What Would Help Make Better Cooks in the Valley?
Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Miss a question? Go here.
Sure, the Valley can claim a lot of talented chefs as its own. But what about the cooking scene as a whole? What would help make bad cooks good, good cooks better, and ready the next generation of tastemakers?
Disney Enterprises/Pixar Animation
Here's what a few of our chefs and restaurateurs had to say on the subject:
Spend the time to fully learn your craft. Students and cooks coming into the profession are in a rush to achieve the next cooking level but often don't understand the knowledge required to lead a kitchen. I encourage young cooks to take their time and learn from their chef. It's challenging because everyone has to pay their bills and the culinary profession doesn't really pay very well until you have reached a higher level.
Bigger appetites for originality, education, and experimentation -- and more "getting your hands messy" experience than paid education.
In an ideal world, in order to be a cook, one should begin at the bottom and "walk a mile" in all the positions in an organization -- from the lowest to the highest position in the organization. A cook needs to be able to see the big picture and to understand that every position is important and contributes to the customer experience. Check your ego at the door!
Providing a blank canvas for your cooks to explore in the kitchen not only helps keep fresh and new menu choices but also helps your cooks to share and utilize new and old techniques.
Going to a great restaurant in New York to work for a year would make Phoenix look like a holiday.