Chef As Superhero10 May 2017
“In the endless reaches of the Grand Hotel, there once existed a kitchen that burned brightly like a baked Alaska from a degustation menu. There, civilisation was far advanced and it brought forth a race of ‘Superchefs’ whose mental and physical powers were developed to the absolute peak of human perfection”.
You may recognise some similarity in these opening sentences from the first edition of Superman. When I watched an old Spiderman movie recently I thought it would be fun to ponder on the powers needed to thrive as a comic book hero and the attributes needed to be a successful chef. We are not talking about shapeshifting, telepathy or the ability to fly.
Believe it or not, there are limits to a chef’s powers and in the words of Two Michelin Star chef Sat Bains “We make f#*king food, we aren’t saving people’s lives here”. What I’m interested in are the human traits necessary to “kick ass” in the kitchen, and the similarity with your average caped crusader.
Commitment and Focused Energy
Like all superheroes, chefs need to be committed to their job and be completely focused on the outcomes. There is no room for error when playing with fire whilst the customers hunger for entertainment. Then there is energy and stamina. Imagine a tireless ability that allows one to work a 16-hour shift without flagging. The chef equivalent of Darth Maul of Star Wars without the dark force tendencies.
Chefs are much admired for their molecular manipulation. Bacon ice cream, transforming meat into a glistening bowl of fruit and disappearing transparent ravioli. The Mysterious Molecule Man from Fantastic Four fame could manipulate energy and heat organic matter just like Ferran Adria and Heston Blumenthal. Conclusive proof, methinks, that chefs could save the planet if they used their talents against the evil forces and superheroes could become celebrity cooks.
Facing Fears and Constant Vigilance
Similar to their comic book counterparts, chefs have a high tolerance of pain and an ability to face fears. There are dangers in the kitchen just like Gotham City, so constant vigilance is a necessary trait. What with sharp Knives, boiling stock pots, blast chillers and mad commis chefs - this is not a place for the faint hearted.
Chefs have an arsenal of weapons that Batman would envy, although some superheroes have better ones. Thor’s Hammer would be useful in the kitchen, along with Wonder Woman’s lasso of truth when dealing with HR issues.
Like to Dress up
Like Peter Parker, aka Spiderman, chefs are often modest about their talents and powers - shying away from publicity until they don the fancy outfit and turn into their alter ego. Then, Kerrrrblam!!! The clothes are shed, the whites are donned and there proudly stands SuperChef. Just like Parker’s transformation into Spiderman or Clark Kent into Superman, the chef becomes confident and enigmatic, saving the world one plate at a time.
Although chefs don’t possess the power to stop time or redirect a meteor they have some pretty advanced talents. But, thank goodness they don’t wear their under rods outside their pants.
“Up in the sky, look: it’s a bird, it’s a plane. It’s Superchef”
By Stephen Hickmore