Welcome to The Aspiring Chef!
I want to share with you tips and advice on some very basics of cooking like a chef based on my own experience.
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
I had left college before completing my degree because I was becoming overwhelmed and anxiety ridden. I needed to start paying off my loans and I still didn’t know what I wanted to do as a career when it was all done. I took a break from school to work full-time and decide what my end goal would be after college.
I started at your typical chain restaurant near my home. The food was nothing too impressive. Steak was cooked on a grill, fried food in a deep fryer, and everything else was given to chef Mic. Vegetable sides were portioned into microwavable bags, a bit of butter blend squirted into the bag, then thrown into a microwave. This was repeated for mashed potatoes, soups, sauces, etc.
What really had me was the environment and the people. I loved the fast pace of the dinner rush, the witty banter between cooks and waitstaff, and the feeling of accomplishment after the last ticket went out and there was nothing left but to clean the kitchen to repeat it all the next day. The food was trash, but we usually had a lot of satisfied customers walking out the door. I loved the kitchen, so I needed to learn enough to get my foot in the door of a real one.
I spent about a year teaching myself based on the course outlines at the Culinary Institute of America. I read the syllabus, looked up what it meant, and then found information on how to do it. When I say “looked up what it meant”, I didn’t even know what the syllabus was telling me. What in the world is Garde Manger?
ALL YOU NEED IS PASSION FOR FOOD. . . AND THE BASICS
You don’t need to know the fancy french terms for cold food preparations or hot foods etc. The very basics that I will lay out here will take you from home cooking out of Mom’s cookbooks to creating any recipe from your own knowledge. I will give you tips on what tools to use and what are some best references to have on hand. If you are curious to find out the fancy french, some books I recommend will have all of them.
WHAT WILL YOU GET OUT OF THE ASPIRING CHEF?
- Basic knife skills including what are the best knives to have/own.
- Foundations of flavor: Stocks and Sauces, How to salt and season like a pro.
- Proper techniques: Grill, Sauté, Braise, Blanch, Boil, Roast
- Having the tools to succeed: What’s in your knife bag? What’s on your bookshelf?
If you ever need a hand or have ay questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.
All the best,