Originally Posted by SField
Yea I think that's true of any line of work. Anyone can call themselves a chef, including the people overseeing the cooking at cafeterias, banquet halls and crappy restaurants. But, any real chef knows how to taste, and that's why people make the distinction between regular food and fine dining. I'm not talking about the average run of the mill restaurant most ordinary people dress up for and think is nice, I'm mostly concerned with the real culinary establishments.
No, I was also including most people who work at "real culinary establishments". The majority of those people have no input in creating the dishes or the menu (or understanding the customers who eat there), they just crank out what a head chef / chef de cuisine / etc tells them to make. They taste their food, and can do so well enough to produce consistent dishes (using classic techniques) which adhere to the recipe, but it doesn't mean that are developing dishes that taste good.
In contrast, I would say that there are also less trained chefs at "run of the mill" or lower places who are much more in touch with the food that they are serving and the customers who are eating it. They create dishes which appeal to their audience and are probably more adept at developing flavours and textures than some chefs at higher end places.
Somehow in popular culture the job of chef has been elevated and put on some pedestal. In reality, the majority of "chefs", regardless of "real culinary establishment" or not, are merely semi-skilled assembly line workers.
Note, I'm not trying to put down chefs at higher priced restaurants. I just think that the world of food is too wide, varied, and subjective to try and pick such specific benchmarks. Plus, there is much more to the job than the palate.
(this isnt only in response to your post, but also a general commentary)