> Anyone ever heard of this Chef thing? Ever?
Are you serious? If so you must not be a Linux sysadmin. I think most Linux sysadmins have heard of Chef (though not necessarily used it).
Search the SF Bay Area Craig's List  for System Administrator jobs that ask for Chef or similar experience. There are 21 right now. For comparison 33 mention puppet (Chef's main competition), 47 apache, 46 bash, 21 iis, 14 hadoop, 11 sharepoint, and 9 powershell. So yeah, I've heard of it.