Culintro's "How I Became a Chef" panel on Tuesday featured New York City chefs Harold Dieterle (Perilla and Kin Shop), Gavin Kaysen (Café Boulud), and Rory Schepisi (Boot Hill Saloon).
And while we learned a lot of things about the road to becoming a successful chef ("Be patient, work hard, keep your head down, keep your mouth shut, and your ears open," Dieterle told us), Kaysen's story about his interview with Daniel Boulud taught us more about the hiring process.
"He called me at home on a Saturday afternoon, and he was like, 'Hey what are you doing?" Kaysen recalled. "I said, 'I’m drinking coffee, what are you doing?' Halfway through the conversation I realized it was a job interview."
Rory Schepisi, in the meantime, still had a bone to pick with the Food Network after losing Season 3 of the Next Food Network Star to Amy Finley. "I was kind of portrayed as the ditsy dumb blonde… I don’t know why," she said, while mockingly twirling her hair. But hey, she's working on a Jersey-Texas-fusion cookbook roughly titled Southern Yankee, so she's gotten somewhere.
As for what wannabe chefs should do (if our culinary school advice didn't scare you off), Schepisi suggests working for someone else before enrolling. "You don’t want to go to culinary school being that one person who’s never really been in a kitchen, just saying, 'I like to cook!'" she told us. She also advises against dropping out of high school like she did. "I would never tell people to leave high school. I missed prom!" she said.
Of course, just because someone's gone to culinary school, doesn't mean they're a chef, Dieterle said. "My idea of what a chef is, just taking it down to the pure basics, is someone who’s a leader and it means the chief of a kitchen," he told us.
"The term is just used so loosely nowadays, all these people that call themselves celebrity chefs, they have no affiliation to a restaurant or a kitchen, they just have a show," he said. So all you YouTube chefs don't count.