Young Cooks, Listen Up

Become a great cook before thinking about becoming a chef.

I often hear the argument that 18-20 year-olds should be able to drink legally because they have the right to vote. Well, less than ten percent of 18-20 year-olds actually vote.  You want the rights, but not the responsibilities that go along with those rights.

Is it too much to ask for decent home fries in a diner or café?

We recently had dinner out in what I was told was a restaurant with a good young chef.  My three-year-old ordered kid’s Mac and cheese. Imagine my response when the server arrived and attempted to place one of those searing hot cast iron pans that are so trendy in front of the child while warning him that it’s hot. The entire meal was very disappointing, due to no attention to detail whatsoever.  Young cooks, the success comes when you pay attention to the little things.

My wife doesn’t like my writing cadence.

Please spend a lot less time and energy on your garnishes and a lot more time on your food and staff.

I really love hamburgers.

Know what you can do well.

I really hate to see people taken advantage of by people who think they have them in a situation that you have no options.  You don’t have to work for someone who will pat you on the back in order to distract you from the foot on your throat.

If you’re not working under a chef that can teach you on a daily basis, move on. The world is full of teachers. Keep in mind, initiative is your first step.

Go ask Ric Orlando for a job, do whatever he asks.

Are culinary schools teaching prospective chefs how to write menus? Are they teaching how to write a menu appropriate for the restaurant, and the kitchen they’re writing it for?

Choose limited excellence over unlimited mediocrity.

Think about the reason you want to work for a particular chef. Is it because he or she is a good influence on your career, or is it because they created and maintained the atmosphere of a fun house?

People who say the book is better than the movie have too much time on their hands.

I’m done with Chinese take out, I cannot trust where they source their products, and I find myself completely unsatisfied when I’m finished eating it. No

I’ve been witnessing the effects of improper training.

Sauté is a finesse skill, not a turn the fire up as high as it goes kind of operation.

Write a menu that fits the venue.

I put foam in the drafty crevices of my home this fall, I didn’t put any on my food. That worked out well.

Work clean.

Learn the basic cooking skills, and learn them properly.

Keep yourself organized.

Accept new ideas.

Take good care of your equipment.

Taste often.

Do not under any circumstances put cream in your risotto. Learn proper technique in order to get it to be creamy.

Watch YouTube videos of great chefs like Thomas Keller, Daniel Humm, and Heston Blumenthal. consume yourself with them, their lessons will stick and you will be a better cook.

Be ready for service.

Don’t be afraid to aggressively season.