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Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by jrhettclark, May 8, 2014.
I'm having trouble wrapping my head around that one. Anyone have a preference over the other?
Tongs, but just to complicate the discussion, have you considered a pigtail?
I have always used tongs. I have a pigtail at home, I just don't see having as much dexterity with the fork.
I work in a strict no tong kitchen. I think Gray Kunz was the first to do it? It's because tongs are dirty (you ever look at all the food that builds up inside during a busy service), and they crush food. I don't care how awesome you are, tongs crush all fish. Period.
I swore by tongs for a long, I had a ton of tricks- pasta, soup, sticky pans. And learning to use the fork can be tough, but now I can do anything tongs can with a fork faster, cleaner more efficiently. F.Dick is the best brand I've found so far. They also make the best fish spat bar none, although I prefer a full palette knife instead but that's a discussion for another thread.
Who said anything about using tongs for fish?
They're dirty if you use dirty tongs, which is why kitchens are usually equipped with plenty of them, and like everything else, they get washed and sanitized. I guess you could say the same thing about forks, or any other kitchen utensil if you use it for everything throughout service without properly replacing, washing, and sanitizing it.
No one perfect tool.
Forks are good for heavy items like roasts (bound with string, of course) picking up whl chickens by the cavity, and the like. Great for some things like spinach and pasta. Downright sh*tty for steaks and snausages.
Tongs are great for a lot of items. Yes they do get dirty. That doesn't mean you should let them get dirty. They are cheap and you should have a bunch of them for service. Still the best thing for picking up a pie-pan of Fr. onion soup from under the salamander.
Palette knives are best for fish and other delicate items....
Ya beat me to it, Polly... I was one minute behind you posting....
I personally don't use tongs often. I don't necessarily use meat forks all the time either, but I use meat forks more than I use tongs.
I did use tongs when I worked the grill at a high end restaurant...not really a better tool for flipping and cross-hatching meat on a really hot grill than tongs. Most kitchens I've been in, tongs have been forbidden for most things. I say, tongs have their place, but in most cases I wouldn't use them.
A lot of it has to do with finesse and mentality. Tongs are rough on your food. Everyone has had tongs tear up a protein, or mash some veg, or something similar. They scream "bang it out" mentality and a lot of chefs forbid them because they lack finesse and consistently get abused (I've seen cooks grab china to plate with dirty tongs) and mis-used.
Like I said, they have a place. Working a crazy hot grill? You need tongs. My meat fork wouldn't cut it there. If I'm grabbing roasted veal bones and moving them to the stock pot, I'll use tongs.
No one has said it yet, but the whole "juices escape from the holes" BS is bunk. Yes, a small amount of juice will come out, but it hasn't been proven to effect the juiciness of a steak or protein in any real way.
Mmmm..no....not really. Maybe with steaks and chops, sure, yeah.
But I dare you you to move around sausages on a grill or from a pot of hot water with a fork with sharp tines. You know, stuff like blood and liver sausages, Bratwurst, Schueblig, Teewurst, Knackwurst, etc, etc. Do it once, and if the Chef hasn't whacked you over the head with an open palm, the (deleted) thing will burst open and squirt you good....
As the Germans sing when they get very drunk:
"Alles hat eine Ende, nuer die Wurst hat zwei....."
(everything has an end, but the sausage has two...)
Yeah, I'll give you that one. My statement certainly wasn't meant as a complete blanket, since with cooking there are exceptions to just about every rule. But I wouldn't use a fork while grilling something anyways.
But that also has to do with the pressure inside the casing and things like that...a piece of protein like a steak or a chop has no such casing, obviously.
Yeeaaah..... No. Foodpump, pollopicu, have you ever actually practiced using a small fork over tongs for a service? You say they're just as dirty? We all keep a bane Marie full of spoons a fork and a spat on our stations and the one utensil that never gets dirty is the fork. Also I rinse my bane out way more often than I've ever seen people replace tongs on the line.
You guys have dishwashers come and switch out tongs every twenty minutes? Maybe a box of clean tongs in the corner? I doubt it. Also I've worked at a lot of tong loving places and in every one of them I've seen that same food buildup. Every one.
'Who said anything about fish?' Generally people who use tongs, use them for EVERYTHING.
Sausages? We do a super delicate boudin blanc and once your meat is cooked the fork still does less damage than tongs. Sausages are not balloons, they won't just explode.
You're right there isn't one single perfect tool, and I myself use tongs on occasion, like for moving my logs around on the grill.
All this prejudice aside essentially you should probably work with whatever your kitchen is used to. If everyone on your line has tongs and the boss says an ideal cook should always have tongs in one hand and a folded towel in the other than do that. Act accordingly
And any chef who tries to 'whack me over the head' is getting stabbed. Probably with a meat fork.
Please do not presume to guess what the sanitation practices of my kitchen are. I've seen many unfortunate situations take place in quite a few kitchens, that's true, but I can assure you those details don't get by me.
It's not to say that forks aren't a great tool, I have a few of them at work, as well as at home. and to humor you..I'll probably explore using them a bit more to see what the hysteria is all about, but tongs, if used properly, (meaning, with common sense) are a great tool as well, and I don't see them disappearing anytime soon.
Not sure what a tong ever did to you, but you seem traumatized by it. I'm happy you're having fun with your fork, tho. At the end of the day that's what it's all about, having fun, right?
I'm not pointing fingers here. There is no need to be negative. I'm sure there are many ways to do things properly and I feel if highlighted those methods we'd be much better off than saying one way is better than the other.
Then why do we rest proteins before slicing them?
Dirty tongs are merely a sign of sanitation habits that need improving, just like dirty cutting boards, dirty pans, etc.
I sincerely apologize for my belligerent tone here- uncalled for in retrospect. It's obviously a subject I'm passionate about. You're all right 'at the end of the day it's all about having fun' and there's a million different ways to do everything, better to explore various techniques. I've never used chopsticks but I here that those are truly some of the best and most versatile tools- if you know how to drive the damn things.