I’ve always preferred to host a dinner party than to go to one. My birthday is this Saturday, and rather than hitting the town, I’m doing what I enjoy the most: cooking for friends. I think I’ve finally figured out why this is: I’m somewhat of an antisocial individual.
Now if you know me personally, you may argue, but hear me out. I love being around other people, but unless I’m in control of the situation, I’m often uncomfortable or at a loss for words. Cocktail parties are somewhat difficult for me, as I’m terrible at making small talk. When my law firm holds social functions, I struggle to find the right thing to say, even with my friends.
But when I’m cooking at my house, I’m in charge of everything. I don’t have to maintain a conversation if I don’t want to, because I have the food to attend to. I can always leave the dinner table to take care of something in the kitchen. Sure, I love company while I’m cooking, and I love to make cocktails and pour wine, but those are interactions where I’m controlling the situation. And I don’t have to sustain any lengthy dialog. If you know me, you know I like to host dinner parties.
I also love being the center of attention, strangely enough.
And it is these characteristics that I often see in chefs. They are most comfortable behind the stove, when they are in control. They love to “perform” for others and enjoy receiving feedback and adulation from their customers. But take many (not all) of those chefs away from their kitchens, and they’re somewhat awkward. Just like me. Or except when they’re around others in the industry, and then all bets are off.
So, is this somewhat dichotomous antisocial/center of attention personality as common with chefs as I think. Or is it really — and I mean this literally — just me?