This post has been contributed – All opinions are mine alone
It’s likely that if you follow this blog, you are interested in cooking, and not only cooking, but cooking well. If this sounds like you, then you have more in common with the great chefs of the past and present than you think. Every chef started from humble beginnings, and it might be the case that you wish to place yourself among their legendary positions later in life. To get there, you’re going to need to start out at the bottom. Unlike many corporate jobs, there is simply no way to fake competency in the chef’s world. Either you can cook, or you can’t, and you’ll be told one way or the other by those you serve food to.
Cheffing is notoriously one of the most difficult jobs you can perform, outside of the military, emergency or medical professions. If you want to serve as a competent one (you must be competent before you can be great), take advantage of these following attitudes. Wear them like a suit of armor, and you can be sure to be well on your way to success as a pro or as a great home cook.
Great Chefs Accept Mistakes & Ask Questions
It might seem by watching cooking programs that chefs are the most childish, flippant and superfluous people around. Not so. Chef’s of every level encounter struggle almost every day, and are continually the most humbled people on the planet. In fact, the reason that famous chefs are often aggressive if something goes wrong is because all of the insane amounts of behind the scenes effort is so vast that it’s difficult to picture, and seeing it not come to fruition can be a bitter pill to swallow.
What you don’t see is the thousands if not millions of mistakes the great chefs have made in the past, and the number of times they have failed. That, exactly that, is why they succeed. Prepare to have your competency questioned by staff and guest alike for your formative years. This sounds harsh and difficult to bear, but it can actually be the most informative period of your life, and you’ll learn so much about yourself you’ll be positively stunned.
Great Chef’s Use Great Equipment
The secrets behind any great chef are the tools they use. Purchase a chef knife, and spare no expense doing so. This will be your baby, and it will be yours to sharpen, use and come to an implicit natural use of. It should feel like an extension of your body. It is the most important tool in the kitchen by far. Also purchase a list of clean, crisp and ventilated chef whites that you wash every night. Shoes like crocs are known as the industry standard for their very comfortable wear, but be sure to get steel toe-capped ones for obvious reasons.
Most importantly, great chef’s have great cooking equipment and practice at home with it, if not in the kitchen. Formidable pizza ovens from Cast Elegance, specialized steaming pots and char-grills should all be delicately balanced. You should be able to look at any item in the kitchen, understand its use, and understand exactly the timings you could cook select fresh ingredients in.
These skills, in conjunction with great equipment, serves to make a chef great. Best of luck on your journey through the kitchen!