Who is it for?

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Joined Dec 1, 2002
This question came to my mind while reading the "personality plus" thread. Chef1x, was talking about quality, and how a chef has a trait of having to create a perfect plate. I have to create a perfect plate for myself. That's first to me. Second is the guest, they would probably love second rate work, but I want it better than they imagined. Third is for the restaurant, at least where I work now, so it looks good and people come back. When you are slam-weeded, and you do the same as if you only got one two top is what it is about. So anyway my question is who do you do it for CT members? Your sweat, blood, scars, and that big piece of dead skin on the base of your right pointer finger. who is it for?

_____________IronChefATL__________________________ ___


Standards are not situational.
 
261
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Joined Dec 4, 2002
Hmmmmm,

of course it has to be for yourself, that is probably essential.

I wouldn't exactly put the customer 2nd. I always try to imagine an ideal customer who is going to appreciate the effort.

That's also probably a good reason not to have an open kitchen; so you can fantasize about "ideal" customers and you don't have to look at the people you are really serving;).
In reality, you have to be doing it in order to please SOMEONE other than yourself: Your boss, your friend, your chef, your significant other, etc.....

You should also consider doing it for your fellow kitchen mates.... that tends to be very rewarding, and as I've seen posted here numerous times, something to the effect of: you are only as good as the people you work with/train/lead.

I remained on my last job for approximately 3 years longer than I really felt neccessary, MOSTLY because I felt I owed it to the people I worked with.

Pleasing only yourself gets boring after a while:D

AND, I never said PERFECT plate; I only strive for/fantasize about the possibility.

It sounds like you are on the right track though.:)
 

kuan

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Joined Jun 11, 2001
Well you certainly don't do it for the money. That's for sure. I do it for myself. If I wanted to do things for other people I'd find something else which doesn't take so much effort. It fills an intensely deep emotional hole in me. It's a rush you can't really describe. I look at it like a challenge, a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs, an inate desire to create, a chance to play god a little.

A friend of mine compares being a chef to being a priest. It's a vocation, and it's hard to leave. Even if you physically leave the kitchen, the feeling remains for life. This is the life we choose. Like Michael Corleone says... everytime I try to leave, they pull me back in again.

Kuan
 
153
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Joined Dec 1, 2002
Well I would like to slightly re-phrase my earlier statement. If nobody else cared how well I did my job, I would still do my best for myself. I get alot of personal satisfaction from making good food. I believe more satisfaction than the people eating it. It's sometimes hard for me to be proud of the place I work now. When we get "busy", the others I work with and I don't have the same definition of busy, the chef and sous chef take alot of quality comprimising short-cuts. I try my best to make a tasty demi from a bitter speckled veal stock. This experience has shown me that some people just don't have a good attention to detail. Maybe they don't get satisfaction from striving to do better everyday. I would like to say if you don't have time do it right all the time, find another career.
 
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Joined Dec 4, 2002
Oh my, what a bunch of narcissists!:rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Are you saying you ONLY do it for yourself???

I realize it would depend on the situation. I was fortunate to be in charge of a crew of 15 to 20, and we all pretty much got along and had the same goals. There wasn't a lot of corner cutting. The owner didn't really care what happened. I wasn't doing for it for him.

I once left a place because the chef insisted that I cook pasta until it was completely soft; and I was grateful I was financially able to leave. I certainly wasn't doing it for him.

I can imagine where and why you are only doing it for yourself, but really, Kuan, there's no other reason?

I agree, that it would be hard to leave, it is obviously your calling, therefore you have a responsibility to others and to yourself to SHARE.

C'mon you self-loving megalomaniacs (tip of hat to Rita
:) ) Give me a break.....
1X
 
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Joined Dec 11, 2002
Feeding people is an honorable profession; and what you're doing is just that: feeding OTHER people. How do you know this? Get out of the kitchen after the rush and go out and mingle with the patrons, they'll let you know. One's skills are his/hers but to achieve personal satifaction as a commercial cook one must be concerned with others' needs being satisfied.
 
5,192
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Joined Jul 28, 2001
"Always the odd man out"
I work to support my family. I work for the money.
I am very fortunate that I love what I do.
All the self gratification, the ou's and ah's, etc. just perks, for me.
I must say that I had some of the same traits as previous posters but with the many years in the biz I've changed a little. Now I GTG, grab my walker and head for the kitchen.;)
 
7,375
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Joined Aug 11, 2000
I hang out with alot of artists that use medium other than food...

There are so many similarities.....

I love walking into a kitchen asking about the dietary likes/restraints and then jamming. Not having massive fiscal restraints, I don't use caviar and lobster regularly but do use mainly organic and "clean foods", liquors, wild shrooms, etc.
I sing in the kitchen; my soul sings in the kitchen; my brain is stimulated when I got the burners going and various meals in different stages of done. *The icing is the positive feedback. I cook to nurture and to express myself. Foods I choose, support farmers and a supply line I wanna keep open. SOOO I'm creatively cooking for my clients with their wants as my guidelines.

When I teach cooking, I look at who my audience is.....I taught my children to work with fillo by 4years old....my child with autism cooks to create....he's made apple strudel and used Henkels since he was tiny. So I teach kids/adults how to select products, properties of products, +accepted techniques, then we jam. beginners to advanced can jam.....the jazz of cooking.
 
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Joined Dec 4, 2002
Very nice, very good.

I don't think it's overly "sensitive" or "idealistic" to express yourself in this way. A lot of us have those "rough" exteriors, but underneath, hopefully, most choose or at least to some degree see cooking as a form of expression.....

I still say that if you posess this kind of inner talent, it is your responsibility to use it.

This is what I'm talkin' about.

1X
 
1,245
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Joined Sep 21, 2001
I just walked in the door from doing a catering by myself. I'm tired. I have a cold and have been busier than all getout the last few weeks with caterings and busy at the restaurant. Today I was supposed to start prepping this morning but we had visiting family in town yesterday and I stayed up too late. Then I was really busy and got sidetracked and ended up back at the restaurant at 3:30 to start my prep list for tonight...yikes! I told my partner "Screw it, I'll call them and tell them I'm sick and can't make it." She told me to quit whining and go to work.
the menu:
Smoked salmon spread.
Chilled shrimp with remoulade.
Baba ganouj and French Onion dipping sauces with crudites.
Olive and blue cheese rounds
Spicy shrimp stuffed mushrooms.
An assortment of fresh breads.
Cocktail weiners in BBq sauce
Meatballs in sweet and sour sauce
Artichoke and olive spanikopita
Port Salut cheese tart
Teriyaki chicken brochettes
Raspberry walnut cookies
Belgian Chocolate brownies.

Fortunately it was only for 18 people, and with a little help from my prep guy we somehow managed to pull it off on time. The food was perfect. The party was perfect. It is just weird because I felt kind of numb and removed from the whole thing but still it just kinda happened. Spontaneous cooking.
 
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Joined Mar 12, 2001
There are so many interesting responses here. I find I relate to parts of each post.
Cooking is my creative outlet and when time allows, there is nothing more pleasurable to me than devising and cooking a lovely meal. It is then that I am feeding my soul and nurturing others.
At other times I cook to get the job done. When pressure, time constraints and other people's will are involved I won't be so delighted to be working my *** off but I have adapted to also getting pleasure from doing my job well in situations that are difficult.
That's where I think the part about doing it for yourself 'first' can come in: against all odds, swamped with orders, there is a little seed in you that makes you do things beautifully, even if you could get away with a lot less.
Maybe it's just ego or pride... but a lot of diners rely on that little seed to get a good meal.
 
261
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Joined Dec 4, 2002
Yes Yes Yessss, the "little seed'"

that's what I'm talkin' about:)

Thanks for saying that.
1X
 

kuan

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Joined Jun 11, 2001
I can't think of any other reason. Others may benefit greatly from what I do, but ultimately I don't do it for anyone else. I do plenty of other things for people other than myself. What can I say?!?

Kuan
 

kuan

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Lutefisk baby... lutefisk!! :D :D That and the lovely weather!

Kuan
 
261
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Joined Dec 4, 2002
What the heck?

Man, you are waaayyyy out there.

I've heard there's even books about it.

Ya, I guess if I had to deal with lutefisk I'd be cooking ONLY for MYSELF as well.....;)
 
153
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Joined Dec 1, 2002
I would like to clarify that I never said I only do it for myself. This was really nice to read though. It shows what good people you all must be, and folks that really aspire to be great at what they do. All these posts, as I would believe you would agree, I can relate too. All your posts saved me alot of time. I could have written all that myself. What's funny is that we were very busy tonight, which doesn't happen often. When the servers would tell Rigo, the other cook, and mself good job. I replied we do it for you. That's wierd. I do do it for everyone around me including diners, but absolutely have to feel I've done my best, or else I would need another apartment so I wouldn'thave to live with myself.
 

kuan

Moderator
Staff member
7,116
546
Joined Jun 11, 2001
There's a whole culture surrounding lutefisk here. There's lutefisk get togethers, lutefisk festivals, lutefisk demos at supermarkets, lutefisk sculpture, you name it! It's a social thing, but you know, ask anyone who loves lutefisk and they'll tell you they only eat it once a year!

Kuan
 

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