You Don’t Speak For Me Chris Kimball

I debated whether I should start this post by asking who died and made Chris Kimball boss….looks like I just did.  Mr. Kimball has taken it upon himself to suggest that the world of food bloggers is somehow a slap in the face to trained professionals who, in his words, possess “thoughtful expertise…that comes from real experience, the hard-won blood-on-the-floor kind.”  I’m referring to his recent Op-Ed in the New York Times in response to the announcement that Gourmet magazine will cease to exist.

I understand perfectly that this is Mr. Kimball’s opinion and he’s entitled to it.  He’s also entitled to share that opinion with all who will listen.  But please Mr. Kimball, don’t self righteously express your voice when it suits to get your opinion printed in the New York Times and then discount others doing the same when it doesn’t suit your business model.  The idea of each person having a voice, people in this world die for that privilege.

Mr. Kimball, do you really think that  “the world needs fewer opinions”?  Personally, I think its imperative that different opinions can be expressed and considered.  Not all opinions will be good ones, but why is it that you think only the opinions of “experts” are worthy?  Is that really the world you live in?  I don’t.

And what about your idea that only those who graduate from the “school of hard knocks” are credible?  Are you saying that my life experience has no credibility?  Really, could you be THAT arrogant?

Furthermore, how can you defend this opinion that so blatantly insults your publications’ readers?  Do you realize that some of us on this “ship of fools” are the same people who make it possible for your magazines to exist?  We’re the ones who subscribe to Cook’s Illustrated or Cook’s Country.  We’re the ones who buy your annual cookbooks.  We’re the ones paying YOUR salary Mr. Kimball.

Let me know if I’m following your logic correctly…if I aspire to become a credible cook, the only way to do that is by enrolling in an accredited program?  If that’s the case, then why have I sent your company a check for the last three years?  Silly me, I thought that by using tested recipes, my skills would grow.

And about those recipes, you do know that you ask us, the “instant pundits”, to test them during development for your publications.  You do know that, right?  Why would you do that if you think that our experiences are not worthy?  Or did you just mean anyone who doesn’t belong to your CI, CC,  or ATK club?

And please, I really would like to understand your logic behind making print subscribers also pay additional for online content.  Is it really necessary for you to double dip into my finances just so I can access your Premium Content online?  You may call that “a thriving paid Web site”.  I call it greed.

I would never presume to say that my skills in the kitchen are anywhere near those of someone who has been to cooking school.  But since when do you have to wear a chef’s hat in order to be a good cook?

When all is said and done Mr. Kimball, I do respect your right to your opinion.  But I respect myself more than to be a pawn in your world.  So I’m going to express my opinion in the one and only way that matters to you, with my pocketbook.  Gourmet may be gone but your magazines aren’t the only other players left in this game.

Will it make me a hypocrite to leave the Cook’s Illustrated recipes up that I’ve posted here?  Maybe so.  But I’d rather be a hypocrite than a fool.  And if I were to continue to subscribe to your publications, that’s exactly what I’d be.

Thanks for the memories Chris.  You really know how to ruin a good thing.

For other responses to the OpEd piece, mosey on over to The Amateur Gourmet for Adam’s post, or to Sky Full of Bacon , Wise Ax, The Gurgling Cod, or The Breakaway Cook. And for Mr. Kimball’s blog response to all this, click here.

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4 Responses to You Don’t Speak For Me Chris Kimball

  1. Emily Revere says:

    I have to say, I left him my opinion too.

    see below:

    OK, I will not pretend to be familiar with all the ins and outs of INSPIRED cooking. Nor will I say I have a degree from ABC Culinary school. However, Ihave been in the kitchen since I was 14 years old.
    I wouldn’t call it the school of hard knocks. I call it HANDS ON EXPERIENCE.

    Some experiences were good, some not so much. All of them taught me something. Like Edison, I now know 9,999 ways NOT to cook something!

    As far as my broccoli casserole goes, it is just fine, thank you. The congreagation at church must think it is DIVINELY inspired as they request it every time food is to be served! You may poll them if you so desire!

    As far as opinions go, obviously the only one that matters to you is your own. WHAT CHEEK! WHAT ARROGANCE! WHAT CHUTZPAH!

    I will miss your magazine. I will not miss you.

    Sincerely,

    Emmie

    • Wendi says:

      What I don’t get is how he could so casually bite the hand that feeds him. Does he think the readers of his publications live in a vacuum and don’t engage in the food community beyond the world of America’s Test Kitchen?

      I’m sure there are bloggers who present themselves as “experts” on the matter of food or cooking but how does that make all of us charlatans? Looking at the food bloggers that I follow, not a single one suggests that they are anything other than people who enjoy cooking good food. These are the people that spark interest and excitement about cooking. They are the soul. As much as I appreciate being able to get into the science of why things work they way they do in the kitchen, that approach alone isn’t enough to engage me. It needs balance.

      My opinion is that it’s a big enough table for everybody to have a seat. It’s up to me as a reader and consumer to decide what has value on my terms. I don’t need an “expert” telling me how to think.

  2. I found his tone condescending and his argument incredibly out of touch.

    Since I started food blogging, I buy even MORE print magazines than ever, looking for inspiration!

    • Wendi says:

      I absolutely agree. And I refuse to drink the CK Kool Aid. Not that my $30 a year subscription is going to impact his bottom line. But I’d rather be my own hypocrite than his fool any day.

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