+1 to that!
Another mantra I have is......any professional can cook. Do it better than anyone else then you can add style. Now take that style and put it under pressure and now you have class.
How many guys with "class" have you guys worked with? I've been privileged to work with several. My definition of rock stars in the truest sense. Giants among mere mortals.
Thanks to all of you guys for providing such a wide range of time-tested rules to work by. I can tell you that I certainly appreciate you taking the time to help out a young man, wet-behind-the-ears. I'm sure that any others who come across this will feel the same way.
Start standing on anti-fatigue mats now. Keep up on your exercise and flexibility now despite the 12-14 hour work days and it will save you when you get older.
Now get back to work!
Lots of great ideas already. Here's a few random thoughts, some I think are mine, some I probably borrowed from people along the way.
People can have their own opinions about taste and flavor, but there's little to argue about regarding texture. The steak is either tough or it's not. The ribs are either fall off the bone or they're not. The soup is velvety or it's not. And so on.
Given decent ingredients, in my opinion, more than half of cooking is using salt and pepper properly.
Take pride in your work, but remember there's always something to learn. Be it from the dishwasher, or from a street vendor in a far off land, or a 3 star chef.
Keep your knives sharp. Wear good shoes.
Most times working smarter is better than working harder. However, the rest of the time, try speed and brute force.
The chef is not necessarily the best cook in the kitchen. A lot of people can cook. But not everyone can run a kitchen. That person should be the chef. Even fewer can take a risk and run a business properly. That person should be the owner.
There are many paths to success.
Keep your eyes and ears open, and your mouth shut. Especially early in your career. No one wants to hear how much you know, they just want results. Study study study, don't let your finger off the pulse of the industry. Get your basics down pat, don't learn bad habits and shortcuts for shortcuts sakes. Work on your speed and accuracy. Funnel your creativity into efficient usage not on fancy dishes
Thats just a few. I know I'm repeating what others have said. Culinary school is not all bad, but there are issues. One, choose one thats been around for a long time CIA, J&W; don't mortgage your future with loans, you will not earn enough for the few first years to pay it off. Don't think you will learn how to cook in school. They will teach you how to learn to cook, and expose you to what good cooking can be, learning to cook is not brain surgery, don't over think it.
Why?! Because footballs don't have wheels!
Wow seems like the culinary school route ain't getting much welcome here..
I definitely agree with Bert's view on it, given that I have gone down that route and am going down that road still..
What I feel, after about 5 years in the industry is that there are ALOT of good/great cooks... But rarely do you find a good/great CHEF... Culinary schools give you the basics.. It's up to you to take those basics and fundamentals and build on them. No shortcuts, easy way outs and what not... Once you have really strong basics, then use that as a platform for your creativity..
Good stuff, guys. Couple of things that I as a customer and guy who worked briefly in the food biz when young really agree with.
1. Texture is a big deal. I am still a bit of a finicky eater and the texture of certain things, like some mushrooms, turn me off so much that I can't focus on the flavor. it took me years to get to where point I could eat oysters because the texture remond me of the little slimy peice of meat that is up in the tip of a stone crab claw that you never eat.. So when you screw up something that should have a good texture, double shame on you.
2. As far as doing the jobs that nobody else wants to do, sometimes you find that you are the first one done and the dirty job was actually easier. I learned that one in the Army. Cleaning toilets and urinals takes about 1/2 the time as being on the crew that has to do the barracks floors.