Aug. 10, 2022

What is a Chef with Taffy Elrod

What is a Chef with Taffy Elrod

This week's "What is a Chef" episode is with Taffy Elrod. She’s a chef, restaurant owner, cooking instructor, recipe developer, and food writer with 20 years of experience in the food industry.

Stay tuned for my full episode with her which will be released soon.

Taffy Elrod
Taffy’s Website
Taffy’s Instagram
Taffy’s Twitter

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Covid has redefined the world of dining. While the pandemic certainly upended the restaurant experience, the personal chef industry experienced record growth.

The United States Personal Chef Association represents nearly 1,000 chefs around the US and Canada (and even Italy); USPCA provides a strategic backbone that includes liability insurance, training, communications, certification, and more. It’s a reassurance to consumers that the chef coming into their home is prepared to offer them an experience with their meal.
 
  Now, join with our Inflation Fighter Special, and save $75 on Premier, Provisional and Preparatory memberships.  You can join today at www.uspca.org and use the code: Inflationfighter22.  Questions call Angela at 800-995-2138 ext 705 or email aprather@uspca.org. Payment plans are available

Transcript
Chris Spear:

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, farmers, 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. Hey, everyone, this is Chris and this is Chefs Without Restaurants. I am back this week with another one of our what is a chef episodes. If you've been listening to the show for any time now you know that I've been talking about this all season long with most of our guests. So today's answer comes from Chef Taffy Elrod. Taffy and I talked and had a great conversation, and I look forward to releasing that whole episode, which will probably be in a week or two. In the meantime, I wanted to drop this mini episode with her response to that question. Taffy is a chef, cooking instructor and food writer based in New York's Hudson Valley. She's also a previous restaurant owner, and we're going to talk about that during her full episode. So I want to get her take on what a chef is. I'm going to keep this intro short and sweet. I will get more into her background when we release the full episode. As always, I think you know I like to connect with people on social media, feel free to hit me up at Chefs Without Restaurants on Instagram. And if I'm going to direct you to one place, it's going to be chefs without restaurants.org. You can find links to not only the newest episode, but you can sign up for our weekly newsletter, you can find a connect to the Facebook group. It's a private group where we're sharing gig opportunities and resources for culinary entrepreneurs. And if you're a chef, or caterer or have a food truck and you want to be entered into our database, there's a link for that too. Just another way that I'm trying to help people get more business for their jobs. Right now that database is free. And reviews people. I know you're listening, I would love for people to leave more reviews. I know not every platform offers them. So here's my thing. If you are listening on Apple podcasts, please go take a second rate and review this episode. Just take like 20 seconds and say hey, and listen to Chefs Without Restaurants for a while and I love the podcast, I would really appreciate it. And the show would not be possible without the support of our sponsors. So the show will be coming right up after a word from this week's sponsor. COVID has redefined the world of dining. While the pandemic certainly up into the restaurant experience the personal chef industry experienced record growth. The United States personal chef Association represents nearly 1000 chefs around the US and Canada and even Italy. USPCA provides a strategic backbone that includes liability insurance, training, communications, certification and more. It's a reassurance to consumers that the chef coming into their home is prepared to offer them an experience along with their meal. Now join with our inflation fighter special and save $75 on premier provisional and preparatory memberships, you can join today at uspca.org and use code "inflationfighter22". You can call Angela with questions at 1-800-995-2138 extension 705 or email her aprather@uspca.org. Payment plans are available. And as always, all this information will be in the show notes. And now on with the show. Thanks so much and have a great week. This is a question I've been asking everyone this season. What does it mean to you to be a chef? You know, I think I mean, I guess I'm not gonna put anything on it. What does it mean to you to be a chef?

Taffy Elrod:

Yeah, you know, that is such a loaded question for, for me and I think for I think in our industry right now for everybody. I think I you know, at some point at teaching, professionally teaching culinary students and having a restaurant of my own, I started to refer to myself as Chef and I started to be referred to as Chef. All right I honestly think of myself more as a professional cook. Because that term chef has a lot of heavy weight, you know, carries a lot of connotations of brigade and the hierarchy. And a culture, of restaurant culture of food culture, that is pretty archaic. But I also think a lot of people like me, a lot of women, a lot of people of color, you know, black women have been denied the respect of that term, too. So, you know, for me, I carry it because I think I have a right to it. And I would like it to be more inclusive than it has been in the past. But also with, you know, with caveats, knowing that maybe it doesn't represent always the greatest culture, do you think

Chris Spear:

you have to use it because it provides some kind of legitimacy. And I've heard Zoja, Jonah said the same thing. I think Sara Holman said the same thing that, you know, Sarah had a publicist and said, you know, you need to put the word chef in your bio, and your website or whatever. And I keep hearing this over and over these people saying, Yeah, I'm, I'm a cook, but I've been told I need to call myself a chef so that I can get work or get deals or whatever, do you feel kind of the same way?

Taffy Elrod:

No, you know, and that's why I don't think like, I felt like, there came a point where, you know, in the industry, because people, you know, unfortunately, people would walk in the kitchen and think, you know, think I'm the lowest person on the totem pole on the wrong no matter what, right, you know, see me and see, oh, she must, whatever, she's got to have the least power in this kitchen. So that's what I mean, when I say I feel like, you know, I have earned the right to it. And maybe I need to carry it to say, hey, you know, I've worked my way up for a long time, I have the knowledge, I have the, you know, that level of professionalism, and I have a right to it. But when I think about myself, I don't see myself as somebody who is, you know, a chef who's in charge of, or who's in that system in that traditional way in that brigade system. But the word itself, honestly, I think, at this point has come to is coming to the point where it has like, almost no meaning is everyone is calling themselves a chef now. Like everybody on social media. I'm a popcorn chef. I'm

Chris Spear:

You're a charcuterie board chef.

Unknown:

Exactly. I hear people saying pizza chef now which I find very confusing. Right pizza shop.

Chris Spear:

I mean, if you can be a sandwich artists, you can be a pizza chef.

Unknown:

Well, but you know, I mean, my husband's a professional pizza maker, he calls himself you know, a pizza man or a Pete sola not pizza shop. I don't like what does that mean? So, you know, I mean, they're just putting a pending that word on to everything. And so and I hear people all the time calling themselves chef one, because they have gained some social media fame, or they've done something, you know, it just means you have cooked something. It's become it's becoming more and more and more diluted. i That's for sure. So, you know, maybe, I don't know, maybe that's okay. So, when it came to the point where, you know, 15 years are just always cooking, being in the kitchen, running a kitchen, having students, you know, with my students, my students called me chef, they needed that, you know, what I mean? Like, as a part of that in a professional setting training students, like, I'm sure they, you know, they need to have that understanding of me as who I was in the kitchen for myself and for them, and you know, that running the restaurant, but yeah, I don't, I still have like, kind of mixed feelings about it. Because I feel like there's nothing wrong with being because I also feel like, historically, and currently, you know, there's all this Oh, lotting of what a chef is, there's still a lot of gatekeeping on that term, isn't there? There's a lot of gatekeeping and, you know, and there's this kind of romanticizing of it. La, everybody right now is, I think still very excited about the bear.

Chris Spear:

Really, I What's the show? Now just I don't I don't know. I mean, people who aren't even in the industry are like posting videos, clips, memes,

Unknown:

you know, and that side of it has for all of eternity basic interview, before the days of the celebrity chef, and before that, you know, there's just eons of heritage of cooks of professional cooks, who weren't a part of a French brigade, you know, or a Western, organized kitchen. Or they were but they you know, still weren't called chef that have been made. Getting food, creating food professionally, or at home. You know, a lot of we think of home cooks on a small scale. But for a lot of people from a lot of cultures, being a home cook is large scale, you're talking about cooking for everybody's weddings, you know, you're talking about every occasion, you're talking about cooking for your entire community. So what a home cook is, a lot of those home cooks would absolutely qualify as a chef, you know, so that's what I mean, I don't you know, the terminology, I think we need to expand our terminology. And we need to expand our understanding of who is expert or professional in their cooking skills and their cooking knowledge and have more respect for a lot of people who are doing a lot of cooking a lot of the time. But I went to culinary school, I worked in restaurants, I tutored, I was a private chef, I taught I'm still doing it now. You know, I have Chef on my, my name, because I guess, again, like I said, because I feel like a lot of black women in my position have earned it and not been able to use it. So, you know,

Chris Spear:

well, let's crowdsource a new definition of what that means. That's what I'm trying to do here.

Unknown:

Yeah. I'll be curious. Because of course, you know, what does it mean? It means the Chief of Staff chief the kitchen, you know, so

Chris Spear:

go to chefs without restaurants.org To find our Facebook group, mailing list and Chef database. The community is free to join. You'll get gig opportunities, advice on building and growing your business, and you'll never miss an episode of our podcast. Have a great week.