Top 5 important kitchen skills and top 5 must to know recipe

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by fts93, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. fts93

    fts93

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    Hi!

    What do you think are the five most important kitchen techniques a chef(cook) must learn?
    And then what is the "must to know" recipe in the kitchen?

    My answer for the first question is:

    1. Working Clean
    2. Ability to endure stress
    3. Mise En Place
    4. Knife Skills(more important in fine dine restaurant, but of course you dont want to cut your finger every time in the kitchen.
    5. Seasoning

    For the Second question i do not have answer, so what you guys thing about it? What is the top recipes in the professional kitchen? Or is there such recipes?

    -Kalle
     
  2. robo

    robo

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    learn how to make beef, veal, chicken, and fish stocks. 5 mother sauces - bechamel, veloutes, espagnole, tomato sauce, hollandaise
     
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  3. shootoo

    shootoo

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    Agreed on your five. I might switch your numbers to
    2
    3
    1
    5
    4
    Wild card to throw in - recognize immediately when you make a mistake and quickly identify if you can fix it without sacrificing standards


    For recipes:

    A couple quick soups. Roux based, broth/stock based, ect
    Prime rib, or turkey, or chicken... whatever roasted meat you can throw in and ignore
    Pasta sauces - marinara, Alfredo, pesto
    One or two desserts

    Assuming you need these recipes in an emergency. Most of your others should be learned at whatever establishment you're working in
     
  4. poorpig

    poorpig

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    1 - mise en place

    2 - knife skills

    3 - starting, following through, and stowing away prep items (don't leave things half-assed!)

    4 - understanding where a prime rib, flank steak, rabbit saddle, tenderloin, etc. come from on an animal so you can properly prepare it and relate to the animal.

    5 - staying cool and calm through anything a prep day or service can throw at you. After over a decade of working in kitchens, I've never lost my shit at anyone. A stern, respectful voice will garner more respect than freaking out. Getting angry wastes too much time and energy.

    There is a plethora of other important things, but I think that's a proper top 5. This is also all assuming that learning how to cook is the forever number 1 on the list.

    I don't think there is necessarily an exact, individual recipe everyone should know, but these 5 basics are what I fall back on almost daily.

    1 - How to make a good stock

    2 - How to make the correct pasta dough for a certain application (stuffed, flat, extruded, etc.)

    3 - Buerre Monte ( when we rest our steaks, we rest them in buerre monte so they slowly absorb the butter)

    4 - 10 minute tomato sauce (done to order, diced up over-ripe tomatoes, hot pan, reduce, add shallots and garlic to sweat in the tomato juices, thyme and basil, s & p, done)

    5 - French fries (there is a serious art to french fries and way too many restaurants do it wrong sinces it's just a french fry)
     
  5. adamburgerdavis

    adamburgerdavis

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    I don't think that there's any reason safety and sanitation shouldn't be number 1 on everybody's list. I don't care if Thomas Keller prepared me the best food of my life if he were to follow the 5 second rule. In my limited experience I've seen too many times where someone sacrifices their integrity just so the expediter doesn't tell at them for a slow ticket time. The worst was when I saw something as simple as a toasted bun fall, hit the edge of a garbage bin and then the cook "catches it" on his shoe and said "Damn that was close." unfortunately he was supposed to be my superior so when I said something he told me to screw off. I mean what it takes 30 seconds on a 700 degree grill to toast another. Unsurprisingly he was fired a couple weeks later for his attitude. Sorry about the rant but my number 2 would have to be work ethic followed by 3 organization/mise en place, 4 high standards for their food, and 5 knife skills. Again in my limited experience it seems like anybody can be taught how to cook on the line but you need all these characteristics to LEAD a brigade or become more than just another cook.
    As for my top 5 recipes/techniques I'll be more blunt.
    1. How to season
    2. Stocks
    3. Mother sauces
    4. Knowing how to cook different cuts of a protein
    5. How to make a pan sauce
     
  6. fts93

    fts93

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    You dont say anything to the Mr.Keller but if he would saw you in the his kitchen he would slap you to the backhead, when you preparing your stocks/mother sauces->-> and dont be clean same time :). You told what recipes is good to know in the kitchen, but i would say that all that comes easier from the clean and well organized kitchen, than messy and dirty kitchen. 

    -Kalle
     
  7. cacioepepe

    cacioepepe

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    First of all, cleanliness, ability to endure stress, staying cool through service etc are NOT techniques.  If anything they are character traits or learned behavior.  The techniques (I hope) the OP eludes to should include braising, roasting, pan roasting, blanching, poaching, confit, baking, searing, sauteing, sweating, seasoning, etc. 

    Secondly, I'm surprised at how many people include the mother sauces in the 'must know' portion of the post.  I would think that there are dozens of other components to a dish that are more desirable than a veloute or a espagnole.  I would say any basic stock, a properly made and seasoned vinaigrette, a rolled and cut pasta, aioli, a roasted chicken.  I pick these not because they are necessarily essential to cooking as a single item, but because if you know how to make these things properly, and well, then you know how to manipulate food without a recipe which is what cooking is all about.  Not "whatever roasted meat you can throw in the oven and ignore".
     
  8. adamburgerdavis

    adamburgerdavis

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    Are you agreeing with me? Your post confuses me a little bit.
     
  9. cacioepepe

    cacioepepe

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    If you're talking about my response, Adam, I would say I partially agree with you. 
    I DON'T think sanitation and food safety should be on any list.  They are not techniques.  They are behaviors.  Your 'rant', although completely valid, doesn't really apply here.  That's where I disagree.  I do agree with 4 out of 5 of your "recipes", the only exception being mother sauces.  I generally think they're outdated and not completely applicable in a kitchens today.  I am potentially opening a can of worms here...
     
  10. squirrelrj

    squirrelrj Banned

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    You're not opening a can of worms, it's all about where you work and how you manipulate your product(s).

    We use a lot of mother sauces where I am, so I expect all the cooks to know how to make all of the sauces when needed, without asking how to make said sauce.

    Some places don't use them at all, so knowing them probably isn't the most important thing for those cooks, but it's nice to have people know them just incase.

    For me, the biggest things would be.

    1)Seasoning

    2)Layered flavors, knowing how to make dishes and recipes that have underlying flavors, not just throwing everything in a pot together and hoping for the best.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2012
  11. r6zack

    r6zack

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    Skills

    1. Mise en place - I think this works hand in hand with "clean work station" so, that's why I made it number 1.

    2. Keeping a cool head - It's a kitchen and shit is going to get rough, keep your head down and work through it.

    3. Knife Skills - depending on which station / type of restaurant you work in.

    4. Understanding ingredients. 

    5. Proper rotation of food items - I know this one SHOULD be common sense, but we've all seen it. Knowing to use the oldest items first, and properly dating and rotating fresh prep items with the older ones.

    As far as the actual "cooking" part of the job I would say

    1. Seasoning

    2. Flavor profiles and how to build, layer them. - knowing what works, what could work, and shit you just shouldn't try.

    3. Sauces - How to properly make them, whether it's mother sauces or spaghetti sauce, knowing how to properly execute, thicken, and reduce your sauces.

    4. Stocks

    5. Willingness to learn - Never be complacent, always wanting to push more and learn more and more, no matter how long / short you've been doing it. 
     
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  12. guts

    guts

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    Calling "mise en place" a skill is a bit broad isn't it? That's like saying "Oh, you should know cooking!".

    That being said, you should definitely know how to cook.
     
  13. djoko verona

    djoko verona

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    I don't have that skill called "mise en place" ...as far as i know mise en place have nothing to to with skills...
     
  14. cacioepepe

    cacioepepe

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    Thank you...hell, we first started out talking about technique and some how mise fell into this category too.
     
  15. squirrelrj

    squirrelrj Banned

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    I wouldn't call mise a technique, but I would certainly call it a trait, either you're good at it, or you're a mess.

    It's certainly needed to be succesfull in the kitchen, IMO.
     
  16. r6zack

    r6zack

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    I'm not sure how it's not, it's an important part of kitchen work. If properly applied, it speeds up everything you do. It makes you quicker with recipes / prep work. It makes you quicker on the line because you know exactly where everything is, It improves all around performance, I would think that it would be a desirable ... skill / technique / trait / attribute.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2012
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  17. iworktomuch

    iworktomuch

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    1. cleanliness 

    2. Seasoning

    3. flavor layering

    4. knife skills

    5. sense of urgency 
     
  18. kippers

    kippers

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    +1
     
  19. guts

    guts

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    I'm just saying that referring to 'mise en place' as a skill covers an extremely wide array of abilities. Your mise en place could include everything from sauce making, whole animal butchery, braising, making a perfect dice, making ice cream, etc all the way to 'opening a bag of frozen whatever'. If you're going to say you should know how to do 'mise en place', you might as well say you should know how to cook. Or hell, say you should know how to work in a restaurant.
     
  20. r6zack

    r6zack

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    Sir, I believe on this one, we must agree to disagree. I see your point, and I think the reason I put so much credit on Mise en place is because I had zero kitchen or formal culinary experience before jumping into the kitchen of a restaurant. I cooked at home, but it was sloppy comfort food cooking, zero technique. When I was taught mise en place it pretty much changed my whole demeanor regarding ingredients and cooking. My value for mise en place high on a personal level I guess, whereas, for someone who knew a lot about the culinary world before entering the kitchen, it would be like.. meh, yeah mise en place, I got that shit.

    So, I'm not going to say you're wrong I'm right, or visa versa, I'll just keep it to, we have different views and values regarding mise en place.