Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Kitchen Confidential

Let's just get this out of the way: I did not make any notable food this week.

I know, I'm sorry. It was a busy week! So, instead of my usual random musings about my food philosophy leading into an awesome recipe with pretty pictures, there will just be random musings.

On the plane ride from Seattle to Philly, I finally read what many consider to be the quintessential book on working as a chef: Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential.

Kitchen Confidential completely surprised me. When I think of cooking, I think of the (at absolute minimum) thirty minutes I take to prepare a meal that I have never cooked before (not including cooking time), and for more complex meals, at least an hour, even when I've cooked them hundreds of times before. I love cooking and I've thought of doing it professionally, but this book really opened my eyes. My über careful, extremely slow way of cooking would never cut it in a restaurant.

Kitchen staff must be human robots, churning out hundreds of the same dish in a night as fast as they possibly can. And they often treated like dogs. Before one proves themselves as a capable cook at a restaurant they are worth absolutely nothing to the rest of the kitchen staff. There is, of course, no room for creativity unless one is the head chef and gets to decide the menu, but even then there is almost no improvisation on a day-to-day basis. Even for chefs that get to be creative, the job is even more about management than it is about cooking.

I am very happy I read this book, if only because now I will hopefully stop daydreaming about cooking for a living. Hopefully...

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