Stuff you don’t read in cookbooks…..importance of ingredients.

The core belief I have as a cook is very important to me. Ingredients are what make a cook good or bad. It can be the difference between a horrible meal and something to be remembered. It sounds dramatic but it is the plain truth. If you order a steak at a restaurant, the quality could range from a utility cut to Kobe. They will tell you if it is Kobe but if it is a cheap cut, no one will be printing that on a menu. The same can be said about butter, oils, or cream. No one tells which brand of butter or grade of cream they use on a menu. Are they using fresh herbs or dried herbs? Are they using fresh ground pepper or Pre-ground pepper? Are they stewing the tomatoes or buying canned tomatoes. Are they using cans of beef base or making veal stock? Usually, you can taste the difference.

You put a lot of faith into what you are taking into your body. Many chefs look at cooking for people as a very intimate thing. You cook for someone and they eat it. Their body absorbs it and it becomes part of that person. I doubt the teenagers working at McDonald’s are thinking that. Many chefs don’t think that way. It is not the easy way. Why temper eggs and mix in clarified butter to make a hollandaise when you can use a Knorr mix? It is truly an act of love to care and take the best route even when it’s not easiest.

It can be a huge thing with desserts, also. Pie crusts, filings, cakes, and even sauces can be bought rather than made fresh. Which one would you rather have? I’d rather have fresh picked fruits and berries and fresh made pie crusts and cakes. Is there any doubt that it is an important decision when you pick where you eat?

Posted by Chef Cody on July 29, 2005 in Food

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