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Home Chef vs. Restaurant Chef: Dispelling The Illusions

Like many of you who read this blog, I love to putter around in the kitchen. While I have no illusions about my prowess (or lack thereof) as a chef, when things are going really well, who among us hasn't imagined ourselves as the chef de cuisine in a fast paced three-star restaurant, dazzling the public with our cooking? After all, we have the Viking range and a bunch of All Clad, right?

Here's a great story about what happens when one of us actually gets the chance to do our thing in a professional kitchen -- the real trial by fire. It's a funny and sobering look at the real demands of a professional kitchen.

Comments (1)

Daniel Brown wrote:
09.01.04 at 9:56 AM

I think anyone who spends time in a home kitchen "fantasizes" about working in a commercial kitchen. But even from afar, I have a hunch it would spoil the love of cooking a bit. At home, you have the luxury of straying from the stated ingredient list or course content. Not in the mood for anchovies? Leave 'em out. Want to add a new ingredient to your usual salad dressing? Go for it.

People who eat in a restaurant aren't usually interested in having you stray from what the menu said. This is especially true if they've had a dish in your restaurant before. They don't want you mucking with their favorite dish (and the reason they came to your spot in the first place.)

No, my sense is that restaurant cooking isn't so much about creativity and exploration, it's about speed, consistency, and keeping food costs down.

The BEST way to cook in a commercial kitchen is long after customers have gone home.


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