Cooking Level "Expert"? - Buffy Whitney Blog at - 79952

Buffy Whitney

Cooking level "expert"? 
Mar. 2, 2009 4:37 pm 
Updated: Mar. 12, 2009 10:03 pm
How exactly does one assess their cooking level here at when you register for an account? Is this a serious question? How would you evaluate yourself? Me personally, I answered "professional" as I am a professional cook licensed by the state and have been schooled for cooking professionally. Aside from that, I have been cooking for my family and friends ever since I could pull a chair up to the stove to reach. Does that alone, without schooling, give me the title "professional" or "expert"?
I have noticed that some profiles will ask the simplest of cooking questions at the Recipe Exchange but yet they have categorized themselves as "expert" or "professional" when indeed it is obvious that they are not.
The last thing I want to do is come across as pretentious. But, I have to wonder, what is the criteria required before you submit yourself to a certain category? Maybe Allrecipes needs to address this in a more specific manor or maybe, I am making too much out of it. Am I the only one thinking about this?
Mar. 2, 2009 5:50 pm
One of the hazards of food service is that anyone can claim to be a "chef." It's sort of like a janitor being labeled "environmental engineer." I have 25 years experience managing kitchens & am a pretty good cook, but do not have the all-around skills to be called a chef. I've worked with schooled chefs who don't know how many tablespoons are in a cup, or that can spell vegetable. Any one who likes to eat is an expert, & alrecipes is no exception.
Mar. 2, 2009 6:12 pm
Hi Buffy! I put that I am an 'expert' based on whatever the choices were (that I can't even remember now - seems like the criteria was pretty vague). I do get paid to cook for people, so I could technically be called a 'professional' - but its not my *profession* so I don't consider myself one. I am also always learning, so in that way I will forever be somewhat of an 'intermediate.' There are still things I haven't done, so I'm also a beginner... I think everyone is an expert at certain things and a beginner at others. And in the end, it doesn't really matter that much to me. I'm pretty comfortable with whatever people want to call themselves. Cheers!
Mar. 2, 2009 7:27 pm
I think mine just came up with "expert" when I answered the questions about the level. Most of my experience is at least 30-40 years ago so some of the new techniques, foods, gadgets, tools of the trade etc. are new to me. I've learned a lot (and I mean a lot) since being a member here on AR and sometimes I feel like a complete idiot with the questions I ask. I totally agree with SunnyByrd, expert at some things, beginner at others. You are not alone in your thinking, I got called out about this some time ago by another AR member and just explained it as best as I could. I can definitely see everyone's side of the question
Mar. 3, 2009 1:57 pm
Hi Buffy. You inspired me to answer this in a blog post of my own. I agree that sometimes people will ask some questions that lead you to believe if they are really the experts they claim to be. Not that the questions are stupid necessarily but there are some simple things that experts would know.
Mar. 3, 2009 9:10 pm
Buffy, as I stated on LB's post (above), I think so many of us can claim to be experts in some areas, but still be beginners in others. I've been cooking/baking for over 30 years (I started young...), but until last month had never dissected an avocado. I list myself as expert because I know I'm further than intermediate - I can take on anything that interests me and it usually turns out pretty well. (If not, I can always blame the recipe...) I think most of us are intimidated by something culinary. For me it's cheesecake. I've made it twice. Both were very good, but cracked. Oh, and the omelet thing? Forgetaboutit! (I meant that as one word.) I can't flip an omelet to save my life, "You said scrambled, right?" I think AR needs another category between intermediate and expert. Thanks for the post.
Mar. 10, 2009 10:48 am
AR says expert is "people really like my cooking"
Mar. 12, 2009 10:03 pm
Hi Buffy! Howdy from Tucson, AZ! I am no professional chef, but I and everyone else I feed would prefer to eat my food than to go to a restaurant, no doubt, so according to AR I am an expert. I would not normally say I am an "expert" cook, but for AR purposes, I apparently am! One of the ways I determine if others are intermediate, expert or professional is in the way the recipe is explained. For an example, an expert would know about soaking chicken in buttermilk before cooking and how long to marinate something before grilling. An expert would know that oil must be very hot before frying food and flour/egg tricks to adhere batter on food. An expert would know to only add hot water or broth to beans, never cold, and when to add salt. An expert would know that salt flavor increases as liquid is reduced and to know the difference in salt needed when using water as opposed to broth. An expert would know when to use dried as opposed to fresh herbs and that you always use less of the fresh and only add those at the end of cooking. I think a lot of folks who submit recipes do not realize the wealth of experience that makes their dishes great and simply assume that most people know the tricks...but from reviews I have read, it seems that a lot of beginners need to know those tricks, and since they don't, they have poor results! I don't have any urge myself...but you being a professional, maybe you could address basic cooking hints on your blog? I'll watch to see if you have any tricks of the trade that would make me a real "expert"! Thanks for the refried bean recipe, I have used a version of that myself and wrote a review for it suggesting a couple of little tricks of my own to compliment! Dunno if AR will publish my positive review but nice to meet ya!
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Buffy Ehlers Whitney

Home Town
Streator, Illinois, USA
Living In
Ottawa, Illinois, USA

Member Since
Dec. 2002

Cooking Level

Cooking Interests
Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Frying, Stir Frying, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Italian, Southern, Healthy, Dessert, Gourmet

Gardening, Camping, Music, Painting/Drawing

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About Me
I am a full time cook at Ottawa Township High School. I love for giving us "Foodies" a place to gather. I have wonderful friends however, not many of them share this passion for food like the people I meet here. E-mail me:
My favorite things to cook
I love to try new things, especially ethnic foods.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Thanksgiving of course and baking at Christmas.
My cooking triumphs
After 15 years I finally got an old family cookie recipe right this last year, the recipe went to the grave.
My cooking tragedies
Once while making a cheesecake using a blender (before the days of processors) I lost my grip on a wooden spoon while the blender was running and it made a perfect circle of batter bordering my entire kitchen. Ouch! I can't beleive I shared that.
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