These are the most compelling and universal lessons that I learned from cooking with some of the best chefs in the world. Taken together, these tips should paint a clear portrait of what it means to know what you’re doing in the kitchen. If there’s one lesson to take away from this entire book, this is it. Cooking is not about blindly adding this and that and hoping that what you’re making comes out okay. Engage with the food you’re making and taste it every step of the way.
When it’s not to your liking, adjust it. Chefs don’t measure how much olive oil, butter, salt, pepper, or vinegar they add to a dish; they use these to adjust food as it cooks. To enrich food, they add fat. To heighten the flavor, they add salt. For a spicy kick, they add pepper. And for a sour edge, they add acid. It’s not just a neat trick to know about; it’s your job to use these tools to make your cooking great. Once you understand that, your food will taste better forevermore.
Too many times, we shop with a recipe in mind and come home with bags of ingredients to make that recipe, and whatever is left over gets shoved into the fridge. Great chefs and home cooks go to the market and buy what’s beautiful and in season. Then—and here’s the kicker—they display what they buy in baskets or bowls so that this food not only serves to make their homes beautiful (baskets full of radishes and turnips, bowls spilling over with Meyer lemons), it serves as inspiration for cooking.
Image is everything and a stylish chef is conscious that appearances count and will convey the image of a professional who is concerned about presentation and details.
Therefore, it is a matter of the extreme importance that you a accumulate an assortment of sophisticated chef coats and aprons to wear.
The traditional chef coats are white, double breasted with ten or 12 buttons and a Nehru (mandarin) collar. Marie-Antoine Carême, a well-known French chef in the mid-19th century, is famous with making this type of jacket popular and is still in style today.
Almost every major uniform brand offers a line of chef jackets and aprons. Men’s chef coats are now available in what were once considered women’s colors and women’s chef coats are no longer smaller versions of men’s, with styles made specifically for a woman’s figure.
With all of the different brands, styles, profiles, fabrics and colors of chef coats to choose from, there is a chef coat for everyone’s taste and price point. However, to keep their prices low, many uniform companies that offer chef coats limit their choices to the cheapest ones to manufacture and to some people, all they care about is price. If it’s white, double breasted with ten or 12 buttons, and a Nehru, military or mandarin collar, it’s a chef coat. They couldn’t care less about the construction, fabric, fit, or style. Their only concern is price. If price is your only concern, there are many culinary apparel manufacturers that mass-produce discount chef uniforms. However, for a few dollars more than what you pay for generic chef coats and aprons, you can get them custom-made. For more information on custom made chef coats and aprons check out Crooked Brook.