I got a letter-to-the-editor this morning, and because I’m a conscientious sort of guy, I read it. It was from a young chef in Nova Scotia, and here’s what he had to say:
“My name is Brandon Perry I am a chef and author looking to be featured in your magizine, please check out my website and please get back to me. Im notable known as the new face of Nova Scotian Cooking. I would like to talk about food sustainabilty and the enviroment, as well as imigration and how its effecting Canadian chef’s, both the positives and negitives.”
I wrote back to Perry and said, “Well, I admire your entrepreneurial spirit, but when you’re auditioning to write for a magazine, it’s a good idea not to make nine spelling and grammatical errors in a single paragraph.” (I looked again, and there were ten). Then I checked his website, and then Googled his name. He’s either a black male model out of New York City with a set of washboard abs that would make Margaret Wente go weak in the knees, a 12 year-old kid somewhere in the U.S. who uploads videos onto YouTube of himself and his friends skateboarding, or he’s an overweight 22 year old from Nova Scotia who has (at very least) a gift for self-promotion, including a website that features recipes for cooking with marijuana.
According to his own website, he is Chef Brandon Myles Perry “a 22 year old Canadian Chef, his passion is Food comes from…well he doesn’t know, but is the author of 6 books by the age of 22, holds a Culinary Art’s diploma, a certified ships cook, a certified sommolier and mixologist, and a pastry chef after just finishing up with private instruction under pastry chef Josephine Rodriguez ( Le Bernardin, Nobu, Le Cirque 2000, Solo, Fredrick’s Madison, New Leaf Cafe, The boathouse cafe…) Chef Brandon has worked at many 2 star Lodges as a sous chef while in Culinary School, after this he then worked for two years as the Executive Chef at a 4 star Inn before becoming a writer as well as a musician and graphic artist as well as a private chef. He Currently works in Nova Scotia and does International Caterings as well as private chef work, and teaches Culinary Arts independently, for a living.”
On that website is a testimonial—just one—from a former adult film star named Kay Parker, who now apparently works as a spiritual counseler.
Brandon Perry is, whatever veracity his claims may have, a blur of activity. At 22 he’s done a whole lot of things with his life, taking culinary, sommelier and barkeeping courses, working in “many” 2 star lodges, and even surviving for two years as the ExecChef of an, um, unnamed 4 star “Inn”. He’s taken online culinary courses from “Ivy League Schools” (I wasn’t aware that Harvard offered them), written six books and is now teaching “culinary arts independently.”
Wait a minute. Six books before the age of 22?
There are, in fact, four of them available on Amazon.com. They’re self-published. The first paragraph of the foreward to one of them, Advanced knife Skills: In Theory and Practice, begins this way: “The basic purposes of eating are beyond the imagination of man or any other creature alive on this planet, for without food any creature, man, or animal will not survive for long. With this said, one must think, believe and trust in what food and beverages can be to people on an emotional level.”
Now, this all sounds to me like an ambitious kid who’s learned how to promote himself on the Internet. And there’s nothing wrong with ambition provided that it is coupled with productivity that isn’t entirely anti-social, notwithstanding the clouds of blue and black smoke it usually generates, and the sometimes awkwardly-placed, sometimes accurately placed mirrors that don’t really hide much if you take the time to peer through the camouflage. Right?
I guess the real question is whether or not Brandon Perry can actually cook. I hope so. But whether he can cook or not, remind me to shoot Anthony Bourdain next time I see him.
697 words May 16, 2011