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Rules for the Aspiring Cook.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:55 pm    Post subject: Rules for the Aspiring Cook. Reply with quote

1. First do no harm! In other words if you're going to mess with any given foodstuff, then make sure the results of your tampering are going to be an improvement on the original. In a high-end London restaurant recently, a chef who should way know better served me a dish where white crab meat had been pulled and pulverised to the point where all of its original flavour had been all but destroyed. Anyone knows that good white crab served in a bowl with a slice of brown bread and butter and at most, a light squeeze of lemon, cannot be bettered and it's a fools errand to try; I was amazed to see such a renowned chef fall into so simple a trap!
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2016 4:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

2. Clean as you go. Very Happy I struggle a bit with this one, as the GF always makes a point of telling me. Very Happy

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2016 5:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

3. Perfect your knife skills before tackling anything else.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2016 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

4. (I'm sure Av will be with me on this) Get your roux technique down and work on your sauces. They will be the key element of many dishes, both savory and sweet, and will make or break the end result.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2016 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

5. Have ingredients ready and nearby before starting to cook.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2016 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

6. And always stick to the weights and measures. Unless you know what your doing changing ingredients half way through could spell disaster. By the same token exactitude isn't always necessary and ingredients often need to be taken with a pinch of salt.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2016 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

7. Similar to rule 1: less is sometimes more and simple is not always bad. Only use a few good ingredients at a time and make them shine on their own.

Or as the poet says:

"To gild refined gold, to paint the lily, to throw a perfume on the violet, to smooth the ice, or add another hue unto the rainbow, or with taper-light to seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish, is wasteful and ridiculous excess."
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2016 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

8. Use fresh ingredients if at all possible!!!! Having an herb garden is a good thing. If you cant grow things, buy fresh ingredients.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2016 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

9. Taste, taste, taste. (And season with care - easier to add incrementally than to correct if overdone.)
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 4:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, never understood people who don't taste as they go along. Also, in regard to Vaders "less is more," the GF is always going on about "3 ingredients."

Uh, rules...

10: Timing, timing, timing. It can be difficult to get everything to come out at once, but getting this right is essential. Identify the things that can stand safely, and start those first.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

11. Never serve hot foods on cold plates; 50% of your effort has been for nothing.

I've been to supposedly good restaurants where they've broken this simple rule and paid the price with a lukewarm tepid dish.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2016 4:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, I hate cold plates. Very Happy It's like serving your beer in a warm glass. Yuck.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2016 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This isn't a rule - more of an advice thing: Don't be afraid to experiment with different flavour combinations that shouldn't in theory work. I had asparagus in a sweet almond syrup recently in a restaurant and wow! Monkfish in red wine sauce was another dish that blew me away. Think about it and if there's an inkling of"it might just work" in there - it probably will.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar wrote:
Yeah, never understood people who don't taste as they go along.


There are a lot of standard dishes I know by heart and only taste right before serving to adjust flavors. I usually do my zaziki blindfolded with one arm tied to the back and it always works out. Last time I made zaziki, I finally paid the prize for my hybris. I tasted the finished product and I it was sweet as frak. I immediately checked the yogurt container - I always use full fat greek yogurt for my zaziki - and only then I noticed it said in nice greek like letters: "Natural Greek Yogurt" and in smaller print below "honey flavored". Come on, they could at least have printed a Sirtaki dancing bee on the label. But if I had tasted right form the beginning, I might have been able to avoid catastrophe.

peter wrote:
This isn't a rule - more of an advice thing: Don't be afraid to experiment with different flavour combinations that shouldn't in theory work.


Let me assure you, honey flavored Zaziki is utterly vile.

12. Make your own fond/stock/broth. I will taste when you are using stock cubes or such. And I won't exer come back to your restaurant again.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

13. Blitzing veg in a liquidiser does not make it soup. Soup is a heartwarming kiss to the soul and deserves respect (in fact a rule could be 'Throw away your liquidizer- but that might be a bit too harsh: a compromise is 'Stick it in a cupboard and forget it's there).
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

14. Inedible stuff as decoration is a no go. Whatever ends up on a plate is meant to be eaten. A few fried rosemary needles? Fine. But whole twigs and branches belong to the forest and not on the plate.
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Last edited by Vader on Thu Jul 28, 2016 11:09 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 4:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 6:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm 100% with that one! It could be extended to include edible things that are nothing to a dish. A harmonious plate of food well served has nothing extraneous on it whatsoever.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pour a half sink of hot water before beginning your prep and have hand wash and towel next to it. That way each of the half dozen hand washes needed as you swap from raw ingredient to raw ingredient can be managed quickly and efficiently

Don't cut thawing times too fine for frozen produce that must be defrosted. Allow extra time and then keep the item chilled for a short while if needed.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2017 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Get a good thermometer. Learn your temps for meats. Overcooked meat is garbage.
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