Sunday, March 14, 2010

You Can’t Learn to Cook from a Book…Really?!

Things has been awfully cordial on this maiden voyage of my blog, however it’s time to VENT. You will come to find out about me that at times, I can get nuclear, so here goes. I’ve heard the above saying one too many times. To be clear, you CANNOT learn to be a PROFESSIONAL chef from a book. Working in a professional kitchen with all of its inherent pressures, hierarchy, politics, and demands, is no different than working at your particular job.  You must learn the ropes there.

However, the act of cooking, producing great food can be learned from books, instructional videos, etc. On the first day of trigonometry class did the instructor say, “Okay people no textbooks for this class, you can’t learn trigonometry from a book,” RIDICULOUS. If you take the time to study, and then practice in the kitchen you undoubtedly can learn to cook from a book. Luckily for the so inclined, the greatest chefs over time have generously, for profit, shared their knowledge with the world.

Oh, and please don’t say that you are SELF-TAUGHT. Everything you know is learnt from someone else, maybe not directly through a class in school, but from knowledge outside of yourself. Who amongst us that is fortunate enough to walk, says “Yes I walk, I was self-taught.” No, someone took the time to teach you to walk, and not in a class by the way. I did not go cooking school, I’ve taken some classes, but ultimately I learn better through self-study.  Nevertheless, the knowledge comes from outside of me. Saying that one is self-taught is just another way for humans to satisfy their need to feed the ego.

The third statement I get that burns me up is…”You were born with it.” Really?! I was born on October 21 in the 70’s with a functioning cardiovascular system that keeps me alive, and brain cells that work, sometimes. Through the years I’ve killed off far too many, but that’s off point. I can go on for pages, but my blood pressure is way too high right now, and that cardiovascular system might stop working mid-blog.

That’s all for now…till we exchange a few words again…Peace!

2 comments:

  1. Your "angry" post is actually quite on point. I agree with everything you've said. No one comes out of their mothers womb with a Wustoff in one hand and a microplane in the other saying, "let me teach you how to cook!"

    Some of the best "chefs"/cooks I know have never been near a professional cooking school. The only "cooking school" they ever went to were their mom's and grandma's kitchens ... the best type of cooking school in my opinion.

    I also know a few professionally trained "chefs" that really suck!!! They're all highfalutin but they can't cook worth a damn. One "chef" comes to mind ... I remember bringing over a nice 100% grass-fed steak to grill on his BBQ and this guy supposedly grilled it for me. He left the damn thing so bloody and undercooked ... it was disgusting. As I was standing there re-grilling the steak, I see that this guy undercooked everything ... I mean the shrimp were still kinda grey!!! It was gross. Also, I don't think this guy had ever formally met a salt shaker, everything he made was so underseasoned. I can't believe they let this guy graduate.

    I also know a "pastry chef" who makes nice looking cakes and desserts but they always taste like cardboard.

    So there you have it ... just because you go to culinary school doesn't mean you can cook well and vice versa.

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  2. No one comes out of their mothers womb with a Wustoff in one hand and a microplane in the other saying, "let me teach you how to cook!"

    Love it...great line! I also love the fact that you know Wustoff...awesome.

    I also know a "pastry chef" who makes nice looking cakes and desserts but they always taste like cardboard.

    Could not agree more. I'm all for presentation, because humans eat with their eyes first, but ultimately flavor holds the memory.

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