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(Globe and Mail)   Thanks to Gordon Ramsay and similarly masculine celebrity chefs, cooking and home ec are now becoming cool for teenage boys. "Unlike math and English, the answers aren't clear-cut and there are fewer rules. Taking chances, in fact, is rewarded"   (theglobeandmail.com) divider line 76
    More: Cool, Top Chef, celebrity chef, Iron Chef, Zac, training ground, identity politics, Kraft Dinner, Starwood  
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730 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 23 Jan 2013 at 8:18 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-01-23 11:27:25 PM

Omahawg: Jim_Callahan: Anyone who says "taking chances is rewarded" with respect to cooking is either stupid or has never cooked. It takes science-level repetition to slowly grind out a new recipe, it's one of the few things less amenable to real creativity than doing your taxes.

You _cannot_ just randomly throw shiat together/modify recipes on a whim, unless you're only cooking for yourself and your roommate (who would otherwise not be eating at all).

you just have to know what usually tastes good with what

lemon and fish? sure. apples and pork? yup. Cayenne and brownies? not so much....


Mexican hot chocolate would like a word with you.
 
2013-01-23 11:32:20 PM

you have pee hands: I think Ramsey's basically said that him yelling at people is just for TV and if you actually tried to run a restaurant like that you'd be broke in months because everyone would either quit or stab you in the back and then quit.


I used to cook with someone who was on Hell's Kitchen, she said the yelling was for show, that he's a pretty cool guy.

Which is NOT to say that yelling does not occur in a kitchen. When you are working in an upscale steakhouse and your grill guy goes into vapor lock and the line grinds to a halt (grill in a steakhouse is the heart of the kitchen), you can be damn sure that there will be some yelling.

good times, good times.
 
2013-01-23 11:53:35 PM
Cooks and chefs get waitresses and bartenders.

Jim_Callahan: Anyone who says "taking chances is rewarded" with respect to cooking is either stupid or has never cooked. It takes science-level repetition to slowly grind out a new recipe, it's one of the few things less amenable to real creativity than doing your taxes.

You _cannot_ just randomly throw shiat together/modify recipes on a whim, unless you're only cooking for yourself and your roommate (who would otherwise not be eating at all).


The thing about that repetition and understanding your ingredients is that you can adjust, with confidence, if things go south. Which, in kitchens is perhaps more often than folks like to admit. Taking chances isn't just on the fly, it sometimes means taking a chance on your specials, your staffing, and set menu as well, along with events and promotions. It is a business that runs on incredibly tight margins, which means if you can shave even a few percentage points in a quarter, that means the profits see a decent jump.

It comes down to learning the trade and craft, and the art. Cooking is equally art and craft. Yes, there are mind numbing hours, yes there is stress and more stress, and handling of fire, and knives, and equipment that can snap your arm like a twig if you aren't paying attention, and if you don't set a timer, you can reduce a good amount of that slim profit margin to blackened gunk that is unsalvageable, which only means that practice, more practice, and still yet again more practice IS essential. But once you understand the skill sets, and you understand the ingredients, and how they work, you can adjust fairly easily to something else, and you learn fair fast how to salvage that broken sauce, and you can even substitute and change things on the fly if things go horribly awry with your distributors--which is again, something that happens more often than folks like to admit.

You don't have to "grind out" a new recipe. You already have a mental Rolodex of possibilities. You understand the ingredients, you understand proportion, you understand technique, it's not hard to make adjustments when things go cock eyed. That is part of the experience thing: you've seen it before, or you've had similar things go cock eyed, and you take what you learned from those earlier disasters, or listened to your previous chef or even line cooks who have had experience, and you learn from them.

The thing about cooking is that is very much a team profession. No one does it alone. Even in small restaurants, you have to rely on other folks. Be they dishwashers, garde mangers, prep, bakers, sous chefs, line cooks, even waitstaff, it is the sort of profession where everyone contributes, and most folks have at least some middling experience that you can tap. If you're staffing right at least.

Adjusting to changing circumstances is very much a key to being successful in the business. The key to doing it successfully is having those mind numbing hours of experience behind you to do so with confidence. Yes, to the untrained, it means that chefs are magic and can turn even crappy situations around, and pull specials out of nothing--which if you have a crappy waitstaff can lead them to expecting miracles constantly--but that is borne out of practice and experience, and a fairly good sized knowledge of technique and ingredients, and yes, those pesky recipes that you have in your head. It means understanding the basis and principles of those Mother sauces, it means understanding the ratios to make a vinaigrette on the fly, it means that you can temper a sauce on the fly, it means that you can make a fast and dirty putanesca or caesar or alfredo from scratch and in the pan or a burr mixer. It means you can make a sorbet on the fly with some maple, frozen fruit, a bit of ginger and robocoup--not a true sorbet, but something that will certainly stand up to scrutiny and make for a palate cleanser while the damn stuff churns out of the machine that got broke. It means you understand a sauce enough to know which wine you can substitute because someone forgot to order the one you usually use, or the beer you would normally use in a stew, and certainly what you can do to fix a mistake made in proportion in another dish.

Cooking often means taking little disasters and trudging on, and the public never being the wiser. It is very much a business for problem solving.
 
2013-01-24 12:00:53 AM

funktilious_j: you have pee hands: I think Ramsey's basically said that him yelling at people is just for TV and if you actually tried to run a restaurant like that you'd be broke in months because everyone would either quit or stab you in the back and then quit.

I used to cook with someone who was on Hell's Kitchen, she said the yelling was for show, that he's a pretty cool guy.

Which is NOT to say that yelling does not occur in a kitchen. When you are working in an upscale steakhouse and your grill guy goes into vapor lock and the line grinds to a halt (grill in a steakhouse is the heart of the kitchen), you can be damn sure that there will be some yelling.

good times, good times.


Tempers can flare in a kitchen. And just about every cook snaps once or twice, and the line usually keeps going, because your fellow cooks and the chef, or if you're the chef, your crew understands exactly what the Hells is going on. You burn yourself, or the waitstaff does something asinine, or mistakes happen, and the printer keeps grinding on, and yeah, you feel the stress, and stress means that you can snap, but most kitchens also let a bit of that slide, because we've all been there, and at the end of the night, you apologize, and you don't make a habit of it. Being able to admit when you made a mistake is an important tool. Being able to apologize and accept an apology is another, and one that isn't often credited enough for the profession. There ARE chefs and cooks who are dicks on the line. They usually don't last long, because no one wants to work with a time bomb. Kitchens are team efforts, and you have to trust the folks around you to do their job, not watch them constantly to see if they're about to blow--that just adds more stress and the kitchen is stressful enough. Good lines, good crews, they minimize stress as much as possible--and part of that is knowing that the folks around you will help you get out of the weeds you find yourself in, and not just pitch in with you, but help haul you out, and you'll do the same for them, be they saucier, fry cook, baker, waitstaff or dishwasher. You look out for one another, and no one wants to look out for the guy or gal who is intent on being a gigantic douche.
 
2013-01-24 12:10:23 AM
I took home ec because I didn't want to take more foreign languages. Plus, more food to eat.
 
2013-01-24 12:17:54 AM

SpiderQueenDemon: Smeggy Smurf: Knowing how to cook makes you a much more attractive swinging dick than merely having a lot of money. Money can go away, skills never leave you. Broads love guys with skills.

This.

I am far more impressed with a guy who can clean his abode, go grocery shopping for ingredients and prepare a nice meal than I am with a guy who can hand money to waitresses. For one thing, the skills mean he has more money left over at the end of the evening and has therefore demonstrated a level of responsibility that appeals to us females from a survival-of-the-species standpoint. This male can provide. This male can learn. This male is willing to put forth more personal effort to carefully learn and perfect a skill -which is pretty essential from a romantic perspective. And for another, you don't have to drive anyplace after dinner to mate with him.

Males who can cook are clearly the better males to mate with and will produce stronger, better offspring who will be less likely to make the annual Mother's Day breakfast-in-bed into a charred abomination. So yes. I completely see why teenage boys are interested in learning to cook. Some clever mom who is tired of making dinner has explained evolutionary theory, that or 'Sex at Dawn' is their 'Twilight.'


How you doin'?
 
2013-01-24 12:34:26 AM

hubiestubert: funktilious_j: you have pee hands: I think Ramsey's basically said that him yelling at people is just for TV and if you actually tried to run a restaurant like that you'd be broke in months because everyone would either quit or stab you in the back and then quit.

I used to cook with someone who was on Hell's Kitchen, she said the yelling was for show, that he's a pretty cool guy.

Which is NOT to say that yelling does not occur in a kitchen. When you are working in an upscale steakhouse and your grill guy goes into vapor lock and the line grinds to a halt (grill in a steakhouse is the heart of the kitchen), you can be damn sure that there will be some yelling.

good times, good times.

Tempers can flare in a kitchen. And just about every cook snaps once or twice, and the line usually keeps going, because your fellow cooks and the chef, or if you're the chef, your crew understands exactly what the Hells is going on. You burn yourself, or the waitstaff does something asinine, or mistakes happen, and the printer keeps grinding on, and yeah, you feel the stress, and stress means that you can snap, but most kitchens also let a bit of that slide, because we've all been there, and at the end of the night, you apologize, and you don't make a habit of it. Being able to admit when you made a mistake is an important tool. Being able to apologize and accept an apology is another, and one that isn't often credited enough for the profession. There ARE chefs and cooks who are dicks on the line. They usually don't last long, because no one wants to work with a time bomb. Kitchens are team efforts, and you have to trust the folks around you to do their job, not watch them constantly to see if they're about to blow--that just adds more stress and the kitchen is stressful enough. Good lines, good crews, they minimize stress as much as possible--and part of that is knowing that the folks around you will help you get out of the weeds you find yourself in, and not just pitch in with you ...


I worked on a line for a while with a top notch grill guy, a guy who could work any station like a beast, me on hot apps, a guy on entremet who knew the station like the back of his hand, and an amazing garde manger. And when the printer was popping out ticket after ticket after ticket, we just kept rolling and killing it. One time we got deep in the shiat, and it was a night where we had 250 on the books, 2 parties and room service as well. Grill guy lost it for about 20 minutes, and this guy was a rock. Luckily our Exec sous was expoing that night and even when he was breaking your balls, he was great. Took us about an hour to dig out, but we made it.

But you're right, you have a good line, it makes all the difference. One guy or girl gets buried, you have very little to fire, you help out, it's common courtesy. Bottom line is if one goes down, all go down. Can't just watch somebody crash and burn.
 
2013-01-24 12:45:46 AM

Jim_Callahan: Anyone who says "taking chances is rewarded" with respect to cooking is either stupid or has never cooked. It takes science-level repetition to slowly grind out a new recipe, it's one of the few things less amenable to real creativity than doing your taxes.

You _cannot_ just randomly throw shiat together/modify recipes on a whim, unless you're only cooking for yourself and your roommate (who would otherwise not be eating at all).


BS, I alter recipes, tweak, replace, substitute items all the time. If you know the basics, It's not that hard. Especially with the internet for inspiration.
 
2013-01-24 01:41:16 AM

dopekitty74: Jim_Callahan: Anyone who says "taking chances is rewarded" with respect to cooking is either stupid or has never cooked. It takes science-level repetition to slowly grind out a new recipe, it's one of the few things less amenable to real creativity than doing your taxes.

You _cannot_ just randomly throw shiat together/modify recipes on a whim, unless you're only cooking for yourself and your roommate (who would otherwise not be eating at all).

BS, I alter recipes, tweak, replace, substitute items all the time. If you know the basics, It's not that hard. Especially with the internet for inspiration.


I agree.  With cooking once you know the basic techniques you can experiment all you want with the flavors and trying out different combinations.  Now baking on the other hand is much more of a science.  You can't just go substituting things willy nilly or changing a lot of the ratios on a whim.  Much less opportunities to wing it then with cooking.
 
2013-01-24 02:29:16 AM

FraggleStickCar: the answers are clear-cut in English?


Your knot diving in to the complicated teenage boys mind. There knot able two parse teh intricasies of English, or even it's nuances.
 
2013-01-24 06:36:46 AM

FunkOut: Why do all these farking wankers have a goddamned problem with shouting at people? It's not like you're being beaten with a farking cricket bat.


I mainly joined up in the culinary profession for the shouting.
i18.photobucket.com
 
2013-01-24 07:15:55 AM
Heard that Gordon is going to do a "Juniors" version of Masterchef.

Children handling sharp knives and open flames while being verbally abused by Ramsey? This will end well...for the lawyers hired by the parents.
 
2013-01-24 07:31:46 AM

GWSuperfan: Thank goodness those boys looking to be masculine aren't watching "Sweet Genius"


Ron Ben-Israel, the host of Sweet Genius, was a soldier in the Israeli Defense Force, a professional dancer, mentored by Martha Stewart, and teaches pastry at the International Culinary Center. There are guys 10 times more masculine than him that haven't done 1/10 of what he's accomplished.
 
2013-01-24 07:41:38 AM

FuryOfFirestorm: GWSuperfan: Thank goodness those boys looking to be masculine aren't watching "Sweet Genius"

Ron Ben-Israel, the host of Sweet Genius, was a soldier in the Israeli Defense Force, a professional dancer, mentored by Martha Stewart, and teaches pastry at the International Culinary Center. There are guys 10 times more masculine than him that haven't done 1/10 of what he's accomplished.


Whereas Gordon Ramsay yells obscenities and throws things around, Ron Ben-Israel smiles and pushes a button.

Ron is scarier.
 
2013-01-24 07:45:04 AM
Did anyone mention playing with sharp knives?! Or playing with Fire yet?!

/if you've watched BBC's Kitchen Nightmares, Gordo is actually a sweetie.
 
2013-01-24 08:26:35 AM

tlchwi02: NeoCortex42: I took home etc in high school. As a guy, I like being able to cook food that I like eating. I also think sewing is a good skill to have. Why would I not want to be self-sufficient just because I'm a guy?

it was still a requirement when i was in school. the problem was it was too short a class period to really learn how to cook. also the teacher was old and she hadn't updated the curriculum in like 30 years. the sewing section was quite useful though, although my GF makes wedding dresses and custom dresses as a hobby/sideline so i have very little use for it anymore.

/she also does carpentry. made our bed out of left over beams from a barn raising. i just do the cooking (although she's better at that than me also, but i enjoy it more)


So you're useless except for being a walking dildo when the urge hits her?

*fistbumo*

Right on man! We call that "The life" where I come from.
 
2013-01-24 08:30:09 AM

OtherLittleGuy: FuryOfFirestorm: GWSuperfan: Thank goodness those boys looking to be masculine aren't watching "Sweet Genius"

Ron Ben-Israel, the host of Sweet Genius, was a soldier in the Israeli Defense Force, a professional dancer, mentored by Martha Stewart, and teaches pastry at the International Culinary Center. There are guys 10 times more masculine than him that haven't done 1/10 of what he's accomplished.

Whereas Gordon Ramsay yells obscenities and throws things around, Ron Ben-Israel smiles and pushes a button.

Ron is scarier.


Yeah, that dude comes off as "pants on head" crazy. Then again, if I worked for Martha Stewart, I'd go coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs too.
 
2013-01-24 10:00:34 AM
I never took home ec, and I don't know how to cook.

Needless to say, this thread certainly bummed me out.
 
2013-01-24 10:09:57 AM

un4gvn666: I never took home ec, and I don't know how to cook.

Needless to say, this thread certainly bummed me out.


I never took home ec, and never went to culinary school. I learned the old fashioned way, by working.
 
2013-01-24 11:07:24 AM

hubiestubert: un4gvn666: I never took home ec, and I don't know how to cook.

Needless to say, this thread certainly bummed me out.

I never took home ec, and never went to culinary school. I learned the old fashioned way, by working.


Sounds nice, but I don't have a kitchen. I live with my gf's parents, and the kitchen is her mom's domain. I leave her to it.
 
2013-01-24 11:15:38 AM

un4gvn666: hubiestubert: un4gvn666: I never took home ec, and I don't know how to cook.

Needless to say, this thread certainly bummed me out.

I never took home ec, and never went to culinary school. I learned the old fashioned way, by working.

Sounds nice, but I don't have a kitchen. I live with my gf's parents, and the kitchen is her mom's domain. I leave her to it.


So, you're a drummer...
 
2013-01-24 11:20:38 AM

hubiestubert: un4gvn666: hubiestubert: un4gvn666: I never took home ec, and I don't know how to cook.

Needless to say, this thread certainly bummed me out.

I never took home ec, and never went to culinary school. I learned the old fashioned way, by working.

Sounds nice, but I don't have a kitchen. I live with my gf's parents, and the kitchen is her mom's domain. I leave her to it.

So, you're a drummer...


No, actually. I gave up music since I work full time and go to school. It's a long story for why I'm in my current situation, but suffice it to say, I'm depressed, bitter, and I can't really afford to do anything about it.
 
2013-01-24 11:44:57 AM

SpiderQueenDemon: Smeggy Smurf: Knowing how to cook makes you a much more attractive swinging dick than merely having a lot of money. Money can go away, skills never leave you. Broads love guys with skills.

This.

I am far more impressed with a guy who can clean his abode, go grocery shopping for ingredients and prepare a nice meal than I am with a guy who can hand money to waitresses. For one thing, the skills mean he has more money left over at the end of the evening


Cooking for a date hides the fact that you can't afford or you are cheap to go out to a nice restaurant or even an Applebee's. Works like a charm.

and has therefore demonstrated a level of responsibility that appeals to us females from a survival-of-the-species standpoint. This male can provide. This male can learn. This male is willing to put forth more personal effort to carefully learn and perfect a skill -which is pretty essential from a romantic perspective. And for another, you don't have to drive anyplace after dinner to mate with him.

This is a great reason to cook, you are already in your place, making it easier to score. Finish dinner, move to the couch with some drinks, start making out, move to bedroom(optional). Avoids the awkward "Would you like to come back to my place?"

also, I can save money by not having to tip the waiter extra to slip the roofie in her drink/food. I can do that myself in the kitchen when she goes to use the bathroom. (see: being cheap/broke above)...down side to cooking at your place, you have to make sure your whole place is clean.
 
2013-01-24 11:48:41 AM

un4gvn666: I'm depressed, bitter, and I can't really afford to do anything about it.


Welcome to Fark. You will find kin and succor here.
 
2013-01-24 01:38:28 PM

Flash_NYC: Also,is working 6 days a week, 14 hours a day with maybe one Saturday night off a month cool? Specially if you're working under one of those "celebrity" chefs as an unpaid intern(slave).?

Then, if you're lucky, you can graduate to those same 6 days, 14 hour shifts for almost 30K per year.

Cool, man. Cool


Sounds like being a pharmacist for CVS or Walmart. . .except for the $30k.
 
2013-01-24 01:46:59 PM

Broktun: Flash_NYC: Also,is working 6 days a week, 14 hours a day with maybe one Saturday night off a month cool? Specially if you're working under one of those "celebrity" chefs as an unpaid intern(slave).?

Then, if you're lucky, you can graduate to those same 6 days, 14 hour shifts for almost 30K per year.

Cool, man. Cool

Sounds like being a pharmacist for CVS or Walmart. . .except for the $30k.


There are a few benefits, and you can make a fair bit more that $30K if you play your cards right. The hours are still brutal, but they can be a lot of fun...
 
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