Don’t write older chefs off. It is a grueling profession that is physically demanding, but that doesn’t mean older chefs don’t have plenty of ideas left to wow us with.
The Miami Herald‘s article, The Mango Gang: Where they are now, seems to be implying that Norman Van Aken, Allen Susser, Douglas Rodriguez and Mark Militello ought to make room for younger chefs like Michelle Bernstein, Michael Schwartz, Timon Balloo, Simon Stojanovic, Kris Wessel, Sam Gorenstein, and Philippe Ruiz.
Twenty years ago, the Mango Gang put South Florida on the national culinary map, but today it’s the heirs to their fusion, fresh and local cuisine who rule the fine-dining scene.
Not so fast.
Some French chefs have reached three Michelin stars, closed their restaurants, and re-invented themselves at a not-so-young age. Restaurants come and go, and yet good chefs always have more up their sleeves. Think of closing a restaurant as a release from the burdened of customer favorites that are on the menu years after the chef created them. Now they can try new things, and use their experience wisely.
Sure, some chefs get old and stuffy – just like people in other professions who refuse to change – but many stay current, fresh, and exciting.
There is no retirement from the kitchen, just more imagination.