Is The Pioneer Woman A Real Chef?

Ree Drummond, also known as the host of The Pioneer Woman on the Food Network, has given us enough cooking advice to last a lifetime. She's clearly spent a lot of time in the kitchen — she has an entire blog and website all about food and cooking — but is she actually a real chef? 

Drummond has given us tons of cooking tips, from which ingredient we should add to our potato salad to make the flavors really pop, to the secret iced coffee ingredient that basically has us chugging java instead of water. But is she actually professionally trained, or did she earn her cooking chops from experience alone? 

Does Ree Drummond have professional kitchen experience?

One definition of a chef is a cook that has 2 to 4 years of culinary experience or experience working in a restaurant kitchen, whereas a cook is someone who, well, cooks (via Sidekicker). Chef is also a titled role — at a restaurant, the chef is in charge, while the rest of the people working in the kitchen are the team of cooks. Even though definitions vary, most people agree that chefs are people who have been paid to cook in a restaurant (via Fine Cooking). 

Drummond did go to school, but not culinary school. She actually attended USC and majored in gerontology (via CheatSheet). 

She doesn't have any professional culinary training, and when she first started her blog, she was definitely a cook, not a chef. That's not to say that her recipes weren't amazing — even the very first recipe she posted on her blog, a tutorial for "How to Cook a Steak," is mouthwatering — but she had no professional cooking experience (via PopSugar).

Is the Pioneer Woman a chef now?

These days, however, Drummond owns both a restaurant and bakery in Osage County, Oklahoma, where she lives. She and her husband renovated a historic building in town, and now The Mercantile serves up food inspired by the family's favorites to 6,000 customers a day (via Country Living).  

Ree doesn't work at the restaurant full time, but she's often there. Does planning the menu and owning the place mean she's a chef? Not necessarily. But there's no denying that Drummond gets paid to cook. She's written multiple cookbooks, stars on a cooking show, and has demonstrated an ability to cook a wide variety of dishes. 

Based on the traditional definitions of chef, she's probably still considered a cook, but by television standards, she's definitely earned the title of celebrity chef.