Cooking Like a Chef or Cooking like a Cook?

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  1. ilovecooking profile image60
    ilovecookingposted 12 years ago

    Whenever I get in conversation with individuals about cooking it seems as if everyone's response is yes of course I can! Then when I get the oppertunity to sample thier acclaimed talents and it seems as if rachael ray enters my plate. That's not knowing how to cook. I'm not trying to sound snoody to individuals who cook this way, but its true. Wheres the technique? A "5 minute" meal turns into the wi night. The dish will usually have something wrong with it due to por mis en place and organization. Theres no passion, theres no imagination, theres no culinary flair! Please cook from the heart and not from the ignorance of people you might watch who half the time don't know what they're doing. Be your own artist in the kitchen. Learn but don't follow. Does anyone else feel this way?

    1. profile image52
      jessiebug5863posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Yes, I agree with you. When a cook or chef prepares something they are always going to be following a recipe, from somewhere say it a book, a relative, something they saw on tv, but the most important thing that will add to the quality of the dish is their own special additive. You can make the Black Forrest Cake but it doesn't have to be exactly like Mrs. Jones's.

      1. ilovecooking profile image60
        ilovecookingposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Thanks for the response Jessie! Its refreshing to hear there are individuals out there who are on the same page.

    2. Michael Willis profile image67
      Michael Willisposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Awesome and true!!!  I don't try to cook like anyone else. I have my own way and style of cooking. I have talked to people locally who even went to culinary (local) school and they always say food and ingredients have to "be a certain way" to be the "right way to cook!" ---BS!

      Imagination is important. Unless you want to be like everyone else (bland) you have to have imagination.

      1. ilovecooking profile image60
        ilovecookingposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Thanks for the response Michael! Its refreshing to hear there are individuals out there who are on the same page.

    3. lrohner profile image69
      lrohnerposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Mise en place and organization are basically the same thing, so I'm not sure what you're talking about there, and I'm not sure what that has to do with the flavors in the finished dish.

      And I would bet that meals in the average household would be even worse if they didn't have pros guiding them via TV shows and cookbooks -- although I totally despise Rachel Ray and her food. smile

      1. ilovecooking profile image60
        ilovecookingposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Hi Irohner,

        I should of clarified in my mind of what mis en place and organization is. Mis en place of course is the preparation set out of the ingredients to perform a dish. I consider organization the actual cooking process of what to perform first and what to perform last. It could be argued the same thing but to me there is a suttle difference. smile

    4. aslanlight profile image65
      aslanlightposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      There can be creativity in cooking. I'd call myself a cook rather than a chef but I use natural, fresh ingredients and invent dishes as I go, following my instincts as to which ingredients will go with which.

    5. chinesegreentea profile image57
      chinesegreenteaposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I agree with you.No matter they are the cook or the chef  they all cook the food  as recipe.
      They can' cook the dash which the creat .
      So they are not creativily in cooling.The food are lack of  the idea

  2. profile image0
    janellelkposted 12 years ago

    I agree with your sentiments,  ilovecooking, but I'd just like to add that I think it's important to learn the basics from well respected masters in order to get creative.  If you don't have a strong foundation and technique, it's hard to be artistic.  I think you touched on that though, now that I've reread your post..  organization and proper mis en place is absolutely essential to a good final result.  Watching someone who is disorganized is like watching a ship slowly sink..  painful!

    1. Cotsy profile image61
      Cotsyposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      totally agree and my beef with many of the cooking programmes, and many cooking classes is that they teach you a recipe (which you can get from a book) but dont explain the pitfalls and the techniques they talk of.

  3. Laura du Toit profile image78
    Laura du Toitposted 12 years ago

    Whether you follow a recipe, tv cooking instructions or create a dish of your own - the sure recipe for success is the love and passion that comes from within when preparing a meal. This is what distinguishes a plate of food from an excellent meal. If you cook food because your family needs to eat and not because you have a passion for cooking you'll never be a chef only a cook.

  4. Cotsy profile image61
    Cotsyposted 12 years ago

    without the passion its food on a plate, with the passion it takes you on a sensory journey.  For me cooking is something that has part of me in it, does not use pre-prepared ingredients, does not get made in a kitchen gadget or plug in appliance, uses fresh food and looks beautiful on the plate.
    Read some of my hub pages and hopefully you can taste some it through the writings.

  5. habee profile image93
    habeeposted 12 years ago

    I have my own style of cooking and rarely follow a recipe. For me, cooking allows me to explore and express my creativity. I'm not saying all my dishes are masterpieces - they aren't. I often cook boring food, but when I want something different, I use my imagination! I also think that being a good cook involves making the best use of what you have on hand.

  6. SandyMcCollum profile image64
    SandyMcCollumposted 12 years ago

    I really hated cooking for over 30 years. Then, I learned how to design a meal and now I love making delicious meals for my family and friends. I'm an artist and designing comes more naturally for me than following someone else's directions.

    Rachel Ray is a "30 minute meal" cook, not someone to learn from. All her dishes are formulated for the busy parent on the go. That's not how everyone cooks, but I have learned a few good things from watching her, too.

  7. twilanelson profile image61
    twilanelsonposted 12 years ago

    Ahhh, culinary delights and cuisine are delightful and have beautiful presentation etc.  I do love to taste the food at its best so I appreciate cuisine style cooking but my passion is family style and country cooking. I also do not like to pile seasonings on like a man scientist, I love to taste the actual food itself.  Just enough to accentuate the natural flavor or to give authentic cultural design.

  8. chefsref profile image66
    chefsrefposted 12 years ago

    By and large I think most of America has lost its sense of taste. We've become accustomed to dreadful concoctions that come out of a box to be boiled or popped into the microwave. Without being exposed to good food people accept the worst kind of slop and think it's good.
    The real task seems to be showing people what good food can be to inspire them to cook at all, otherwise they'll serve Kraft mac and cheese and think it's good

    1. eatlikenoone profile image61
      eatlikenooneposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I totally agree with you. People easily settle and don't know what they are missing.

  9. Paul Edmondson profile imageSTAFF
    Paul Edmondsonposted 12 years ago

    Recipes are very helpful when you're learning to cook or when you cook something for the first time.  After a while you'll learn what flavors you like and how to make them your own.

    Even with a great recipe, it doesn't always turn out, that's why cooking is an art:)

  10. Bill Yovino profile image90
    Bill Yovinoposted 12 years ago

    "Chef" is French for "Chief" as in leader, supervisor, manager. The term really doesn't apply to home cooks, unless you're managing a team of family or friends. So, we're really talking about home cooks. Cooks follow the instruction of the head chef. In lieu of a chef, recipes are like paint-by-number sets. You'll get a reasonable result even if you're not a talented artist.

    Home cooks who have taken cooking classes and/or have much cooking experience, can branch out and use their palette of flavors in a creative way and get good results. Less-experienced cooks will have less success when they wander from tried-and-true recipes.

    I generally start with a recipe and follow it verbatim the first time. Then I tweak it to improve upon it and make it my own. I will continue to tweak even a really good recipe until I think it's perfect.

    Regarding taste in general: The main principle of culinary arts is that fat and salt taste good. That's why people love fast food and chain restaurants.


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