Jan. 21, 2022

What is a Chef with Justin Khanna

What is a Chef with Justin Khanna

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 Justin Khanna. He is the co-founder of Voyager's Table, a bespoke event production company. He’s also the host of The Emulsion podcast, and has a YouTube channel that has more than 26,000 subscribers.  Justin spent a number of years working in, and staging in, some of the best restaurants in the world including Per Se, Grace, Noma and Frantzen.

You can find part 1 of my conversation with him here, and part 2 is here. If you'd like to hear me on his show, The Emulsion, that link can be found here.


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Chris Spear:

This is a Chefs Without Restaurants mini episode with Justin Khanna on what it means to be a chef. T Hey, everyone, this is Chris. As some of you might know, the Chefs Without Restaurants podcast is on hiatus in the month of January. This month, I've been recording a ton of episodes, and I'm getting ready to officially launch Season Three on Tuesday, February 1. So during the conversations for this upcoming season, I've been asking a lot of our guests what it means to be a chef. It's something I think is really important to be talking about right now, especially on this show. We're so many of the people don't work in restaurants. And I think the general public and consensus is that a chef is someone who works in a restaurant. So last week I dropped a little mini episode with Cody Marwine about what it means to him to be a chef. This week, my answer comes from Chef Justin Khanna. Now, Justin is not currently slated to be on season three. But he's someone who came on my show last year, or maybe even the year before. And we talked for almost two hours and I broke it into two episodes. And I really love that conversation. I would love it. If you went and checked out that conversation. Link will be in the show notes. And then I actually went on Justin's show The Emulsion podcast and we had another two hour conversation. So collectively, there's probably four hours of the two of us talking about food and beverage and you know pretty much everything in the food world. So I think they're great conversations, and I would love for you to listen to them. Justin's absolutely one of my favorite people to talk to about food. So when I started doing this thing about asking people what it means to be a chef, I just reached out to him via DM and said, Hey, can you record a little snippet send it over to me because I think your take would be really important, and I'd love to share it. So today's mini episode is from Justin Kana on what it means to be a chef.

Justin Khanna:

What is up folks, Justin Connor here host of the emulsion podcast. Thanks for having me, Chris. In my mind, being a chef means that you work with food in a professional capacity. And I think the words chef and food in some way are tied together in a foundational sense. So for all intents and purposes, let's keep them together. And it's gotten me in trouble in the past because you get those folks that comment. Okay, Justin, if I work in McDonald's, I can call myself a chef, right. And so I've got another way of looking at this and I'm sharing it here with you, Chris. And for all the Chefs Without Restaurants, podcast listeners, for the first time. Cooking is the verb. If you do that verb a lot. Let's say in a professional capacity you cook, you could be called a cook. Chase. Jarvis has this great quote where he says if you want to become the now and you need to do the verb, so we cook. However, there's another industry where this overlaps, and it's worth writing. If you want to become a writer you need to write. But what happens when you want to get a book deal, or start public speaking or consulting for companies, you start calling yourself an author. There are blog authors, book authors, research paper authors, and they have an esteem to them, because they hope to leverage that title for reach with greater opportunities. But that author title comes with a sense of responsibility. So to bring it back to us, that's what it means to be a chef to continue to do the verb that is cooking, but to layer responsibility on top of it. And that responsibility could be to your team, to your audience, to your guests, and ultimately to yourself a responsibility that a McDonald's employee might not have any use for or a desire to shoulder and that's okay. Because a lot of my original thesis from the video that's up on my YouTube channel holds up here. If you want clients that are going to pay two to three times your current rates, they want a chef, if you want to apply for that leadership position at the restaurant group that just came up on Craigslist or on culinary agents, they don't want to hear that you think you're just a cook. And if you've got goals to get a TV or a cookbook deal, they want to give that spot to a chef. And it's on us to be responsible stewards of that title and to continue to make it possible for more folks to be excited about taking on that responsibility. Thanks for having me.

Chris Spear:

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