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Thread: Quality, Time and Scale

  1. #1
    Senior Member Mucho Bocho's Avatar
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    Feb 2012
    Raleigh, NC

    Quality, Time and Scale

    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.
    One thing you can give and still your word.

  2. #2
    I think Scale is a major part. Not just for the volume of dishes or the amount of people being fed -- but just for all the different things that go into making a great restaurant experience.

    At home, you generally have more control over everything. That's your house, your kitchen, your dishes, your table, and your guests.

    At a restaurant, the server might be having a terrible day & sucks at his job, taking it out on y'all. The dish machine might be down, or the oven might not be working, or on fire. Or there's a gas leak. The restaurant's dining room might be over-sat and the kitchen might be under-staffed. Someone might have messed up a food order, or the company screwed up themselves, and the place ran out of a dish that you were really looking forward to. The ventilation system might be down and so the dining room is boiling hot & smokey

    Running a restaurant is definitely a juggling act.

    And I think expectations is another factor. If you cook a mediocre meal for your friends, they'd be pretty terrible people to end the friendship because of that. And everyone might have had a really great time regardless of the food - good booze, good company, good setting etc.

    When there is money involved, things change considerably. And especially if people have built up the meal for months and gone out of their way while traveling to eat at the restaurant. The bar is extremely high at that point. If you don't knock their socks off, night in and night out, you're likely to have let down people and your business will suffer because of that.

  3. #3
    You forget one important thing - consistency. Delivering a thousand meals in the span of weeks, that are exact the same, without degrading the quality to McDonald's levels is amazing feat on its own.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Matus's Avatar
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    Feb 2013
    Quote Originally Posted by Lizzardborn View Post
    You forget one important thing - consistency. Delivering a thousand meals in the span of weeks, that are exact the same, without degrading the quality to McDonald's levels is amazing feat on its own.
    And I as a customer regard and respect this ability of pro cooks very highly. And realising how hard that can be at times, I am ready (and I did) accept (or 'forgive' if you like) when they do slip - as long as it does not become a habit.

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