This weekend I was cooking for a small group of less than twenty people. A thought came to mind about one of the main differences between cooking professionally and cooking at home--Quality, Time and Scale (QTS).
There's lots of insightful information discussed between the contrast of a serious home cook and a professional chef, (I realize the most Pro are also good home cooks too) but one contrast that hasn't really been explored is the dynamic between QTS. You know the old mocker, I can give you three options, pick two: high quality food, quickly prepared and for lots of people. I think this really gets at the heart of one of the major difference between home cooks and the Pro's.
I pride myself and work everyday at my cooking craft, for me its akin to playing a musical instrument, at a very high level. Whether its learning a new technique, ingredient or something way out in left field like sous vide, and eventhough I know it, other tell me without hesitations, that I'm a pretty dam good cook.
But, what a Pro can do that I cannot is give you Scale for that recipe/recipe's. For example, I'll can make you and your immediate family a delicious meal on time, just don't invite the neighbors, ya know what I mean?
I've started to take this into consideration when ordering out. Also, gives me more respect for those that can do this well, and across a whole menu just baffles my mind. How a chef's able to juggle so many tasks and completed them in specific order or sequence to get to the end--a closed kitchen with the lights shut off and everyone's gone home. I'm sure it doesn't stop there for some, either.
Just want to give some share some thoughts in hope sparking some discussion and also wanted to acknowledge the Professional Chef/Cooks that can make a life out of it. I feel for most however, its not what they would prefer to be doing, but for those that are in balanced cooking careers, I have a lot of respect for you, as you've learned to use QTS to your advantage.