Tell me about your experiences in Culinary Arts School:
“At the end of January I graduated from a program in Classic Pastry Arts at the International Culinary Center in Campbell, CA. There were some things that really surprised me. One of them was that the male chefs at the center made a regular habit of yelling at their students, turning beat red in the face, throwing things, cussing their students out, banging rolling pins on the tables solely to intimidate their students. This has also been shown on TV shows like Hell’s Kitchen, but I thought this was for the cameras. Apparently verbal abuse is part of the training.”
Do you think they do this as an initiation process?:
“Absolutely! One of the chefs openly shared that that’s how he was trained and that he believed he was making us better by doing this to us.”
The culinary world is a field which outsiders have little knowledge of. The few representations we have are television shows on channels like The Food Network. By nature that they are television shows , it is unclear how much of the performance is a dramatization for the cameras and how much is genuine. Here we have evidence that most of the drama is actually representative of the culture surrounding culinary arts.
This yelling and intimidation is, in the eyes of the chefs, a right of passage that transforms them from students into professionals in the industry. It seems that this methodology has been passed down from previous chefs with the intention of preparing them for high stress situations that are most likely common in a kitchen/restaurant environment. It must also be a sign of superiority and strength in the kitchen for the lead chef to scold those below him; only the head chef can yell.