The legendary chef Jacques Pépin has called out the bull of reality tv shows in an open letter posted by The Daily Meal.
Pépin, who has been an influential chef and television personality for many years, says that the constant stream of reality food shows and the shouty chefs that front them portray a negative image of the kitchen that is counter productive.
"In the last few years, there have been a flurry of new TV cooking shows, so-called “reality” shows, that portray the restaurant kitchen in a chaotic and negative light, and I believe it is a disservice to our trade and to young people who want to go into this business. The worst offenders insult and humiliate their crew, cursing and swearing, with every other word a bleeped expletive. The crew, often unkempt and untidy, look at the chef defiantly and seem to be terrorized and belligerent at the same time."
The points raised in his letter are valid and show how, ironically, reality shows on television are usually the furthest away from the actual reality of running a professional kitchen.
He also references Julia Child and how she rightly said you have to be in a happy mood to prepare good food, before once again commenting on the negative impact reality cooking shows are having on the industry.
“In these reality shows, the confrontation and the bitter drama are not conducive to producing good food. There is disarray and pandemonium in these kitchens, as well as in the dining rooms. No one seems to agree on anything, and there are ongoing clashes between the employees, without much evidence of what makes a kitchen work. 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.”