There’s a rat in the kitchen. Who is The Secret Chef?

the secret chef column

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If you've ever wanted to hear what chefs really think about the restaurants they work in, then you may want to take a gander over on the restaurant industry insider website Fine Dining Lovers.

The website's Editor-in-chief, Ryan King, has persuaded one of the biggest names in gastronomy to give their undiluted opinions about the restaurant world. The Secret Chef is writing a monthly column reflecting on the industry. As to who that chef is... well, they're keeping that info closer to their chests than the winner of this year's Strictly.

“Here we have a household name that is willing to tell the truth about the world of restaurants and fine dining,” explains King. "It is a rare chance to hear the truth from within the industry. The reader is given a seat at the table, to hear those raw conversations that are conducted in private, when everyone has gone home from the restaurant, the kitchen is empty, and chefs speak without fear of judgment."

The series kicks off with a column this month on The Curse of the Celebrity Chef - what they're describing as "a compelling commentary on how the digital age sowed “seeds of destruction” in the restaurant industry, and transformed it into a "carnival of narcissism”".

Here's a small excerpt:

The celebrity chef started like all of us, at the bottom with a carefully knotted neckerchief and a roll of new knives. Driven by naiveté and enthusiasm and yearning for the knowledge passed down by the generations before us. With the quiet satisfaction of knowing that every plate you put out was to the best of your ability. The faint praise given for a job well-done punching through the fatigue. The odd compliment from the dining room floor filtering down through the hierarchy. It was enough. We celebrated our culinary heroes from afar and wondered if the accumulation of years of punishing hours was enough for us to reach their hallowed status. For the few that had the talent and temerity, the toil was enough to elevate them above their peers to inspire the next generation.


The chef, who files their copy via a secret channel, so only the Editor knows their name, says: "I would like to provoke some thought on what the industry can be moving forward. There is cultural and structural baggage that needs to be addressed."

The second instalment will examine the growing issues of mental health in the industry and the catastrophic impact it has on the chefs who cook our food.


More about The Secret Chef

Read The Secret Chef on the Fine Dining Lovers website.


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