Cook Often. The best chefs are the best chefs because they spend most of their time cooking. Looking at all of the chefs who I met and cooked with while writing this book, almost every single one either went to culinary school or grew up in a family of cooks. That makes sense because in both cases they had to make the same dishes over and over again until they had those dishes mastered. That repetition reinforces basic techniques — sharpening your knife, seasoning properly, getting your pans hot — techniques that resonate throughout a lifetime of cooking. So if you say “I’m a bad cook,” chances are it’s because you don’t cook often enough. Make yourself cook at least three times a week and watch your skills improve immeasurably.
Make What You Like. Too often people who don’t cook finally set out to make dinner and choose the healthiest, most punishing recipe imaginable because they’re on a diet orsqueamish about making something with fat (how else are boneless, skinless chicken breasts so popular?) This is totally the wrong way to go about it. When you cook, especially if you’re a beginner, you should make things that are over the top delicious. Extra cheesy lasagna. Balsamic-glazed spareribs (one of the recipes in my book). Dark, decadent chocolate cake. When you make food that pleases you, chances are it will please others and the ensuing praise will make you want to cook again. And next time you cook, you can scale back a little on the fat without making the food punishing. The key, though, is making something that you yourself want to eat. All of the chefs I cooked with made food that they themselves loved. That’s not a coincidence.
Well, when I read this story by Julien Vaché on HUFFPOST, I thought of an article I wrote a few months back about “passion“.
After dealing with thousand’s of young cooks and culinary students, as well as with young “chef’s” and many so-called “culinary educator’s”, all of which proclaim a deep passion for the culinary profession, it did not take me long to realize that the word “passion” is too often confused with the word “like” .
While real passion exist’s among all the groups mentioned, sadly it is rare and hard to find.
Real passion often requires tremendous sacrifice. The story about L’Auberge du Vieux Puits and it’s chef Gilles Goujon is a perfect example how one man and his family have achieved their ultimate dream through sacrifice, hard work and perseverance.
My deepest respect to a true culinary hero !
Bon Appetit ! Life is Good ! (Eventually, sometimes, for most of us, anyway 🙂
Originally posted by Russ Ito on Salon Piquant Re-blogged with permission of Ross Ito >
The best thing about The Food Network in the summer is that you only have to watch 10 minutes of any show, and you’ll know what 95% of the programming that night will be: BBQ. The mind-numbing monotony of these shows is astonishing: Hour after hour devoted to this pit versus that smoker. After a few minutes, it’s all a blur of: rubs, rings, and burnt ends; of mops, barks, and slaws. And geographically, it’s as if The Food Network doesn’t know that the Louisiana Purchase happened: The coverage is stuck in the South-east and Deep South, as if no one west of the Mississippi ever cooks meat over fire.
As someone who grew up in a Japanese household, I’ve never been a big fan of “traditional,” American BBQ, finding it far too dense and cloying. I much prefer the lighter styles of BBQ from Asian cuisines, including: Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Indian. All of these cultures are part of American society – and make great BBQ, but they never appear in TFN’s summer programming. Perhaps TFN thinks they’re too exotic to appeal to their audience, or maybe it’s more ideological. .
The imu — the original “pit BBQ.” How about it TFN?
The Taliban wing of the BBQ cult would, no doubt, sniff that the Asian approach is: “not true BBQ.” To them, BBQ means: “low and slow,” long cooking over low heat. By their reckoning, most Asian “BBQs” are just “grilling,” i.e., fast cooking over high heat. OK, fair enough, but even if you accept that, the Polynesians were slow-roasting whole pigs in hand-dug pits for centuries (maybe millennia) before anyone started warming up a pit in Kansas City or Charlotte. So why don’t you ever see that on TFN?
And does it really matter? Isn’t it just rhetorical? Every culture has its own way to cook meats over fire, whether that’s in an imu, on a grill in a hibachi, or on a skewer in a tandoor – and all of these are part of American cooking! Jacques Pépin often talks about the diversity of American food choices as something that still excites him about food here versus in his native France: “One day you can have Turkish, the next Vietnamese, the next Italian, the next… Ethiopian! It’s great!” BBQ/grilling isn’t the mono-culture TFN would have you believe; it’s as diverse as American culture itself. It’s time TFN woke up!
So come on, TFN, break out of your comfort zone, and mix it up! There’s a lot of great BBQ happening west of the Mississippi, and guess what? Those states are all part of the union, too! Asian flavors are part of the American palate, so include them!
Of course, TFN isn’t going to listen to my ravings. They’ll pack this summer’s schedule with hour after hour of rubs and mops, and familiar arguments over briskets versus pork shoulders. I’ll watch ten minutes, and know I’m not missing anything. And besides, I’ll be spending most of July watching the Tour de France, anyway!
Bad cholesterol, depression, high blood pressure; these are all conditions that often prompt a trip to the pharmacy. But now, physicians are administering a different treatment entirely: produce. Doctors at select clinics across the country are writing some obese patients “prescriptions” for fruits and vegetables.
The Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program provides daily $1 subsidies to buy produce at local farmers markets. FVRx, as it is also known, is funded throughWholesome Wave, a non-profit organization which operates from private donations. Each member of a family gets the $1 prescription so, for example, a family of five would end up getting $35 per week to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables.
Janet Lopez is a cashier at a sporting goods store and lives in Washington, D.C. with her two children, brother and mother. She and her family are part of the Unity Health Care clinic’s prescription program and have been buying the subsidized produce since May. She said they all have been eating more fruits and vegetables because of the program.
“It is an encouragement because now I actually see that my kids love all of this stuff and before I couldn’t get it because it wasn’t cheap. Not only that but I also didn’t know how healthy it actually is,” Lopez said.
In addition to subsidies, FVRx has patients meet with their physicians to check up on their health including their height, weight, blood pressure and body mass index. The program also offers exercise and cooking classes.
“A lot of kids are picking up on how to eat vegetables and realizing they’re not actually yucky, it’s actually, ‘Oh, it’s delicious,’ because they’re learning to cook it themselves,” Lopez said.
And organizers said they use this family oriented approach because even if the whole family isn’t obese, they don’t want one member of the family eating fruits and vegetables while the rest just keep eating junk.
Read all HERE . . Fresh produce, beautiful food : (All Images by H.D.Susser)
Below find a few recent comment’s by passionate and no doubt competent chef’s.
Some apparently look at thing’s more flexible then others, some might understand the context of a specific situation better than others (in this case, a lighthearted, food loving Blog by a chef who has probably seen it all and understands that different situations sometimes call for different measures. Because I am so passionate about food, I’d like to hear other folk’s opinion about this, because it comes up quite often across the food world. At this point, it is not important to me if I am right or wrong, I just want to take this opportunity to hear other’s opinions about this important, sometimes so hotly discussed matter. And what about fusion cooking………?
Please share your opinion in the Poll at the bottom of this page. .
Picture source: dreamstime.com
In our LinkedIn group “Master Chefs” ,
esteemed chef George Hill commented on a name I have given to a dish:
“Chefs please keep to the original intent and interpretation of a classical culinary name of a preparation. This is important to all and the profession in a global sense. Bolognaise is meat – I believe Spaghetti Bolognaise needs to be meat based to ensure clients understand this globally no matter where they are. We need to be careful with contradictions in terms.
This is more of a version of a Napolitana but even more accurate would be to name
Spaghetti: Minestra – Verdura – Ortaggio – Olegumi etc or others?”
My response :
I agree with you 100% in the principle of keeping originals original .
However, in light of the many millions of vegetarians who grace our restaurants on a daily basis, they will no doubt ( as I have experienced around the world for decades) understand exactly what is offered : A meatless ragout of vegetables in the Bolognese style.
I believe sometimes we have to serve our guest’s by keeping things simple.
Nowadays, unfortunately, most guests (and many so called chef’s) are not as educated in classic cuisine as we wish they were. I believe to simplify is to help them start their education.
Macadamia nut “pesto”,
I am not a fan of these names but I can accept them, as well as many others, as long as their stray from the original is clearly expressed in the dish’s name. (Back to ” VEGETARIAN bolognese “)
Bolognese is by definition a hearty sauce with meat. Either Italian (ragu) or French (ragout). Just messin’ with ya. LOL. Sounds good!
I think just about everybody interested in food knows that.
I just did a little word game, did not expect this to get all that flag for it
(I published this in 20 groups, found only a few folk’s without humor or tolerance 🙂
Life is to short to be uptight 🙂
That is true. If we can’t have a little fun with it why do it….?
My response :
There you have it 🙂
On another dish, “ Coq au Vin“
esteemed chef Patrick Asfaux commented :
bonjour Que d’erreurs !!!!!!!!! le coq au vin se fait avec du coq de 3 a 4kg et non avec un poulet la chair doit être ferme regardez ma recette mise sur votre blog tous les présidents l’ont testé dans notre restaurant parisien translate please best regards Chef Patrick Asfaux 30 ansétoilé Michelin
My response :
I am sure that most chef’s around the world are educated enough to be aware that Coq in French means rooster, therefore classically coq au vin – rooster in wine.
(Literal translation : Coq au vin – Rooster of the wine)
Most chefs around the world use chicken for two reasons :
“Coq au vin” is a very popular dish because of the cooking method, the sauce and the garnish. It is being served at some venues for hundreds and even thousands of guests at the same time. To source this amount of roosters would simply be impractical if not outright impossible.
I have worked in many countries around the world, mostly in five star operations. While at some places it is easy to source roosters, at others it is just too impractical or cost prohibitive. I try to keep my Blog light and practical, so that professional chefs can smile about some of the things I do and suggest, while less experienced cooks, hobby cooks and housewives will be able to easily re-create the recipes, maybe even applying their own twist.
I have been teaching at le cordon bleu for nearly eight years, classical French and international cuisine and when I was teaching about classical French dishes I made always sure that I teach these with the revered respect and quality they deserve. I have always tried to make sure the students understand the difference between a classic dish and one that is prepared ” in the style of ”
And I too have cooked for a # of presidents and royalty over the years, no biggie there.
Anyway, I do appreciate every single comment and critique,
so thank you and please stay with us.
Your input is highly appreciated.
Unfortunately, yesterday >LinkedIn< has decided to remove the >Share With Groups< link from it’s site.
I am sure they had a good reason for that and don’t want to be critical about it.
However, all of the comments and discussions which pertained to articles, opinions, recipes & pictures about food and the hospitality industry originated from
links I posted in various groups on >LinkedIn< originated on my own blog, >ChefsOpinion<
If you would like to continue to participate and be part of our lively and interesting Food & Hospitality community, you must now go directly
to the website >ChefsOpinion< since there will be no more links from >LinkedIn Groups> to >ChefsOpinion<
Thank you all for your participation in the past.
I hope to see you in the future as well on >ChefsOpinion<
I truly believe that nowadays most content on LinkedIn consists of spam of
one kind or another,most of it offering jobs which in many cases don’t exist;
they are merely a vehicle to transport people to the respective company web pages
and to earn them “clicks”.
Halleluja !!! I’ve got just two years to retirement 🙂
I LOVE my profession (Cook) but thank’s God it’s over soon.
I worked my butt off most of my life, but there were great rewards
as those of you who have traveled the world as executive chef know.
But now ?
Working for the government sounds better 😦