as you want, but face it, YOU ARE A FOODIE! Yes that’s right – you. Your interest in the world of food lead you into writing about food. You are a FOODIE. Not a real chef, not a real cook, just a guy who found a passion in food. And who do you think buys your books? Do you really think that classically trained chefs are running out to buy “The Making of a Chef”? No, its the foodies that you continually put down. Most likely 90% of the people who read this blog and “hate the word foodie” only know you exist because they too, are foodies and found your work through their interest in food. At least Chef Pardus has been a voice of reason in this ridiculous debate. You can hide behind your pretentiousness, but YOU ARE A FOODIE!

  • Cathy

    Hmm. I like what Ghislain said, “I like to cook and eat, and I’m curious and enthusiastic about all things food.” That describes me. I call myself a foodie because most people (who don’t give a great deal of thought to these topics) understand what I’m talking about. Maybe foodie has become derogatory, but I don’t care.

  • kathygnome

    I suspect rage against being referred to as a “home cook” might be anchored in the wonderfully horrible camp classic The Next Food Network Star where the judges continuously nag their victims to dumb food down for “the home cook.”

  • Randy

    Sorry, but I find this talk really awful. Chefs, like Mike Pardus, act like they are the second coming of Jesus in the cooking department. Where did cooking come from? It came from people eating to survive..eating around the campfire. Humans have adapted to use the bounty in nature for the ultimate purpose…to feed ourselves and our families and to keep ourselves alive. A person who is a home cook is a person who cooks in the home…simply stated! And frankly, there are a LOT of home cooks, especially in Italy and France, that can cook rings around a lot of the crappy chefs on the Food Network or any other channel. Sorry…but this post really steams the F out of me! My dead mother was a fantastic cook and she prided herself on cooking good, wholesome food during the 70’s when microwave crap and other nondigestable goop came out. She thought it was a sign of pride that she cooked great food for her husband and kids and large extended family and would have considered it a badge of honor to be called a home cook. Instead of branding ourselves as a name, why don’t we try to talk about cooking and good food instead?

  • cjride

    I was visiting my nephew who is attending the CIA. We had the Julia Child menu at Escoffier. I had a chance to purchase an autograph copy The Making of a Chef but considering I was riding my motorcycle and didn’t have much room I skipped. Getting home after visiting the cheesemakers festival in Vermont I decided to cook a Julia Childs recipe, beef and onions. I also had gotten about 50 pages into TMoC. It was then that I decided I might be able to follow a recipe but after butchering the meat I was neither a cook or a chef. I got online and emailed this to Chef Pardus. Little did I know that I had just entered the middle of a big discussion.

  • cjride

    One more comment if I may. I am currently taking a course in quantum physics for my own enjoyment. I even correspond by email with some well know physicists. While making my dinner I thought that I might like to learn some of the skills necessary to make me more proficient in the kitchen. I don’t know if there is anything for the home cook out there (I would especially love to attend the CIA to do this). But one thing is sure I couldn’t do the work of the students at the CIA as described by Mr. Ruhlman in his book.

  • cjride

    Michael, sorry I’m doing this to your blog. I’ve written award winning software so I guess my skills aren’t in the kitchen. My brother who know his way around the kitchen from owning two restaurants, considers himself a restaurateur. As I’m reading Michaels book I’m thinking how many times my brother had to go into the restaurant and cook or wash the dishes because someone didn’t come into work. My brother now works for Second Harvest, the largest food bank in the US. He has more family time and loves his work. I liked how I read about making a good reuben, that the cheese should be put between the bread and the saurkraut and meat. This prevented the bread from getting soggy. When Mr. Metz asked why cheese was put down over the crust before the rest of the ingredients for the quiche, I wanted to shout out the answer.

  • Pix

    If you don’t get paid to cook, you are a ‘home cook.’ You might be (and probably are) more skilled than many professional chefs/cooks.
    But until you receive a paycheck for it — you are a ‘home cook.’ Live with it, be proud of your skills.

  • Michele Niesen

    What do you call a writer who opened her own place where she cooked for ten years and then went back to writing. Besides masochistic, I mean. All this moniker stuff makes us all seem so, um, American, no? I’ve known French people for years who still have never asked what I “do” for a living. It’s weird, but kind of nice.

    For me, home cook is indeed condescending as I’ve had WAY better meals from people’s moms than a lot of line cooks, sous chefs and hell, even exec chefs. Let’s face it…the work horses of kitchens are mainly concerned with production and margins. The are technicians as opposed to artists. I rarely called myself Chef as it made me sound like some pompous sweaty dude with those bad pants and ugly chef coat. With my NAME on it. In case you forget. I’m the CHEF. It’s dumb.

    But at the same time, diners like that crap and it’s a business, so let them eat name cake. Did I think that every single amigo de Guerrero,MX was just as proficient as me in the kitchen? Yes. Was I more inspired and creative? Yes. I made the dish that put my name on the door, but they reproduced it like magic hundreds of times over to allow me to keep the doors open, because us “artists” (another eye rolling bit of nomenclature) can rarely reproduce anything.

    Earning your chops in a professional kitchen is worthy of note. But cooking the kind of food that makes people want to take their pants off? Priceless.

    How about this. We all eat. Many of us cook. Some professionally and some passionately. Sometimes the two worlds collide. And that person is simply A Good Cook.

  • WPM

    Let’s take into consideration the food availability for the at home cook and the in house chef.

    What’s in my fridge better pale in comparison to what’s in your walk-in.

    Regardless and with all the ridiculousness swept under the plate, Marco Pierre White was asked whom he most admired; who was his favorite cook? His reply: his mom.

    Now, unless any one of us has achieved anything in the kitchen remotely close to what he has, we’re all well off to agree he might have an idea of what he’s talking about, above and beyond our own experiences.

  • Pam

    If we are reading all this stuff we do not have time to make food good! Let’s go to the kitchen.

  • jamie

    I know the discussion seems mainly to be between the name cook or home cook but I myself take issue with the foodie definition provided. I would argue this description is more closely related to that of the Gourmand (also mentioned in another comment above) A foodie is not someone who likes the latest food fads. Foodies love food, period. A foodies love of food does not come from taste alone. We, as I consider myself a ‘foodie’, consider food in context; who made it, my own history with it, other peoples history, did I cook it or did someone make it for me – to name but a few. This is the mark of a Happy foodie. Therefore I would argue any ‘cooks’ taking the time to read this blog are also foodies.
    -Cooks flip burgers.
    -Chefs run restaurants.
    -foodies love everything about food. cooking, eating, buying, growing…