Ask Grandpa: Difference between chef and cook does exist

Ask Grandpa
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My girlfriend calls herself a chef. I say she is a short-order cook. The closest she got to an education in culinary arts was her home economics class in high school. Sure, she can flip a burger, drop fries in the oil, and even do a good omelette. But casseroles, soups, or desserts are way out of her league. She still insists on introducing herself as a chef. Her claim is that her experience in the kitchen gives her that designation. What do you say?

Grandpa says: The term chef implies a certain level of education in the science and art of food preparation and service. A chef understands the chemical interaction between various ingredients and temperatures. This is not to discount a good cook! I would say the difference is about the same as the difference between a counselor and a psychologist. A good cook is an invaluable asset to any restaurant or home. I once heard the perfect phrase to differentiate between a good cook and a chef. A cook knows what to put into a recipe. A chef knows why.

Now, Grandpa has a question for you: What does it matter what she calls herself? She may need the ego boost. Have you ever heard the expression, “to succeed, make as if…’? I suggest you encourage her to pursue a formal education in the culinary arts. There is an excellent school right here in the Fox Valley. Be supportive of her dream!

Your advice was all wet! I got a call from the State’s Department of Health and Human Services doing a survey on mental health. As you suggested, I said that I do not answer questions on the phone and I hung up. I hit the call back button and the out going message confirmed that it was, indeed, the Department of Health and Human Services taking a survey! You made me feel like a fool!

Grandpa says: I stand by my advice. Any Bozo can record anything on an answering machine or voice mail’s out-going message. Nobody can make you feel anything. Your feelings are controlled solely by your own thoughts. Should you choose to not to accept my advice on how to handle these cold calls, you have that right and privilege. No matter what you chose to do, be ready for the consequences. You may be a scammer’s favorite target. I suggest you get a good identity-protection service. You will need it.

What is a peor? One of our salespersons referred to our sales manager as a peor. I felt foolish for agreeing when I don’t even know the meaning of the word. I could not find it in my Webster’s and my spell check tells me I am not spelling it correctly. Is it even a real word or was (the co-worker) messing with us?

Grandpa says: Not knowing how (s)he meant it, your boss is either a mountain near Jordan or the pagan god that was worshipped there. Either way, it does not sound complimentary.

Got something stuck in your craw? Ask Grandpa. Address your letters to Ask Grandpa c/o The Voice, PO Box 123, Aurora, IL 60507 or send an E-mail to

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