I may be going out on a limb here, but I think that amongst the many flaws in the "gastronomic culture" that people around here like to boast, the worst one is the lack of respect for chefs. Whenever I read the ghastly reviews in the one paper that cares enough about this, it's almost tragic to see that it's mostly the owner who takes the credit. People assume that if the owner from succesful restaurant A is opening B, it'll be just as good.
Of course, that a lot of the food that finally gets put on plates is either decided by owners or some consulting chef they hired for a while. And the "chef" is just some guy hired to execute said recipes. While this is logical where the figure of the Chef-owner exists, there is still no recognition for the guy on the line.
Jean-Francois Piege, is one of the examples of what a Chef de cuisine becomes in a cultured environment. He was, after all, just the chef under one of the culinary gods of our era: Alain Ducasse. For a while there, I thought he was one of the best in Paris. One day, he surprises us all by leaving ADPA to take the kitchens of the Crillon, where he's striving to reach the third macaron.
In our town, there's no way in hell that Chef John Doe, who simply mans the stoves at Restaurant X, will ever get lured out of his succesful cuisine to take charge of a new place. Experience running a restaurant will just make you an able cook to run another kitchen somewhere else in the eyes of employers. Why hire a chef, why pay big (not really) money to someone for a job that's not even necessary.
Food here isn't about the epicurean, organoleptic or intellectual experience. It's about the social part of the meal, about being seen in the trendy spot in town. So why even give a damn about what I'm eating, how I'm eating it and much less, about who created and prepped? There is no place for the culinary artist here, even in the better restaurants. I have to get out of here