But why is this? Is it just culinary imperialism, or is it that, as Michael Ruhlman once wrote:
[The fundamentals of cooking] may have been best categorized and explained by French cooks beginning hundreds of years ago, [but] these fundamentals apply to every kind of cooking there is, Mexican, Italian, Russian, Asian, because food behaves the same in one country as it does in another.That's my sense as well, based on my (admittedly limited) cooking experience. Once you figure out how to make a béchamel sauce, for example, you can do virtually any cream-based dish, from macaroni and cheese to chicken korma. And it may be that being able to see past specific dishes to the forms that they embody (how very Platonic!) is the mark of a great chef. I've noticed that self-taught cooks don't do very well on Top Chef, and it may be that lack of theoretical training that holds them back.