AAWE, Economics Dept, New York University, 19 W 4th St, 6Fl., New York NY 10012aawe@wine-economics.org

AAWE Working Paper No. 81 – Economics

 

Learning by Cooking and Reputation Building:
A French Recipe to Become a Top Chef

Olivier Gergaud, Valerie Smeets and Frederic Warzynski

Abstract

In this paper, we analyze the careers from a sample of more than 1,000 top French chefs over more than twenty years and link it to the success or reputation of the restaurants where they have worked. This allows us to test what are the determinants of success but also to investigate the dynamics of performance and reputation, stress- ing the importance of the quality of apprenticeship, mentoring and entrepreneurship spirit. We find that the prestige of the restaurant where individuals work is on average declining along the career, and that the quality of apprenticeship is strongly related to the future success as chef.

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