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Thread: What's your most TEDIOUS prep?

  1. #91
    Senior Member brainsausage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbl View Post
    I see my job as turning phenomenal ingredients into something edible for paying customers.
    So, I shuck peas and beans, but there's some serious compensating going on if those peas need to be turned into spheres.
    I work in a two star restaurant, and have only worked in restaurants, where the ingredient is king.
    The hoop jumping some chefs do to claw themselves into some kind of ranking or awards systems is crazy.
    Work alongside a Lebanese chef making mezze or an Italian grandmother and suddenly those brunoised pinenuts seem a little ridiculous no?
    I'm just playing devil's advocate really, but cheffy food really is about erotic as a blow up doll
    If the technique takes center stage over the ingredients, then yes I'd agree. Part of being an accomplished chef, is knowing how and when to edit one's self. When I was younger I would try to cram every type of different technique possible onto every plate I designed. Lots of overwrought and difficult to eat food was produced as a result. That being said- I think there's a place for all styles, be it uber modern or medieval era (side by side even). It just takes the deftness of hand and experience to execute it properly.
    Also- **** the Michelin Guide.
    The AI does not love you, nor does it hate you, but you are made out of atoms it might find useful for something else. - Eliezer Yudkowsky

  2. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by brainsausage View Post
    If the technique takes center stage over the ingredients, then yes I'd agree. Part of being an accomplished chef, is knowing how and when to edit one's self. When I was younger I would try to cram every type of different technique possible onto every plate I designed. Lots of overwrought and difficult to eat food was produced as a result. That being said- I think there's a place for all styles, be it uber modern or medieval era (side by side even). It just takes the deftness of hand and experience to execute it properly.
    Also- **** the Michelin Guide.
    Yes, exactly. There's room in the world for many different approaches. I have great admiration for chefs like Adria and Achatz and Dufresne who create new experiences and sensations. And of course there's unlimited room for things to wrong when less talented people use their approaches. Powers of transformation plus bad taste equals trouble.

    But none of this is really new. Some cooking has always been about celebrating the ingredient, and some cooking has always been about transformation. Almost everything that goes on in the pastry kitchen is the latter. Do you want me to celebrate raw flour on your dessert plate?

    I'm a big fan of simple cooking that does as little as possible to beautiful piece of fish or produce. I also recognize that this can be a highly privileged position to take. Not everyone lives in Southern France or Central California. Not everyone can afford sushi-grade tuna. We need ways to take the less obviously appealing pieces of food and to transform them into something delicious. The Italian grandmas know something about this.

    As far as transformations that are purely esthetic ... turning round things square ... that's just a matter of taste and of extravagance. Some chefs get into the visual aspect of plating and want to do things that are fun (or surprising, or pretentious, depending on your point of view). If they're willing to pay someone hourly to carve dodecahedron-shaped celeriac dungeons-and-dragons dice ... let's hope the diners love the result. Spherizing isn't surprising anymore, but then, neither is julienning. It's just a technique that can be used well or poorly, like any other.

    I think the implicit understanding in most of the restaurants that use insanely labor intensive, transformational techniques, is that these places are for special occasions. People dine there once a year, if that. They're looking for something specifically unlike what they get at grandma's table.

  3. #93

    JohnnyChance's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brainsausage View Post
    When I was younger I would try to cram every type of different technique possible onto every plate I designed. Lots of overwrought and difficult to eat food was produced as a result.
    And now...piles of meat on trays.
    "God sends meat and the devil sends cooks." - Thomas Deloney

  4. #94
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    Amateur opinion:

    I would say centerstaging an edited set of techniques on a plate sounds great.

    So does turning good-enough or even not-defective ingredients into a great result by means of technique - whether its the cook "bringing out their taste/texture" or bringing IN the taste/texture, it's good.

    Throwing ALL the techniques on a plate is like throwing the whole pantry, shelves and all, on it


    ....

    "Almost everything that goes on in the pastry kitchen is the latter"

    Vegetarian cooking too, unless someone is foregoing dense proteins or using ready-made-and-seasoned substitutes (I hate to, *unless* it is in the spirit of the dish - I think (good quality) storebought vegetarian sausage has its charm in a Budae-Jjigae because it is supposed to be a dish born out of improvisation involving some fresh and some highly processed ingredients that happened to be available. In most other cases, I think in making a mock meat dish mocking the meat is the cook's job).

    Also, many kinds of sauce making are all about transformation....

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