Too scrawny to sauté?

CNN’s Eatocracy food blog posted an informal food poll today that leaves me wondering just how unhealthy the craft of food preparation has become.

The poll, which now has received just over 11,000 votes, asks “would you trust a skinny chef?” It comes after the blog was surprised at the negative reception commenters gave Sisha Ortúzar when the skinny New York sandwich chef wrote in advice for making a good sandwich the day before. As of now 35 percent of voters expressed a degree of skepticism that skinny chefs can possibly make make good food — while another 10 percent distrust them outright.

The whole issue is inherently silly, but I couldn’t help but think just how prevalent that stereotype has been. People poke fun at it all the time, and when was the last time you saw a healthy-looking chef in a movie? You’ll hear it a lot: Never trust a skinny chef.

I have to disagree. The basic message here seems to be that one’s talent is measured in the degree that they over-indulge in their own trade. Is a journalists’ skill at writing measured in how badly he suffers from carpal tunnel? Should a bartender be judged by how drunk she is? And more importantly, is someone with a weakness for wings and rings a good chef?

Hint: not necessarily.

The idea of a skinny chef nowadays seems to be connected with people who only cook health food. That’s a shame. A chef who can cook good food yet eat in moderation is truly commendable. Let’s not, as they say, judge a book by its cover.


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