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Chat up the butcher and baker, or if you're at the farmer's market, pick your farmer's brain. They'll often have great tips for how to prepare whatever you're perusing. In addition, chefs and home cooks know to keep certain read: versatile ingredients stocked at all times.
Think: Plain yogurt, canned chickpeas, and beans to add texture and protein to salads, chilis, soups; citrus to brighten any dish; sea salt and fresh herbs for finishing; olive oil; shallots, garlic, and fresh black pepper, for example.
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Another aspect to honing your culinary skills is all about proper knife skills. From maintenance know-how like keeping your knives sharp regularly to how to best hold a knife , and then learning the various cuts you'll turn to on a regular basis, knife knowledge is key. For starters, we rounded up the most popular knife cuts you should know, according to a chef, from chiffonade to julienne.
Then, you'll also want to study up on kitchen tools essentials. Do you know your chef's knife from a paring knife , or when to use a serrated knife over a cleaver?
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Every knife, just like the myriad kitchen tools out there, has a purpose. In addition to expertly navigating the grocery store and farmer's market, as well as learning to properly wield your knife and other essential kitchen tools, mastering the various ways to apply salt, acid, fat, and heat during the cooking process creates a solid foundation to take your cooking skills to the next level.
For an approachable tutorial on these core cooking elements, look to none other than cook, author, and teacher Samin Nosrat of the Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat cookbook, and Netflix series. The cookbook description explains the importance of these elements, writing, "Master the use of just four elements—Salt, which enhances flavor; Fat, which delivers flavor and generates texture; Acid, which balances flavor; and Heat, which ultimately determines the texture of food—and anything you cook will be delicious.
It also can't be overstated that time spent in the kitchen practicing your craft is directly related to how well, and how quickly you'll improve. And if you're looking for some guidance on where to start, why not learn and perfect the following skills below:. It might take patience and reading a recipe multiple times before you can begin to improvise in the kitchen. This is the authentic Italian way of making pasta. Instead of straining the pasta, use tongs or a large slotted spoon to scoop the cooked pasta out of the boiling water.
Dump it directly into the cooking sauce and toss everything together. The sauce will coat the pasta, and everything will come together in the most scrumptious way. Go beyond salt and pepper with these tips. The culinary arts are a creative pursuit. Much like a writer, artist, musician or any other creative career, you have to live and breathe what you do.
Chef Salaries & Job Growth
If you want to be a chef that puts any kitchen they cook in on the map then be prepared to dedicate a lot of your time and energy in pursuit of the perfect plate. It can be tiring and nobody would blame you for feeling worn out at the end of a shift. This dedication is how brilliant chefs are born. A pressure for anyone doing their dream job is the competition. And with more choice comes more chances for diners to be snatched out of your seats and plonked down into another. Get out there and see what else is on offer. Leaders help to create an environment where people thirst for knowledge, aspire to exceed expectations, share common goals, and feel an important part of the team responsible for reaching those goals.
Every chef who eyes a long and fruitful career at the helm of a kitchen must exude the characteristics of leadership. Cost controls are essential, but a restaurant will never be able to cut costs as the sole method of reaching for long-term success. This might be done by creating reasons for increased traffic, or by building check averages through effective menu planning, costing strategies, and taking part in effective front-of-the-house training programs to drive upselling.
Decision making in any business without substantial, useable data is nearly impossible. It is true that some decisions are best if they come from gut feelings, but even those should be based on a strong foundation of statistical data. Chefs need to know how to check averages, what items sell best at different times, why business is best on certain days and worse on others, how much each menu item contributes to overall financial success, the cost of producing each item, the amount of labour required to produce certain items, the yield from various cuts of meat and seafood, etc.
The more useable detail the better, however, data is only useful if it is studied and applied. Chefs with the brightest future are always appreciative and thoughtful when it comes to history and tradition in kitchens and with cooking, but open-minded enough to study, and when appropriate, embrace the changes that will keep a restaurant successful for decades. The best chefs are thinking ahead of the competition and even ahead of the customer. The best chefs are able to anticipate what people will want in the future.
Without question, chefs need to be masters of cooking and be able to train cooks to replicate flavours, aromas, and presentations that will inspire guests and pull them back, time and again. Some chefs have a gift, or a greater level of achievement in this regard, however, simply being a masterful cook does not automatically equate to restaurant success.
This is a major part of the package that you sell, but on its own it will be incomplete. The attitude of service excellence can never be ignored. To drive that top line, restaurants must engage a service staff with the hard knowledge and soft skills that lead to first class customer experiences, higher check averages, and return business.
Owners and operators are seeking chefs who are able to create, improve, and promote the positive brand of a restaurant and make its name part of household conversation. The goal of any advertising and promotion program is to reach for word-of-mouth marketing. The way to word-of-mouth is through brand building and recognition. The way to restaurant brand building is through brand promotion of the chef and his or her team.