Friday, February 1, 2008


First Rule: You must always take your time

  • All great chefs do prep work. Think of it as cooking foreplay. Make it easy on yourself... cut up all of your vegetables a head of time, season the meat early so that the flavors slowly soak into it, making the meat tender and juicy, thus ready to cook.
  • Start from the top of the list and slowly work your way to the bottom.
  • When looking at a recipe or even from memory, prepare your ingredients in the order that you plan on using them.
  • If you do this ahead of time, you'll never find yourself in the position where you have to rush while in the kitchen.
  • Now once your meat is tender and your vegetables are chopped you're ready to go. (Side note: if you find that you have an urge to rush, have a glass of wine before, or two. It will relax you and put you in the proper mind set to enjoy this experience.) I'm not saying get drunk that could be disastrous for so many reasons. Just relax. Sip as you go on until the point (if you get there) that you are doing so much that you have to put the wine glass down and focus for a few minutes.

Second Rule: Don't cook angry

  • If you find yourself in a bad mood, check the bad aura at the door. True cooking can and should be therapeutic but you must not go into it with your horns on.
  • When you're angry you tend to try to rush through things or take your anger out on whatever is closest. Clear violation of the first rule. You want to get this right so don't pull yourself out of the running so early in the game.
  • When handling food you must be delicate to the touch. Although there are a FEW exceptions when you have to "man handle", for lack of a better expression, your ingredients.
  • Oh... one more thing. MAKE SURE YOUR KNIFE IS SHARP!!!

Third Rule: Use all of the senses available.

  • Listen for the oil popping, taste your sauce to determine if you need more pepper, touch the dough to see if it's firm enough, use your eyes to determine if the chicken is browned to the right color. Last but not least, open your nostrils and smell the aroma... ahhh smells like heaven.
  • The point is to be attentive. If you don't pay attention, you won't get the job done to the best of your ability or to that of your food.

Final Rule: Relax and Enjoy.

  • You might have worked up a sweat while in the kitchen. That's alright... it happens, but the important part is at the end of it all... it was worth it. So enjoy!!! Here's how....
  • I'm sure you've been tasting and smelling and sipping (your wine) along the way, so your taste buds are ripe and ready to indulge. It's been a tease up until now, so brace yourself. Fix your plate and sit down. Be it on the sofa or at the table, just sit for a minute or so. Allow your body to relax, cool down so your able to appreciate the feeling you're about to have. Now don't sit for too long because your food will get cold... just long enough to relax. If you’re eating something with a ton of ingredients, the best way to get the full Monty is to try all of it together (at least for the initial bite). Get your spoon or fork full but don't put so much on that you have to focus so much on chewing that you can't taste it. Now bite and reflect. It's important to make sure your mind is clear at this point. Mmmm you can taste the perfectly sautéed squash with a hint of lemon zest… isn't it amazing!! Ahhh euphoria.....

By the way, this may seem like your doing a lot but it'll be second nature before you even start. Bon Appétit!!!


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