In my humble opinion a good quality chef is caring about the food and puts pride in serving nice flavors and food prepared in such manners as it should be. He or she cares about the origin and quality of ingredients and spices.
Most chefs i know treat their knifes as tools and keep them in good order in the same way as a carpenter treats his tools. They are needed to get the job done and not much more.
A great chef has passion and the ability to create new flavors
But then again one of my best friends and also one of the best chefs i know like knifes and cares a bit more, not like me though :D
Some of the best chefs I have known arent obsessive about their knives. Bad knives does not equal bad cook. And conversely, great knives does not mean a great cook. However, if you care that much about your tools, generally you are pretty decent. Every kitchen I have worked in, those who care about their knives are among the top cooks in the kitchen.
It is kinda like drag racing. Sure, everyone has a engine that produces a ton of horsepower, but if you want to excel and get everything that is possible out of your performance, you care just as much about the aerodynamics, suspension, tires, etc. This was more true years ago when people were still figuring those things out in drag racing, but even today every team is looking for any little thing they can do to make themselves 0.001 seconds faster.
i would say that its not about pride in knives, knife work, cooking, cheffing or whatever. the bottom line is that its the ability to have pride. some people just do not care about anything in the professional environment and those are the people with dirty, chipped, dull knives (usually shuns) and put out the same garbage night in and night out.
the real key for almost everyone here is the attention to details. that is what makes a good knife nut as well as a good chef. ive worked with and for lots of people who were possibly better than me but continually put out worse food because of my attention to detail. when i cook, whether at home or work, i do it with a state of mind that is not rushed. i can get more done than the next guy but better and faster because of my ability to multi-task as well as being smart about how you move.
i think a lot of similarities exist between our passion here with knives and our passion at work with food. yes knives are used to make food but the care and mindset are very similar.
At the good japanese places I have eaten at, they use knives that we would recognise here, at the lousier ones, they get by with whatever. I seldom see the reverse being true. But I think for sushi/sashimi, the fact that the knife makes the cut, which IS the cooking, makes all the difference. There is only cutting and plating for sashimi. So knowledge of the cut and a good knife is the sum total of the food (apart from freshness and quality)
For other cuisines, I've eaten very well even at places that use $12 plastic handled victorinox knives. But it might be that there is less awareness locally. I just went to the two most popular food service stores in singapore, and there wasn't a quality knife to be seen at all, though there were racks and racks of cheaper choices.
Yeah. But in Singapore, I think the main reason for that is that the knives are usually not bought by the chefs themselves but by the restaurant. And most guys besides the head chefs wouldn't bring their knives to work cause 1) Some co-worker would totally destroy/steal them and 2) they are afraid of the ridicule that will follow by bringing your own knives. Fact is, no matter how good you are with your knives, you are still gonna be labeled as a show off (if you are good) or a kid who has too much money to spend (if you are average).
Originally Posted by Tristan
Wheres this sushi place?
Chefs in the sushi restaurant i frequent sharpen their knives daily if not more... And apprentices start by learning the kitchen maintenance baics..