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Professional level cooking is not all about the best recipe or the most innovative presentation. Instead, it is “economy of movement, nice technique and, most important, speed.”
Line cooking is the real business of preparing food. It is more about consistency, mindless unvarying repetition. Chefs need the line cook to execute unquestionably without challenge.
They are “lazy, undisciplined and, worst of all, high-maintenance lot, annoyingly opinionated, possessed of egos requiring constant stroking and tune-ups, and, as members of a privileged and wealthy population, unused to the kind of ‘disrespect’ a busy chief is inclined to dish out.”
That is why non-Americans become well paid and sought after by other chefs. They’ve worked their way up from the bottom and know what it’s like to scrape out plates and haul garbage out to the curb.
A cook’s station and its condition is in a state of readiness. If you let your miss-emplace run down, get dirty and disorganised, you’ll quickly become overwhelmed.
A typical mise-en-place contains:
Good food is most often, simple food. Some of the best cuisine in the world is a matter of three or four good, fresh ingredients.
Basic Kitchen Ingredients
Smart restaurant owners know from the start what they want. They are capable of doing well, and know how much it will cost them at the outset. They also have a fixed idea of how long they’re willing to lose money before they pull the plug.
Runners dress like waiters and are paid out of the house payroll, but their loyalty lies with the chef and the kitchen. This person has dedication and speed, can quickly gauge what’s going on, can carry multiple plates and remember position numbers.
A night porter has to clean the restaurant after service, take out the garbage, clean and scrub the insides of the ovens, and hose down the kitchen.
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