Oct 292012

Every so often a resume claiming the distinction of “Master Chef” flops up on the screen.

Most of them are  full of baloney.

“Master Chef” is one of those titles that sounds impressive and in all but a few cases means nothing. PBS started this when Julia Childs, who was not in truth even a chef  launched her show of American Master Chefs.

Julia Childs was a visionary culinarian and possibly the best cook and one of the finest instructors ever to stand in front of a camera, and since she taught us all, she was ironically a “master” and definitely masterful, but not really a chef, because she did not manage a kitchen full of cooks.  (Chef essentially means “boss”)  Of course sine she was Julia as far as I am  concerned she could have called herself Queen, and that would be all right.  Most of the chefs she dealt with, however, were not Master Chefs, but the press picked the term up and has been abusing it like a terrier shaking a dead rat ever since.

The problem is that nobody knows what a Master Chef is, assuming it to be just another American hyperbole (exaggeration) in the style of “Top Chef” or “Culinary Passion”. It’s not.

“Master Chef” is a certified career station which comes from the European guild system and still exists there. The certification process lasts two years if done concurrently with work or four months in a full time course, and it requires at least five or six years of experience as a “journeyman” cook and sous chef or chef de cuisine – possibly more. “Master” (Maitre, Meister) means “teacher”. It does not address flavor or creativity but the ability and right to teach.

The purpose of the Master Chef certification is to certify apprentice masters, who thus can train aspiring cooks. Chef owners reap great benefit from the process, as they can keep and develop low wage and increasingly skilled  staff for two to three years. Hotel Executive Chefs and chefs with training responsibilities also profit from the title.

The certification guarantees that the Master Chef knows everything about products, production, technique, food safety, numbers, science, and all of the vast knowledge you would want your teacher to have. It does not guarantee fabulous food or talent or culinary brilliance.

Several years ago Ferdinand Metz and the Culinary Institute of America joined forces to create a Master Chef certification in the United States. This differs somewhat from the European model, as it does not require as much hands on experience prior to certification. I  have seen it more as an MA degree in food, and from those candidates I have worked with, a career choice which frequently takes the bearer out of the kitchen into the more intellectual areas of the industry.

The American as well as the European Master Chef / Meisterchef processes are demanding, and the certified chefs are recognized as experts. Those chefs celebrated for five star cuisine – those running the most  highly acknowledged kitchens – are  most likely not certified.

Real Master Chefs list the certification with date note that it is certified. The rest of the “Master Chefs” are pretenders or poor souls naïve enough to believe the blather bandied about by an increasingly ill informed media.  In other words, “Master Chef” is in most cases simply tacky resume bling. Not to be impressed.

Mar 132012

Imagine you are at a party—-

Or at a bar and trying to make time with the person next to you. Or, for that matter one the beach. It doesn’t matter, but you are communicating and trying to impress him/her/them with your personality, your savoir affair, your knowledge and just your great you-ness.  Or better  yet, imagine them trying to impress you. Here’s what they say:

“Hello. My focus is and inspiring people to become better.”

“Hi, there. Employing a  Transformational Leadership  approach by enhancing motivation, morale and performance is my method.”

“Hi. My name is Jake. I provide the framework for unparalleled service. Instilling this kind of dedication in others is my expertise.”

How likely are you to take this dude home, to invite this woman out to dinner, to want to wake up next to this full of him/herself , messianic, inflated  popinjay?

I don’t know about you, but if we were at the beach, I’d probably whack him upside the head with my sand bucket and run like crazy. These are NOT great pickup lines. And yet, people try to engage me with these and similar jewels of maladroit self-promotion all the time.

It’s a pretty stupid way to try to start a relationship. Perhaps if we back up a bit and view the potential employment introduction process from another angle, namely that mentioned above – a first approach to an interesting person you are attempting to impress, we can make more sense of a good way to get there.

First, then, the people who read our resume are  just that – people – the kind who sit on beaches and go to parties and talk to people at bars or PTA meetings – and they have the same kind of reactions to what others say  in their work as they would in real life – in the above situation their reaction would be a wincing gag reflex with a thought bubble saying, “Gee, what a pompous, bs’ing jackass.”  Fortunately for them/me, in the hiring process there is no need for a pail of sand upside the head. “Click, Delete” is quick and effective.

Of course we know why you are doing this: 1) You are trying to impress us, and 2) you are in your deepest essence  a pompous bs’ing jackass. (In real life we use a slightly different term.)

The latter quality is something you might want to suppress,  but how would you do that?

For one thing stop telling people you are God. No matter how secure you are in the knowledge. It creeps them out. For another, don’t talk about you-the-oh-too-fabulous-person, talk about the thing you did or the place you did it. Where you worked, the people you worked with.

Back to the beach: How would, “Wow! That water is so warm and calm. Don’t you just love it here?  Oh, by the way, I am Jake/Sally (extend hand). The Bar:  Did you just hear that thunder? Or was that a garbage truck tipping over?”  Point: It’s not about you.

The same applies to the initial written contact with people you want to work for. You are courting them, not selling them a used Edsel. You are angling for a first date, AKA interview, and possibly a walk down the aisle, or at least an extended fling. A basic rule of the approach either professionally or personally is: Don’t be repulsive. The “I am the best person I know” type of introduction generally repels. Let’s try a slightly formalized wording on the cover letter.

“I’ve been fortunate in spending seven years at various restaurants of the Food Ville Corporation in which I have learned their policies of responsibility sharing and staff respect. Food Ville’s operations are highly staff and guest centered with a focus on guest satisfaction and smooth front / back functioning which permits frictionless operations in high quality locations of up to 400 seats. I am seeking an opportunity to move forward with the skills and philosophies learned in their employ.”

See? Not about you. I’d read that one without wincing. That’s progress.

Do, however, remember, that the job of a cover letter is to explain things the reader NEEDS TO KNOW, and that more is always less in writing them.






Jan 102012

There are no fool proof systems, because fools are so ingenious (Will Rogers), so there is no way to write complete directions on  not writing a bad cover letter, because the foolish writers always find new ways to do it wrong.

There is, however, one good rule that can eliminate a lot of mistakes: Write it to someone – know who you are writing to.

The various web sites and broadcast software of the IT revolution make it possible for you, the job seeker, to send out inquires to dozens or hundreds or thousands of people at a time, so the fools among you (present company of course excepted) write or more likely copy a boilerplate and shoot it off  in bulk to every recruiter and job opening in the country. The even more foolish send out boiler plate covers to each one individually.

 Here an example:


“To Whom It May Concern:,

I am contacting you to explore employment opportunities with your organization.  The accompanying resume will provide you with details regarding my professional experience, education and culinary skills.

You will note that I have a wide range of experience in all areas of culinary arts and have built a reputation as a diligent employee and professional who is able to complete detailed and complicated tasks in a fast paced and accurate fashion.  In addition, I work effectively with a kitchen staff in efforts to produce maximum results and food that is exquisite.

I am convinced that an individual with my talents, combined with my commitment to quality performance and that “can do” attitude will make a valuable contribution to your team.

At your convenience, I would like the opportunity to meet with you to discuss the goals and objectives of your organization and how my experience and abilities will help in fulfilling those goals.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.  I look forward to hearing from you soon.




Well, Zorg,


You are not going to  hear from me or any of my colleagues sooner or later because:

1)      We have all read this cover letter a thousand times.

2)      There are no opportunities in my organization, which means, that you are too lazy to look. My people are chefs. They can’t be lazy.

3)      Granted,  you did take a little time to tweak it – “food that is exquisite”. My guess is that your sense of exquisite and mine don’t quite match. The term “full of himself” keeps bubbling up. Of course I haven’t taken time to look at the resume, because the cover letter is not inviting.

4)      If I take you as a candidate, I do work, for which you pay nothing. I at least expect you to respect me enough to look up what company you are sending this to. In other words, nobody is a  whom it may concern.

5)      “You will note that I have a wide range of experience in all areas of culinary arts” Bogus. No I won’t. You don’t. Nobody does. You have some experience in some areas of the culinary arts. You really weren’t thinking very much when you wrote that.  Chefs have to think about a lot of things at the same time. Smart is a requirement.

6)  “I am convinced that an individual with my talents, combined with my commitment to quality performance and that “can do” attitude will make a valuable contribution to your team.” Self esteem is at times positive, but your belief in your own value is hardly going to change anyone’s interest level.

7)      You look forward to hearing from me soon. That’s a bit pushy and audacious, and it saddens me to think that you may be hanging by the phone waiting for a call, but it must be. That little nudge adds a bit of insult to injury (or rather minor annoyance to minor annoyance.) I have several hundred people at any time, and you want to take time out to  discuss your abilities, but you haven’t spared  a a thirty second Google search to find out who I am. What kind of work ethic is that? Am I going to do this to a client?

8)      My guess is that you didn’t think. You figured this is how it is done and just did a quickie cut paste and tweak job, but what does that say about your work ethic as a chef? Not a lot really. Nor does it say much about  your respect for the people you work with or want to work with, and good chefs and managers respect others.

So, let’s summarize. Your short cover letter presents you as  lazy, not too bright, uncreative, full of yourself, demanding,  lacking of grace and disrespectful of others. Why ever would I think of bringing you into my organization?’ You’ve managed to make a fairly rotten first impression, which reduces your chances of making a second impression.

If none of this applies to you, you  need to show it by putting a better foot/cover letter forward, or don’t send one. Shorter is better. I scan them for important content (where you seek work, your unique circumstances etc – and I delete them if there is nothing of value. Sorry, if you were proud of the letter, but try again. It serves you poorly.

The bottom line: Write your cover letter. Don’t use it as advertising, don’t make demands of the sender, and above all know who it is going to – or at least how you found them. All it takes is something like, “I discovered your opening on waltersjobsite.com and would be interested in being considered as a candidate. I have 12 years of experience in all positions and three as Executive Chef, my final overseeing three locations. My ideal area of employment would be New Orleans, but I would be open to relocation. I would be happy to answer any questions you might have.”

Now that, would tell me something important.

It’s really perplexing that something so simple could be done so wrong in so many ways.

Oh, and Zorg: Don’t cut and paste that. Write your own.

Nov 012011

When I took over the flagging family recruiting firm I have since  been running for some 25 years, I learned early that what seemed obvious to me as often or not had nothing to do with the truth. A candidate who avowed his passion really wanted to sell fish, or a chef who  had come to San Francisco to enter the big waters of the culinary world really wanted something out in Stockton or down in Cupertino.

More importantly, I learned that things which seemed obvious to me were only obvious to me and not to anyone else. Things I assumed to be general knowledge were completely foreign to my candidates and clients,  whether it was a restaurant or a technique or just some technical policy or the quality of a location “everyone” knows.

After one terrific shock and epiphany as to how much people in general  – even full professionals – don’t know, I taped a sign on the inside edge of my desk, where nobody but me could see it:

I am still learning to be sure my candidate or client is on the same page as I am, that they know what I mean when I reference a chef or resume, and I still catch situations where people I’d swear would know simply don’t. .

This  rule, “Make No Assumptions”,  is as important to you as a candidate as it is to me as a recruiter, or, for that matter, anyone who hires you. That level of assumption – giving your audience more credit for general knowledge and industry insight than  s/he deserves – is a career stumbling block.  You, too,  need to be able to communicate all important and pertinent information about your background clearly and completely to potential employers, whoever they are and however all knowing or not knowing they may be.

When you write a resume,  you are writing it to someone. Half the time you won’t know who that someone is – A savvy restaurant owner? A  secretary? An intern or temp? An administrative executive with good business sense but limited  culinary resources?  – so your best bet is to aim at the lowest common denominator and clearly state everything that is pertinent to your background.  Begin with the premise that your audience doesn’t know the obvious about the places you worked, what you did there, or now and then,  much about the industry and its values at all. The rule I tell candidates is that you have to account for the small but important possibility that your resume’s audience is:

  • Just  not all that bright
  • An intern or a temp with a laundry list of simplistic candidate requirements
  • An administrative assistant who knows little about the business
  • Any one of the restaurant staff: Tired, over worked and unfocused or just  ADD.
  • So stressed and hurried that they only read the captions.

They probably won’t be, but it happens often enough to justify the practice of not omitting information that they might be looking for. It’s not that nobody knows anything, but that a some  people don’t know everything and won’t take the time to educate themselves, so that becomes your job.

So: If you worked at Mo’s Tavern, Missouri, and Mo’s Tavern is a high end French restaurant serving 400 covers a night, and it just got nominated for the James Beard Award, that’s pertinent. Communicate that information. Potential employers and their minions are not going to go find it for themselves. If you were in charge of five outlets, communicate that. If you worked for the same group at five different restaurants, show it. Don’t expect a manager or an HR clerk to know that your restaurant part of a celebrity chef’s empire. Tell them.

If you as chef of La Rondelle did all the butchering or the pastry or oversaw a bakery, let them know. If they don’t, few will go out and do some research.  I do, and every now and then, but I am the exception. It is your duty to shine a clear light on your background, not mine or some restaurant owner’s to figure it out for ourselves.

It’s that simple. Tell people what they need to know in order to make a logical decision whether they should pursue you as their next great hire or not. It helps a lot. If they do know, then your explanation will not harm your chances, and if they don’t, it’s at the very least considerate of you to make the process easier for them.

Small side story: About fifteen years ago one of SF’s grande dame hotels called me to ask about one of the best sauciers in town. The young man had gone back and forth to France, mostly because he liked the girls, and had in the process worked  in some of the top Michelin starred restaurants. One of the great old French chefs sent him to me when he returned to the states, and, as he needed money and a friend with a chicken-in-a-basket kind of place needed help on the spot,  I sent him for an interim position, which he did beautifully while he looked for something more suitable.

His resume eventually landed in the in-basket of the hotel’s HR department, from which a young woman called me to verify and describe the fried chicken job. I did,  adding that he had worked at several restaurants with two and one with three Michelin stars.

The hotel staffer did not respond.  She continued to ask about the neighborhood joint, and I, perplexed, kept forcing the point that he had far more interesting background. Finally I asked, “Why do you want to  know about the pub, when he worked at MICHELIN starred restaurants??”, to which the HR employee responded – “What’s that? Is it important?”

That young woman is more likely than not going to be the one reading your  resume first and deciding if it goes to someone able to make the decision to interview you. Act accordingly. Make no assumptions.





Jan 042011

When you are communicating with someone you don’t know,   you lack the advantage of face to face understsanding. You’ve probably seen what happens on a discussion board or online forum, when someone responds innocently enough to a question, but the inferred tone relays hostility or rudeness. (Or Heavens forbid, it’s ALL CAPS AND YOU THINK HE”S SCREAMING AT YOU.)

That can happen in any short correspondence.  You think you are saying one thing and the guy at the other end of the postal route / electronic path gets a completely different impression. This happens a lot when applicants write something they’ve seen a lot and think sounds impressive, without stopping to think about it. Cliches are things that are said so often they  lose some meaning, or at least to some people. They are about as impressive as parsley and red cabbage garnish.  Worse than the garnish, some of them are actually rude or annoying to people who receive them.

Since it’s  your job to avoid this, not theirs to figure out what you really meant, you might want to stop and think about what you write really means or might mean to someone else. At least it is in your interest.

Let’s look at a couple of favorites:

You say: Please contact me at your earliest convenience. You mean: I’d really like an opportunity to speak with you. He thinks:” Who the Hell does this jerk think he is? He says jump, and I say, How High?”  You  just unsuccessfully ordered someone to call you at once.

You say: “I consider myself to be exceptional well qualified to perform effectively and efficiently”. You mean: I have a strong track record and have the self confidence that comes from years of success in the industry. “ He understands, “I have a possibly over inflated opinion of myself.”

You say, “I am a five star chef.” You mean, “The restaurant was awarded five stars, while I was working there,” Reader may think, “Red light! Red light! Ego on the move. Do I want to put up with it?”

You say, “I am a well known chef. Please Google me / you can view my resume here.” You  mean: I am a well known chef and I expect you to take the effort to find out everything for yourself. She thinks, “Oy, Veh! What an ass!” She’s probably right.

You say: “ Objective: A management position in a highly  professional company where I can put my talents to full use.”   thinks, “Who isn’t?”  if he reads it at all. Most people don’t. What you might have done: Objective” After researching Lem’s Crab Palace, I am very interested  in learning more about the opportunity of chef”, Or “Your application on John’s Job Board dot Com is very interesting. I would like to apply for it.” You can do better, but you get the idea.

You say: “I am passionate about food,”. You mean either you are passionate about food or you love doing what you do or you are very ambitious and want to get ahead as fast as possible. She thinks, “Everyone says that. So what?”

It’s easy enough to do better: Look for the cliches (“as soon as possible”, “I consider myself”, “five star chef”) and think what you really mean, then say it. People who don’t do a lot of business correspondence, think pat phrases sound good. People who do a lot don’ think so.

I don’t remember the poet/professor who advised his students something to the effect of:  “If it feels comfortable as if you’d read it before, discard it.” That’s pretty good advice to anyone reaching out to a stranger looking for a job, or, for that matter, anything else. If it sounds really cool and professional, mistrust it.

You don’t think you can do it?  Try this: Get a tape recorder or record into your computer. Tell it what you want. Who you are and what you did at your jobs before you write anything. Imagine you are talking to your mother or your boyfriend or whoever you speak to casually. Then write it down and shorten it as much as you can.

Oct 142010

Every now and then someone sends me a Bio. Sometimes they send me a Bio and Resume combined, which is redundant. Now and then I get a CV. I find this strange, if it’s not from somewhere outside the country.

In the United States we use resumes to tell future employers what dandy specimens we are and why we should be allowed to play in their kitchens and dining rooms for money.  Resumes are supposed to provide as much information about your working career in as little space as possible. Resume is an English word with French roots, which means essentially summary or synopsis.

The British, being older as a civilization and probably classier than we are, use  the CV, or Curriculum Vitae.  It’s a Latin term which means a summary of your life, so a sort of pre-death, fill in the blanks  obituary. You might notice already a difference between the two: Your resume is about your trade and career only. In the CV you provide photo,  your birth date, your age, your marital status, your health, nationality, whether you own a boat or not and other information which, when  you consider it, has nothing to do with your ability to keep fifteen cooks in line and flip an egg.

In the US we not only don’t care about all that stuff, we aren’t allowed to ask.  Egg flipping and staff herding experience trump the color of your eyes in the US.(“colour”, if you are British.) . Of course Italy, France, Germany and a lot of other nice places use them, but they don’t have our laws. Be glad we don’t have theirs.

Some people like to call their resume their CV, because they think it sounds more sophisticated, but unless  you put on “wellies” when it’s raining, wear your “vest” under your shirt and see a “Mac” as an outer garment rather than a semi synthetic meat patty with lots of sweet stuff *,  you’re better to stick with “resume”. “CV” has an irritating and pretentious ring in America, and you’re probably not that kind of person.

What puzzles me is the use of a  Bio instead of a resume. Bio is short for biography. It’s an English word, thus not linguistically pretentious, taken from Greek (Picture of your life), and it’s a sort of (supposedly)  third party essay about what a whiz you are and how you got your passion from your Granny’s kitchen and how many people thought you were a phenom when you cooked for the King of Abzkadzia at the age of twelve.  Theoretically they are written by someone else – a marketing person who knows how to pile up adjectives like a $25 banana split. They are generally a bit gushing and little specific (Good resumes are specific).

Intended for marketing and media use, they are expected to be over the top and possibly just a smidgen beyond the boundaries of truth. They are not intended for job search use.

Of course bio’s are also the tool of preference when gathering investors for a restaurant. They want the story more than the facts, and if you’re hustling a service with a web site, you had better have a credible bio available.

Once in a while I am asked to write my bio. I stink at it , so they are rarely publicized. Knowing my own value, I am not driven to prove anything to anyone, and I am distrustful of anyone who can stand up and say with a straight face, “I am the best, I rock, My Food has been praised by sultans and pashas.”  I couldn’t write that stupid paragraph about how great I was going to be under my picture in the yearbook, and I’m glad I don’t have to read that today, so I just don’t have the skills or lack of modesty it takes to put a whopper out there.

Other people’s Bio’s for a job search make me queasy.  Self  promotion generally does. Of course, if you restaurant uses one to promote you, that’s different – let them.   The general public loves them. Actually if you’re good enough to for someone to pay for your bio, you probably don’t need one, anyway.  The best way to do it, by the way, is to just tell a good writer about yourself and let them put it together.

You’ll also want a bio  on hand if you have frequent congress with the press. A one paragraph bio should probably be in your box of tools.

Another issue with bio’s is that of property rights. If a restaurant pays someone to write your Bio, it’s not yours. It belongs to them, and using it for a job leaving the restaurant isn’t quite kosher. Of coursethey are not  going to use it after you leave, but then by the time  you leave a place it’s going to be old news, anyway.  The next one, if you need one, will be better.

Perhaps there’s a moral in here. Maybe there isn’t.

Small linguistic bonus: How to frazzle a Brit.

* If you really want to get a Brit’s attention, wait until he has had two drinks at the bar and look  for any woman in colored slacks, preferably pretty, although not an absolute requirement, behind him, then say, “Hey, look at that girl in the bright blue/pale pink/flashy yellow pants!” Five’ll get you ten that he falls off the bar stool as he whips around.  The British seem highly confused as to which garments go outside and which underneath.

Oct 122010

“I am a professional chef and Food is My Passion.” “I am a chef which is passionate about food.” “I’ve been passionate about food all my life.” Ah, the “R” rated resumes I get.

There must be a lot of heavy breathing going on in America’s kitchens. Everybody’s passionate about food/their art/their trade/chocolate. Cupcake makers profess passion for  their cupcakes. Grill cooks are passionate about their steak. Wine stewards are passionate about wine.  I get at least ten resumes a week claiming passion for food, wine, pastry or “my art,” which  means  that I have ten possibly hysterical people wanting me to represent them, which is at times unsettling.

Enough already.

Passion exists. It is a rare and precious state, the  polar opposite of reason,  the latter being a highly desirable trait in this industry.  It’s the grist of  “crimes of passion” and  “the throes of passion.”  True passion is your prime and possibly sole focus, which you pursue and defend from attack at all costs, including your own comfort, outside life and social niceties and sometimes family – possibly legalities.  Passion is more than joy or commitment, and it  carries those blessed or cursed with it forward with fearful, purpose driven momentum.

What declarers of passion probably intend to say is, “I am really interested in what I do,  I take joy in my work, I care about my business and am committed to it.” But since reality TV and the ever less articulate food press sling it around so much, it sounds cool, like the must have accessory for the culinary aspirant. It’s not.

I know people who seriously passionate. Wine importers Lorenzo Scarpone and Raphael Knapp.  Food experts like Joyce Goldstein. Chefs like Chris Cosentino, whose every sentence is somehow offal related. Their lives are their business, or better their calling, and their businesses are their lives with a space for family.  A few burn out early like a phosphorous fire, but the intelligent ones ascend to the top of their craft.  They are  kids who spend their vacations cooking for nothing, who put up 70 hour weeks if they are allowed to bask  in the shadow of some great chef for no pay, whose social lives are all about food or wine or what they do.  They submit to abusive positions to learn everything, even though their heads are about to burst with ideas about restaurants and pairings and odd ingredients. If their own restaurant fails they open another and another, running against the odds until they get it right, and when they do, the restaurant embodies an element of worship. It’s Pat the pastry chef who was fired from Moose’s because he wouldn’t go home until it was perfect. Most are extremely bright and articulate. Find yourself in a group of them and they talk food and nothing else. They live food, sleep food, play food, or wine or the object of their obsession. They have a thousand cookbooks.  They never say, “I’m passionate” or “Food is my Passion.” Many of them are slightly and delightfully off kilter.

There’s nothing wrong with not being passionate. For many practical purposes in the industry of bringing food to people being professional is actually better. Commitment, well-honed skills and knowledge are vastly preferable to passion for the majority of restaurants. There are plenty of celebrated chefs and restaurant world class professionals without passion, although they generally share a lot of hard work, dedication and practice. They take joy in what they do – who wouldn’t – they are dedicated and committed and grateful to have found a wonderful niche, and they are very good at it.  They have well trained palates, high standards and focused skills, and they are usually pretty rational.

I recently had the electrifying pleasure of watching two passionate chefs in conversation. A friend invited me to see Coi Owner Daniel Patterson and Rene Redzepi of Copenhagen’s Noma in a two man panel. They were so engrossed in their discussion of food, without a moderator to hinder them, that the evening went over by about an hour before they had realized, infecting every person  in the room with their single minded absorption to their trade. Redzepi in animated exuberance spoke at machine gun speed of eating on the floor in a village with no store, his roots, his ideas , his dreams, his staff, his kitchen, his love of French food, this and that, with Patterson absorbed, interjecting, expanding, explaining, complimenting, a match of back and forth with two men of a single mind.

Redzepi calls himself a “seal f*cker” which probably has little to do with sexual congress with pinnipeds – but it works, because passion is carnal, driven and sexual.   It is not articulate. It is not vocal. It doesn’t profess itself.   Neither Patterson nor Redzepi even mentioned being passionate.  They didn’t have to. It was obvious. Real passion doesn’t have or need a spokesperson.  It shows through in what you do and how your speak of the things you hold dear. Even if it’s offal.

If you really are passionate about food, let the passion itself do the talking. It will. Talking it to death just deflates its meaning.  If you want to escape from the cliche try something else: Love my  job, dedicated to developing my skills, take joy in my work, committed, pleasure, fortunate, because you don’t claim passion. It claims you.