For the most recent Chef and Tell, Lori Midson talked with Marty Steinke, the executive chef at Linger. That interview inspired a lot more talk -- about Steinke himself, about whether talent in Denver is overrated, and whether the title "chef" is tossed around too casually these days.
Says Denver Dave:
Well, I do think that, based on my years in the business, the title of chef and particularly executive chef are thrown around pretty carelessly these days. Many that claim the title are just the head line cook, if that. Now every little taco and pizza joint has an executive chef - total b.s.
I think in "Executive Chef" Steinke's interview he does come off as pretty pompous but he does raise some legit issues about people who call themselves "chef" who can't properly chop an onion. So much PR in the business these days as opposed to real experience in a kitchen. Granted I'm not young, but when I was working in professional kitchens working my way up through the ranks no one with fewer than 20 years experience was a "chef" and unless you oversaw multiple restaurants/kitchens you weren't an "executive chef."
Whether or not the title "chef" is handed out too lightly, Denver is full of cooks who definitely qualify as "executive chefs" -- and are good ones, at that. Who are your favorite chefs in town today?
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And watch for a new Chef and Tell on Cafe Society this morning.