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Snooth User: Philip James

You're ruining it

Posted by Philip James, Feb 4, 2008.

Yelled at me across a commercial kitchen, Friday night. For a moment I thought I'd mistakenly signed up for a class of abuse from the hot tempered Gordon Ramsey, but alas no, I was attending a 'romantic' Couples Cooking class held by the Institute of Culinary Education .

Firstly, I'll get my rant aside. I was not there to be yelled at, this was a single evening couples cooking class (a 'romantic' one no less). You'd think from the screaming and yelling that I had set half the room alight, whereas, my crime was only to have used insufficient flour while rolling some dough. I may be no gourmet, but I can manage a rolling pin, so to my tutor that evening I say 'FAIL'.

Why is it that 'professionals' or 'experts' feel the need belittle those with less experience (not talent, please note, but experience). There are times when it may be more forgivable - I used to race yachts offshore, and when its night time and the boat just got knocked flat, no one seemed to mind some 'heated debate' in the moment.

I've worked in the wine industry for several years now, and still get sommeliers rolling their eyes at what I order sometime. Heaven forbid when I dare to ask them a question. What makes these people different from those masters of their profession who are so affable that I can chat freely away with them, asking questions and learning something new?

Sadly you don't always get to pick your 'teachers', and its clear that knowledge is not correlated with the ability to pass that knowledge on. Worse, even, is the evidence that as a person develops expertise he/she loses the ability to communicate what it is that they have actually learned, and so the best way to learn from them often isn't to listen to what they say, its actually to copy what they do. Warren Buffet, for example, tells us he wont invest in a stock he comes across on days when his back is acting up. That doesn't mean you should make investment decisions based on your arthritis. If anything you should just invest in the stocks he does.

So, like I was forced to on Friday night, sometimes it's best to drown out the drone (I used Gin infused Champagne for that!) and actually concentrate on observing how they act in similar situations. Thats where you'll learn something.


Reply by Mark Angelillo, Feb 4, 2008.

I wonder if there's a way to find out on the internet whether Warren Buffet's back is acting up.

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