A Word About Sous Chefs

“Sous Chef: A cook with considerable experience on the line who now has a supervisory role in the kitchen, overseeing line cooks.” On The Line, Eric Ripert Don’t argue! The sous chef is Always Right! Foolish cooks, cling to the notion, the kitchen is a democracy. On the hot line, there’s no time for personal feelings, around you line cooks are busy busting their ass to get the food in the pass; so what if the sous chef shouts at you “move faster.” Eight entrée are in the pass and dying fast because you forgot the “fried calamari” add on. Feeling grumpy? Wish someone would take an interest and massage your ego? Not tonight buddy ain’t gonna happen. The sous chef is doing their job; do yours. It’s a brigade system, a hierarchy set down by the great man himself, Auguste Escoffier. Never get it twisted, in a properly run kitchen the executive chef sits at the pinnacle. Directly underneath are the sous chefs, who started out where you are, to get where they are. In the cramped environs of the kitchen, do what you’re told, do it quickly and move on to the next task. You’re a line cook, every day in the kitchen, is a new learning experience for you. If there’s no more challenge at work – leave! Find a better kitchen. Find one that forces you to push yourself. Find one where you are constantly challenged to set the bar higher and higher. Dig in, put […]

Books for Cooks

“There is no magic in cooking” Jomo Morris   “I bought another book today.” “Where, on eBay?” “Yes.” Artichoke shifts in his seat to face her. “Could you please slow down.” She sucks air between her teeth. “Relax.” Silence. “I’m not speeding. And why waste money on books; no one reads like that anymore.” “I do.” His hands betray his annoyance at her tone and he deliberately turns his head and ahead at the oncoming lights. “Do you?” “It’s old fashioned.” His jaw tightens. The tail lights of a tractor trailer wink in and out of the darkness. “Ten years ago, kitchens used real recipes to make food. Back then I used to cook – with real vegetables that still had dirt on them. I used a real knife and a cutting board and made salads with real lettuce and dressing.” His voice grows quiet as he utters the last syllable. Unbidden an image of him wearing a chef’s jacket surfaces. His next sentence comes out in a rush, “Now it’s just a matter of mixing one flavor strip with the next.” She grips the steering wheel tighter and the car speeds up. Artichoke sighs and says, “Celia, let the GPS take us home.” “No.” “Why are you so stubborn? Let the computer do what it was programmed to do. He reaches out and strokes her cheek.  “I promise, promise to stop living in the past.” Celia allows the tension to leave her shoulders. “It’s just that sometimes, I feel as […]