What Kind of Chef Are You?

by Ben Miller

Giving, methodical, competitive, healthy, or innovative? Those are the options for chef type provided in yesterday’s Well column in yesterday’s New York Times. The article describes how the type of chef you are can affect the likelihood of making a healthy dish versus one that might be heavier on the butter or cream. Fortunately, the Well blog also contained a quiz so at home readers could figure out their own chef type. Like any good magazine/media quiz it’s silly and gimmicky, but it does break the chef types down into five categories:

a) Giving: Friendly, well-liked and enthusiastic, giving cooks seldom experiment, love baking and like to serve tried-and-true family favorites, although that sometimes means serving less healthful foods.

b) Methodical:
Talented cooks who rely heavily on recipes. The methodical cook has refined tastes and manners. Their creations always look exactly like the picture in the cookbook.

c) Healthy: Optimistic, book-loving, nature enthusiasts, healthy cooks experiment with fish, fresh produce and herbs. Health comes first, even if it means sometimes sacrificing taste.

d) Competitive: The Iron Chef of the neighborhood, competitive cooks have dominant personalities and are intense perfectionists who love to impress their guests.

e) Innovative: Creative and trend-setting, innovative cooks seldom use recipes and like to experiment with ingredients, cuisine styles and cooking methods.

So where do the IFA chefs fit in the Times’ categories?

Giving: Amanda Simon, Kate Steadman, Kay Steiger

Methodical: Matthew Yglesias

Competitive: Ben Miller

Innovative: Amanda Mattos, Spencer Ackerman, Kriston Capps

Appreciative taker of delicious baked goods voluntarily made by friends: Kriston Capps

The article claims that this information is useful because home chefs that are more likely to cook unhealthy dishes can be aware of their “biases” and correct for them. To me, it basically seems like if you’re a friendly person you’ll probably get stuck in the “giving” category and be labeled as cooking unhealthy food–not exactly the most exact way to going about this process. Oh, and none of us are healthy.

UPDATE: Fixed Kriston’s designation and added some context.


8 responses to “What Kind of Chef Are You?

  1. Taker wasn’t actually an option. I said that if all givers are bakers, then I’m a taker. Because I like baked goods made by my friends! But hanging out in space like that with no context, “taker” makes me sound like a jerk.

  2. Incidentally, does it say anything (either about the metric or the IFA) that 3 of the IFA’s 4 women used the maternal-sounding “Giver” label to describe themselves?

  3. @Kriston is that better?

    @Dara, some of us did notice that. In this case I’d guess that it’s more of a flaw in the methodology because two of the questions deal with do you like to hang out with friends in your spare time and do you think that you’re outgoing and friendly. I’d guess that’s what tipped them toward giver, rather than anything to do with cooking.

  4. I’m methodical, though my wife pushes innovation (to avoid her biases).

  5. @Dara — I was actually pretty unhappy with that. I didn’t really “choose” it either — my answers were all over the map but I had 2 a’s only. Also, I definitely try new things, etc. If anything, the way that quiz was written was extremely gendered.

  6. e, c, b, c, d. I guess I’m “Healthy”, although “e” was also an accurate answer for one of the questions so maybe I’m healthy and innovative.

  7. I’m giving. Today is Sunday. A sunny morning, the first weekend of spring. Take some time and GIVE the gift of a simple, sweet breakfast treat… I made some muffins this morning. GAVE them to my boys before sending them out. What can make a cook feel better? (posted the recipe here if anyone likes really simple country cooking recipes: http://highmountainmuse.wordpress.com/2009/03/21/breakfast-muffins/

  8. hold on — cooking with “ethnic” makes you innovative? what about “ethnic” people? add cultural biases onto this quiz’s gender biases.

    also, i’m market-focused and fall under healthy on a few questions, but i definitely keep things simple and cook what’s comforting, which, by chance, involves a lot of spices and “ethnic” influences. where does this leave me, quiz?

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