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May 23, 2007



Kind of leading questions on your part. If you're going to ask chefs if they like something or not, do it in a neutral style.


As someone who organizes these charity tasting events, I can tell you that many of the chefs do them because of the tradition and network in place. Thirty years ago, tasting events did not exist and the restaurant "brand" was more important than the chef character. (Things are changing: chef personality is beginning to take the forefront.) When it was a new concept, chefs were excited to step out of the kitchen and be recognized for who he or she was as a personality and an artist of sorts. As Ms. Leuzzi has diligently documented, chefs do not all love doing this and they wonder why. My response is that it is part of the chef culture and these events are an important and integral part of their community and network.

marisa d'vari

I think it is generous for the chefs to do this, and yes, it's all about giving back to the community. I agree with the chefs that say it pays to be as generous as you can. People will complain about food they do not feel is up to par (even though the restaurant is donating time/resources/food) to everyone, and will rave about food that goes above/beyond call of duty in the same way. If a chef/restaurant puts its energy into creating something fabulous, it is worth it. Half-handed, less so. http://www.awinestory.com


Perhaps it's not common there to provide the chefs with a fee for participating designed to offset at least part of the food & labor costs. Every event I'm familiar with here, chefs are given anywhere from $500 to $1500 dollars to cover expenses. Needless to say, they are usually happy to spend time and additional funds to lay on a great spread.


I think it's great to see what chefs really think of these events; I had a sneaking suspicion they weren’t big fans of these events and I can understand why. I applaud their charitable underpinnings and can understand if they feel lost in the crowd at an event. Having been to a few (and chiding rude customers, jerks) many restaurants do really lose out to the sheer number of participants.

I’ve found chefs directly involved in the process (take NYC based Vikas Khanna, who is a lovely man) to find much more fulfillment.

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