Tuesday, April 27, 2004Doing something as a hobby - and doing it for a living - are two entirely different things. I've been an avid "experimental" cook for years [see "My God, It's Full of Squirrels!"], but after many exhortations by friends and family to the effect of, "when are you going to open that restaurant?" I've decided that my culinary aspirations should remain an avocation of passion rather than a profession.
Mainly, I don't have the energy to stand over a hot grill for hours on end, coordinating sous-chefs and company (what - you'd think I'd settle for less than Head Chef? Just kidding. I'd rather enjoy the results of slaving over a hot stove myself, thank you). More importantly, unless it's a smash-hit, I rarely like to cook the same thing two or three times without tweaking the recipe - something you just can't do when you're a Chef. Like a scientist, once in a lifetime you invent the light bulb; but most of the time you just get a stinky burnt crucible.
Unless you're a Wolfgang Puck, you can't experiment with the paying audience's taste buds. You can't cook a succulent Herb-Roasted Brace of Cornish Hens a l'Orange one evening - and gummy moon-white NERF football-sized "Pierogies" the next (that ended up being thrown to the crows and raccoons behind our apartment in the dead of night). My better half claims to be able to count the number of times I've bombed in the kitchen on the fingers of one hand, but I think she's being overly, overly generous. ;)
Consistency and professionalism are a virtue in the pro cooking world, which is one of the reasons I really enjoyed this inside peek behind the egg grill from Sloped Sideways:
One of the easiest ways to spot a good cook, other than whether or not they can keep up during a rush is how clean the side they are on is. We have a few cooks that are able to keep up with almost any rush, but when they are done cooking it's a good hour project to get their side clean. There are a few of us though that are able to leave a side nearly spotless even after the busiest Sunday.Now that's discipline! Few things are better on a Sunday morning than a perfect omelet with a side of crisp has browns. With a cup of good coffee.
Now that's cooking.