This week, we have a mini-episode about what it means to be a chef. This is something I'm asking many of the guests as part of my upcoming season 3 interviews. I thought it would be great to get as much insight on this as possible, from many different people in the food and beverage industry.
Today's answer comes from David Pollack. He's a chef in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania region. After experiencing kidney failure in 2003, and undergoing dialysis, David finally received a kidney transplant. Like all people with kidney issues, he had to change the way he cooked and ate. Taking what he learned about his new diet, and combining it with his knowledge of cooking, he’s created Cooking Without Kidneys. David is in the early stages of creating this non-profit organization. Currently, he’s sharing recipes on his website, and has a video series as well.
You can find my full conversation with him here or wherever you get your podcasts.
Looking to make better pizza? How about bagels, bread, or English muffins? Then you need a Baking Steel. Don’t just take my word for it. Kenji López-Alt of Serious Eats/The Food Lab said “this is the answer I've been waiting for to produce consistently awesome pizza over and over”.
David Pollack and Cooking Without Kidneys
CHEFS WITHOUT RESTAURANTS
Founder Chris Spear’s personal chef business Perfect Little Bites
Welcome to the Chefs Without Restaurants podcast. I'm your host Chris spear. On the show. I have conversations with culinary entrepreneurs and people in the food and beverage industry who took a different route. Their caterers, research chefs, personal chefs, cookbook authors, food truckers, farmer's cottage bakers and all sorts of culinary renegades. I myself fall into the personal chef category as I started my own personal chef business perfect little bites 11 years ago. And while I started working in kitchens in the early 90s, I've literally never worked in a restaurant. Happy Tuesday everyone. This is a another one of our mini episodes on what it means to be a chef. I know Tuesday is normally long form release day, but episode isn't ready to come out. But it will be out this Friday. In the meantime, I talked to one of my best friends David Pollack, about what it means to be a chef, you might have caught my episode with Dave, way back towards the end of season one. Dave's done a number of things in the food world, but most recently, he's really focusing on his nonprofit called Cooking without kidneys. Dave has had kidney failure and spent a number of years on dialysis. Thankfully, he's since received a transplant. So he's doing well. But one of the things Dave really has to be careful of is what he eats, you know, he wants to make sure that this kidney continues to function. So something he's really passionate about is teaching people who have kidney failure and or maybe on dialysis how to eat better. So that's why he's working on this nonprofit called Cooking without kidneys. He's currently creating a video series. And he's going to be doing all kinds of things like culinary competitions, and potentially putting out a cookbook, which I think is really cool. So here's Dave, on his opinion on what it means to be a chef. And if you're enjoying the show, as I've said before, I would love it for you to share with everyone let them know that the Chefs Without Restaurants podcast is out there. And then come back on Friday for my full podcast episode with Andrus Langston, who is the founder of baking steel. That's a good one, we talk a lot about pizza and how he created the baking steel. And here's the episode. Enjoy. David Pollock. Welcome back to the show. I've been doing something this season called what is a chef? I did not get to ask you this question when you were on the show last year. But I do want to ask you right now, what is the chef to you?David Pollack:
So a chef, to me has always been he's been the leader. He's been the person who's been not just in charge of the kitchen. But he's also been the guy who's been a mentor who's been a teacher. I've worked with some great chefs that have taught me a lot and I try to pass on to others and things that I've learned from them. So to me, it's always been being a chef has always been about leadership, it's always been about mentorship, and training those to take your place would beChris Spear:
Can I push back on that just a little bit? The only? So I guess the follow up question I have to that is does that mean you can't be a chef or you're not a chef, if you don't have people who work under you? What if you are a personal chef, what if you work in research and development and you're part of a very small team? Maybe you don't have anyone under you? Does that mean you're not a chef?Unknown:
No. That doesn't mean that you're not a chef. Because you may be still be a team of one leading yourself. But you're also passing on your knowledge. You know, whether it's your got recipes up on a website, like I do with click kidneys, or whether it is you're saying there and you're actually training your clients how to make a specific dish that they love that you do. You're still passing on that knowledge, you're still people are still looking up to you in that leadership role.Chris Spear:
Well, thanks for expanding on that and not that anyone needs to explain themselves but I do feel that this is where a lot of people stand is that the chef is the leader in the kitchen. And that that comes with kind of leading a team, usually in the form of employees, which is why I kind of wanted to see where your mind is that with this one,Unknown:
you know my whole idea of a chef I'm going to look this up real quick because there is a technical definition for the word,Chris Spear:
but who but who? Whose definition? And I guess that's what this comes down to, is you say there's a technical definition but who gets to define what a chef is? Are we talking about like classical French brigade Escoffier, a, you know, kind of things.Unknown:
You know, you can look at it that way, from what Webster says it's a professional cook in the kitchen. That's an old meaning the chef was a person who was also a liaison between the royalty and his staff. He was the representative. So he's always been a leader. And even if he's just a leader of one where he's doing a small, intimate dinner for two people, you know, he's still a chef in his own right.Chris Spear:
But couldn't that person also be just a cook as well,Unknown:
I think that difference comes in, where if you are just a cook, you just enjoy the cooking aspect. Being a chef is that much more. You know, it's not about just enjoying and loving what you do, because there's multiple people that I've met that have had the passion for it. And they just didn't get the hours and how much actual work it takes to actually stand there and do the job. Even if you're on your own. And you could attest to this, Chris, you know, with your personal chef business with perfect little bites. There's a ton of work that you put into just doing two dinners a week.Chris Spear:
Oh, hell yeah.Unknown:
It really is, you know, a position of leadership. And you're a trainer, a teacher.Chris Spear:
I like that. I think that's a great answer. And thanks for coming on. For this really quickly. I'm gonna direct everyone to where they can find the full show that we did with you last year. But really quickly, where should we send people if they want to learn more about you and what it is you're doing?Unknown:
Cooking without kidneys.wordpress.com It's where all the recipes are. You could also look up the nonprofit on YouTube, or on eat this TV shows called Cooking without kidneys. It really is a nonprofit. It's all about helping people who are on dialysis, not just survive, but thrive through food. So check it out.Chris Spear:
We will put all that in the show notes people will be able to find those awesome cooking videos. I've been enjoying watching them. Dave, thanks so much. We will have you back on the show for I'm sure another full length episode at some point.Unknown:
Absolutely. And I'm looking forward to it. Go to chefsChris Spear:
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