Saturday, June 14, 2008

Shut up! I am teaching a class!

Well, I spent 4 hours plus at East Bay Culinary Center and Restaurant Supply today..in Sacramento. It is a great store for shopping for that special kitchen gadget you must have!

I paid $95 bucks to experience a demonstration cooking class by Diana Kennedy...who is very famous for her cookbooks about authentic Mexican Cooking. google her name if you want more info.

Diana is 84 years old...and is not one bit concerned about offending anyone..including the sous chefs who were there today, nor the people who paid to see her. I know, Peg Tomlinson kept apologizing for her..."hey, she is 84 years old"...and I kept wanting to consider her abrasive tone "endearing"..but I was quite happy when her 2 1/2 hour class ended. Her food was fabulous, I did learn some great stuff, but I couldn't get past her abrasive attitude. Sorry. It was offensive, especially when she did the following:

At one point, she admonished her sous chefs (very great cooks/catering folks from here in Sac and even from Chez Panize) for not plating her food correctly. It was uncomfortable hearing her tell them how they weren't doing things right saying, "someone needs to take over here, this is ridiculous" ..her mike was still on...so the audience began to talk to one another. She suddenly began to "teach" again, and told everyone to "shut up" and listen. Apparently, this was supposed to be charming..but I didn't feel that way.

She was serious about her cooking and what went out to the the crowd, she had tons of energy, she has cooked for very famous people, and she lives in Mexico (has for 50 years)...and had lots of great advice. She is eco-serious. (I am sure she can be quite charming). The lady who sat next to me kept saying, "oh my lord, it's like watching my abusive grandmother all over again".

East Bay has these tv monitors that are supposed to capture what the instructor is doing...but they seemed more like security cameras..where everything is grey and hazy...one could not really monitor what the instructor was doing..nor was the food "in color".

I bought her latest cookbook, as soon as I arrived. She came out to sign them for everyone.."The Art of Mexican Cooking". She asked me what my interest in cooking was. I told her a few things but what she zeroed in on was that I had a food blog..at which point she said, "do not take my picture and do not explain my class on your blog. There is too much of that going on. I don't like it. You may talk about your experience of my class, but that is it." I kinda said, "well, okay"..and backed off slowly.

I never intended to do that...it would be very tacky. But I felt she was tacky...and I don't care who she is.

Did I learn anything? Yes. Did I totally enjoy my experience? No. I even found myself laughing at times...I think because I was uncomfortable.

I guess if you are famous enough, old enough, and have written enough cookbooks..you can be as rude as you want to. I wanted to talk to a couple of other cookbook authors I saw there today.... I didn't though. I left the class and bought a great father's day gift for Dave!! It wasn't a total loss. I will read her cookbook..and I am sure I will love making her recipes....or not.

6 comments:

Mike S said...

Yup, all the crotchety coots DO seem to go there. As my Aunt often told me, "Lack of intellect, drunkeness, anger, and even old age are NEVER an acceptable reason for poor manners." She stood by every word too, she could easily make a very big man feel very small as she, very politely, addressed each and every reason he was an ass, and smile at him all the while!

Eileen and Sue said...

Guess she's gotten even more abrasive in the years since I saw her..She wasn't that bad then.
I love her recipes but they are way too involved if you don't have a lot of time.
I still haven't gotten over there to East Bay.

Hahn at Home said...

That sounds awful. But, I suppose when you get to be 84, you can get away with it.

Reminds me of my great granny:

http://hahnathome.com/?p=401

Melly/Melody/or Mel said...

I will report, for those who won't do it here...that I have rec'd an email from someone who didn't like what I had to say about Ms.Kennedy on my blog.

For the record, I am sure lots of her fans disagree with my post about my personal experience at the event.

I did enjoy her personal anecdotes and her ability to keep it real...I just don't think she had to be so abrasive. I still think it was inconsiderate. That being said, it doesn't take away from her talent, energy, and stamina!

pierre said...

I also attended the class at East Bay. I was totally embarrassed by the audience. I paid 95 bucks to listen to Diana Kennedy - not the person next to me or behind me. She DID ask us nicely to be quiet several times to no avail - that's when the lecture came. Very inconsiderate of us not her. Her knowledge of Mexican cooking is amazing and the food was out of this world. BTW - its Chez Panisse

Melly/Melody/or Mel said...

I knew I had spelled Chez Panize wrong..dang. My spellcheck missed it and I am too lazy to go check the correct spelling.

I appreciate your observations about the cooking class. Thank you for offering them up.

I observed that when she was over talking to her assistants, some audience members began to chat. I don't recall her asking nicely for them to be quiet..but ya know, we all have different perspectives and thanks for sharing yours.