A look into a chef’s mind… The Magician’s Tricks… A Beautiful Mind… (all hold relevance I’m sure)
I know what you’re thinking surely this can’t be G rated if it’s in a chef’s mind, well fuck me sideways you may be right. Most chefs are debaucherous pirates with naughty thoughts swirling around there ever enlarging heads. But we also manage to pull together enough space up there to create dishes often daily without much effort what so ever, or so it seems….
What the general public (that’s you!!!) don’t see/think or care about is how we got to the point of being able to seemingly conjure dishes from thin air, much like a rabbit from a hat or the fame of a reality TV show star (I use the word star with much irony) these things appear from no where but they needed a little help to get there. I’m guessing the rabbit trained for years possibly starting off in a cap and moving on to the top hat only after he was sure of himself, and chefs often will steal exact dishes from books or other menu’s until they feel confident to create there own.
Now let’s get something straight and out in the open…
1. Not much gets truly created nowadays
2. Stealing dishes is does not carry a jail sentence in any country
3. If you can’t remember seeing it before then it’s your original idea
4. If you plate it differently its yours
5. Basically what I’m saying is that I’m making all this up as I go along
But what I do believe is that if you’re respecting the food and trying to get great food out to your customers and you get to a point where writing a menu or creating a dish is done without the aid of other people’s books then you should be pretty happy with yourself. That doesn’t mean don’t read cook books, its means let ideas go into your head and let your wealth of cooking knowledge see a dish or recipe with your own personal take, it may be a jalapeño and lemongrass dressing that draws you to a dish…if it is try to make one without looking at the recipe or look at the ingredients but don’t look at amounts, in both cases you would most likely create something different.
Now I seem to of digressed from whatever point I started with…or have I?
Yes I definitely have but that in its self actually punctuates my point, so be it a point I haven’t actually made yet but none the less it’s punctuated. Ok enough crazy babble I’ll let you in on my point, it goes a little something like this….
How I create a dish is to start of with one idea, no matter how small, and start to put it into reality. Along the way it always seems to get lost. But whilst being lost it evolves, it meets old friends, it has even been known to disappear completely, then all of a sudden it arrives back and generally surprises the hell out of even me…it’s creator. Try something out. If it’s not what you wanted step back and look at what you have with fresh eyes and an open mind maybe its great in its own right, or maybe it really is rubbish that is always a possibility so don’t get me wrong no one wants to eat your mistakes, hide that stuff deep in a bin before anyone gets to see it, it’s what all great chefs do, I promise.
See how I tied that all together like a beautifully woven tapestry or a rolled leg of pork stuffed full of goodness. It truly is a gift and this is my second pronged attack on a point, as a chef you should be able to convince everyone that everything you do has a purpose there should never be a mistake, this is how all the great dishes where created. If you doubt what I’m saying remember point 5, but I do think what I’m saying holds some merit made up it may be, but poignant it also be. As I’m starting to get a little Shakespearian I feel it is time for be to bid you adieu.
4 responses to “Paul’s Caul – A Look into a Chef’s Mind…”
When William Shakespeare wrote: “Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.” … he was writing about a rolled leg of pork… 🙂
Effing A my friend!!
I can’t follow recipes. I always go astray, amend and freestyle before I get to the end. Which is one reason why baking is my nemesis. When I’m cooking, I usually do a tally of what ingredients I have and go from there. Reading a lot of recipes and looking at a lot of food porn helps you “come up” with ways to fix a problem.
Aah yes. Cakes and pastries are one area that tends to need the attention of a proper recipe. But that stuff is bad for your teeth anyways…