« on: September 14, 2014, 04:10:56 PM »
This whole "Chef" thing has got me into this thread because I intended to stay out of it for obvious reasons.
I have been a professional Chef for the last 27 years and I emphasis "professional" because I get paid to do this. With all these opinions floating about here some real world facts about cooking are warranted.
1. The only essential tool a cook needs is a sharp knife, preferable a good one about a $100 and should last many many years.
2. All that "equipment" you may have seen in commercial kitchens is there for one reason...to produce food for a lot of people in a short period of time. Practically every fancy piece of equipment can be done with a good sharp knife if you know how but often a short cut is needed because time is critical and the doors open at 5pm and the show must commence. Hence the need for fancy equipment
3. Anything done in a commercial kitchen can be done in a home kitchen....granted you might not want to smoke pork butt in your house or have a veal stock simmering for 48 hours.
4. The creative process is a team effort in a commercial kitchen.....I write the menu, source ingredients, look for interesting flavors that work well together or contrast each other etc....but it gets handed off to the station that will actually complete the dish so there is a constant need for excellent technique and often relearning. Part of my job is that the cooks in the kitchen are exposed to these techniques so that they can do the job and we arrive at the completed dish together during the chaos and fury of a busy service
5. There are no real short cuts.....sort of contradicting myself here....what I mean is if you want to understand sauces you have to know the traditional mother sauce that came out of french cooking. The principles learned allow one to be really creative or break the tradition and know why you are doing so. Training is everything and then the creative expression follows.
6. You dont have to go to culinary school to be a good cook...you do have to work in several or often many different restaurants to get the real knowledge if you choose to work in this industry
7.The equipment in commercial kitchens is only a means to an end, the most important part is the creative human factor that will make the food taste delicious, look exciting and been full of nutrition to promote a healthy and energized life.
Reminds me of some fantastic restaurants in my town. They don´t look "polished", rather minimal from outside but offer extraordinary food, while some others in opposite advertising their skills and offers with, lets say it more friendly, "esoteric" blabla. Sure, there is a market for it and those customers clearly believe in getting something better (for a better price too…lol). I bet, they would be really disappointed by hearing, that those special places are cooking the pasta just with water, using vegetables from the local market and - more worse - having cutlery by IKEA