If anyone has profited from the proliferation of cooking and travel shows, it's Anthony Bourdain. The chef/author/drinker/wanderluster has become one of television's most recognizable faces, thanks to a slew of food- and travel-based shows like No Reservations and Parts Unknown. But in his opinion, all this television exposure for chefs isn't necessarily a good thing for the industry as a whole. It might be messing with the heads of young chefs, and hurting their craft.
"I think there is a breed of people coming out of cooking school with TV squarely in their sights, for whom the prospect of cleaning squid for a year in a cellar is unthinkable," Bourdain told Thrillist. "This is a problem if you're a chef and looking for a good kitchen staff."
Essentially, the perceived glitz and glamour of kitchen life -- made glossy and fashionable when presented on the big (or little... I guess) screen -- is far from the reality of working in an actual kitchen.
"Anybody who goes in laboring under the assumption or thinking it's going to be easy or glamorous is going to be very, very quickly dissuaded. They were not going to last," he said.
In addition to the television, cooking schools have only added fuel to this fire, according to Bourdain.
"Because I've seen that so many times, kids coming out of cooking school and working in my kitchens, and literally two weeks in, you see it. You look behind the line, and you can just see the dream die. This terrible information sinking in, like, 'Oh my God, this is nothing like they told me it was going to be,'" he said.
Although Bourdain is quick to note the positives of cooking-based reality shows, too. While a lot of chefs might get a warped perception of the job from television, it's also drawn a lot more people to the industry -- which is not necessarily a bad thing. "You're getting a better-educated group of people, with actual options, entering the business. Whereas before, your pool was sort of, you know... people who had no other option but the service industry."
Ultimately, you need to take the good with the bad. But never forget: Reality shows are far from actual reality.
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