Nostalgic Cooks

Another French Paradox


Why is it that in France, a country renowned for its gastronomy, chefs tend to develop a nostalgia syndrome? Having been taught how to work in the most prestigious restaurants, they soon discover another reality in everyday restaurants or cafeterias: chefs have to cope with family constraints and are often forced to accept positions in standardized organizations that leave little room for daily inspiration. Feeling the burden of their professional commitments, these chefs are considered as having made an egotistic professional choice, both by society and the French educational system. With this in mind, their identity is distorted, regardless of possible improvements in working conditions. This book analyses vocational identities in French foodservices in their different stages and diversity, using international and inter-industry comparisons in the sociological field of professional groups.

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Sylvie-Anne Mériot, Ph.D. in Sociology (2000), EHESS Paris, is a Research Sociologist at Céreq (Centre d'études et de recherches sur les qualifications) in Marseilles, France. She has worked on several government projects, and has played an important role in various reforms, especially in the French education system.
Preface Introduction 1. Historiography of Foodservices and the Food Industry The History of Cooking: a Skill That Originated in the Home The Birth of Restaurants During the Revolution Restaurants and Foodservices in the 19th and 20th Centuries II. A Cook's Place in Today's Foodservices Industry Sectorial Characteristics in Foodservices Subcontracting and Self-Operated Management: the Two Facets of Institutional Foodservices The Cook's Location and Employment Status III. Professional Identity: Beyond the Skills Required Modes of Apprehension for the Skill-Identity Relationship Roots of Professional Identities The Methodology of Analyzing Dominant Professional Identity IV. Identity Formation and Personal Paths Building Identity: Domestic and Social Experiences The Educational System's Efforts to Preserve What They Call the Trade of Cook Other Forms of Learning and Social Recognition for Cooks V. A Conflicting Secondary Socialization Status and Image of the Professional Branches of Foodservices Jobs and Development of Labor by Type of Organization, in the Foodservice Industry Identity Construction within the Activity in Foodservices VI. The Dominant Identity of French Cooks Identity Positioning Between Situations and Representations Critical Analysis of Sociological Models for the Analysis of Professional Identity Conclusion Appendices Appendix 1: Foodservice Work Contexts Appendix 2: Survey Methods Appendix 3: Glossary List of Tables, Graphics and Text Boxes Bibliography Books and Theses Reports Reviews Index of Terms and Professional Organizations
Teachers, students and professionals, as well as all those interested in either sociology (especially sociology of work and professions), and/or foodservices (for training, recruitment, and even for strategic purposes).