Cuisine, vocation, transmission: circuit (too) short? – ATABULA

A famous chef tells il peu peu in a podcast that stopped the three-star aura. Others, more or less discreetly, hold the same speech and are not seen aging behind the stoves. Once the reward falls, the summit is reached, why wait for the inevitable descent to retire? Another chef, recently three-star and still young, explains that he plans to stop in a decade or so. On the other side of the course, in cooking schools, one dreams of burning the steps. Clerk, half party leader, party leader and so on to the position of leader, very little for them. Too long, too constraining, too narrow. The new generation wants to go fast, very fast even. Learn fast, work fast and leave the job just as fast: yesterday’s hard marathon turned into a lightning sprint. Tomorrow is already yesterday.

In the image of our society, the world of kitchens is experiencing a phenomenal acceleration. The fast-food-consumer side is doubled into a fast-cooking-career-professional side. Even the Michelin guide, the backbone that structured the system, has the advantage of the versatility of the stars to better collect at the time and be fixed. The reality of bare ground doesn’t stick to the principle, but that’s another story. As for training, schools are multiplying short formats to meet the needs of learners and accelerating employability to meet growing staff shortages. This same personal care then digs from table to table to enrich the resume.

Compressed time, multiplied experiences, busy career,… Faced with this finding, two questions then arise. What about vocation? Can it be said that she is fading away because there is no longer a desire to dedicate her life to this or that profession? Probably not. Yesterday, occupational patterns were different, less focused on mobility, on permanent movement, and more marked by the security of a “lifelong” job, by the rigidity of a course. Today, reconversion is part of the worker’s natural language. Better yet, it is often synonymous with a new life focused on the common good and collective awareness. In such a societal logic, the vocation is lived in CDD.

Plus complex is the question of transmission. A young cook who chains contracts, for a few weeks or a few months, will probably learn some techniques from the chef but little more. He will taste his culinary identity, without really soaking in it. Is this a serious doctor at a time when the traces of the elders are being less and less claimed in order to better value one’s own imprint? Such a question cannot be summed up in a few words. On the other hand, you don’t have to go into the transmission of the place. How do they experience this constant zapping, repetitive arrivals and departures that are detrimental to team spirit, shared learning, and the creation of a shared story? Probably a factor as to why they’re doing so poorly.

Between a vocation in CDD and a permanent zapping to get drunk on experiences in the small week, there is no doubt that the world of kitchens is changing profoundly. And, as in any transformation, there is good and bad. What he gains in surface, in dynamism, he loses in depth, in thickness. Needless to criticize in vain the developments of his time, but it would be a good idea to look concretely at all the consequences of this double phenomenon. And, most importantly, understand why this does not lead to a renewed desirability of the trade.


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Rory Waldegrave | Unsplash

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