A Most Noble Profession
© Copyright 2014

This article was written in recognition of the wonderful piece that was done by Paul Harvey paying homage to American farmers. This version is a tribute to chefs and cooks who care for the crops and livestock that the farmer nurtures and in turn build flavors and textures to allow cooking and eating to rise from a process to an art form. In the words of Robert Bulwer-Lytton:

“We may live without poetry, music and art;
We may live without conscience and live without heart;
We may live without friends;
We may live without books;
But civilized man cannot live without cooks.”


Adaption by: Paul Sorgule

And on the ninth day (after making a farmer), God looked down on his planned paradise and said: “I need something to eat.”

So, God made a chef.

God said, “I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, pan the bacon, crack the eggs, brew the coffee, warm the Danish pastries and prepare to work all day in a hot kitchen until the last guest is served.”

So, God made a chef.

“I need somebody with a strong back, callused feet, hands that look like swollen and wrinkled tree stumps and arms that are covered in burns, but who can show enough finesse to delicately place a few snipped herbs on a perfect plate of food. Somebody who can swear like an angry sailor, yet care for his or her staff as if they were off springs. A person who could stare down a line cook with piercing eyes and in the next breath – smile as a passing guest says: thanks for a great meal.”

So, God made a chef.

God said: “I need somebody who will handle baby carrots received from the local farmer as if they were family heirlooms, fillet a fresh fish with a knife so sharp that it cuts through the skin and flesh like they were butter, trim the silver skin from a tenderloin without leaving the slightest trace of meat, pound out veal tenders with the power of a blacksmith and turn foie gras in a hot pan so gingerly that even the liver doesn’t know it is being cooked.”

So, God made a chef.

God needed someone who would work 24 hours in the first two days of a week that would certainly exceed 80 and do so with vigor and passion that is hard to describe. A person who knew at any given time what it cost to produce yesterday’s cup of coffee, could negotiate with salespeople who could barely tell the difference between a turnip and a potato and was obsessed with cleanliness and sanitation.

So, God made a chef.

God said: “I need somebody who is confident enough to handle hundreds of reservations, smart enough to know how much to prepare of each item, cautious enough to keep guests with allergies in mind, talented enough to build menu items that were able to create a buzz for the restaurant and strong enough in belief to always focus on the quality of the ingredients used.”

So, God made a chef.

God needed a person who was true to him or herself; focused – no matter how busy the restaurant became to not EVER sacrifice quality while making sure that each item contributed to the financial success of the business. He needed a person who was able to find a way to keep a family while giving 150% to the business and doing so without the need for accolades except – clean plates returning from the dinning room.

So, God made a chef.

God said: “I need someone who isn’t always right, but is never wrong; someone who never eats, only tastes; someone who respects heat and sharp objects and abhors anyone who doesn’t respect them as well. I need someone who would rather cook than anything else; someone who is comfortable wearing white jackets, hounds tooth pants and tall pleated hats and who considers his or her feet the most important part of their body.”

So, God made a chef.

“Somebody who is compassionate, but firm; caring and always giving; a mentor, psychiatrist, medic, big brother or sister, fair and honest, hard working and filled with passion for food and service. Someone who would laugh and cry when his or her son or daughter says they want to spend their life doing what dad or mom does.”

So, God made a chef.


A tip of the toque to all who work in kitchens, those who came before and set the standards for us to follow, those who aspire to become the next generation of cooks and most importantly – those family members who put up with us along the way.



Harvest America Ventures, LLC

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About Me

PAUL SORGULE is a seasoned chef, culinary educator, established author, and industry consultant. These are his stories of cooks, chefs, and the environment of the professional kitchen.


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