Kitchen & Life Philosophy

30 Nov

You live by the knife and die by the knife.  There are many sayings heard around the kitchen.  Some are great and others are well, just kinda scary.  How does one transfer the words heard near the kettle to one’s life?

Work with a Sense of Urgency: This is my all time fav.  It is quick and to the point.  You need to get it done, quickly and efficiently.  To me it brings up the ideas of grace, finesse, production, and speed.  It also implies a drive to get better, accomplish, and innovate. Every kitchen should have this posted.  If you have workers, friends, team-mates, etc who do not have this drive, then you need to rethink your working relationship with them.

Make it Work:  Ok so, it is kinda a Tim Gunn saying, but it is essential to working in a kitchen.  You are short an ingredient, you are short on time, you are short on workers, you know.  You just have to make it work with what you have.  Just make it happen.

Mise En Place, The Meez: Love it.  Organize, organize, plan, and plan.  Do it often and do it well.  Meez is essential to success in any field, not just in cooking.  Know what you are doing, understand the process so you can reach your desired result.  If you have a game plan going forward then you minimize your possibility of failure.

Taste It-Try It-Smell It-Touch It:  You have to give it a go.  One has to try to attempt to do a task even if you fail at it the first time and you need to know how it feels or tastes.  My french macaroons were not perfect the first time, oh and think of that first souffle.  You can only improve if you see where you fell short or where you excelled.  Use your common senses.   By using your senses you will then be able to measure where you are at.  Oh, if it smells bad; chances are it is rotten.  If you want a second opinion taste it, then you will know.  By the way, don’t be afraid to try this approach, it works and you learn really fast.

Document & Doodle:  It is always good to write down ideas, lists, goals, draw, failures, and achievements.  You can always go back, review, make more notes, and improve. There is something about pen on paper that my computer can not replace and then again there is something that typing on a computer a pen can’t do for me.

Besides being the devil I have a tiny little chef that lives in my head.  Yes, I love the movie “Ratatouille”!  I watch it when I am depressed.  Here are some quotes I love from the move that get me going.

“Food always comes to those who love to cook.”

“Let’s do this thing”

“This so needs saffron”

“Lightningy?”

“In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau’s, who is, in this critic’s opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau’s soon, hungry for more.”

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