The difference between being a chef and a cook has long been debated. Is it that one is male and the other female? (Ha!) Professional versus amateur? Feeding many in a public space versus a relatively few in a private one? Heading a kitchen staff as opposed to being one’s own? That one creates and one replicates? Who knows.
There are similarities of course. Knowing how to properly dice an onion or scramble an egg. How to bring out a the flavor of a specific ingredient, as well as what to pair it with for pleasure or surprise. What spices and aromatics will translate a dish from Italian to Spanish, from French to Creole, from Processed to Paleo.
All chefs are cooks before they are chefs, and all love to cook. So you are good with what whatever it is you you are.
One of the joys of cooking, whether as chef or cook, is to cook with others. Not to give or receive direction, but to work in concert, side by side, in rhythm and syncopation. And, like the best jazz musicians, to be able to to pick up where they left off, and carry on the melody seamlessly, while adding your own interpretation.
When one cooks with another, in person or virtually (by recipe, by video, by memory), one channels the other in some way. A personal connection is formed. Perhaps a friendship, perhaps an homage; either way, one ends the preparation feeling that the two of you know each other a bit better when the plate hits the table.
And then, of course, dinner is served.