- Chefs are rising to a level of celebrity like never before.
- There are many misunderstandings about the life of a chef and their thoughts on how to start cooking as a novice.
- INSIDER interviewed a professional chef in New York City to debunk these misunderstandings and give readers interested in cooking some helpful advice
As of recent, food has had a growing space on both social media, with food-focused Instagram accounts, and in the entertainment world, with an abundance of cooking shows.
Very few of us, however, have actually had access to the mind of a chef though, so INSIDER did the investigative work for you.
We talked to New York City based professional private chef and cooking instructor, Angie Martin, to clear up some common misconceptions about chefs, their attitudes towards beginners in the kitchen, and restaurant goers.
Don’t assume chefs always cook like they’re in a professional kitchen
Ever think to yourself how ideal it would be to marry a chef so that they can cook elaborate and delicious dishes for you 24/7? Sorry to burst your bubble if this is you, but it’s unlikely that this dream will ever come true.
Chef Angie demystifies this fantasy and told INSIDER, “that after a long shift in the kitchen, more often than not chefs turn to a sandwich or take out or leftovers,” instead of creating an elaborate meal for dinner.
Don’t assume chefs know how to cook every type of cuisine just because they’re chefs
Just because they have gone to culinary and cooked professionally for years doesn’t mean they can cater to every request you have. Just like any other field, chefs are always growing and learning about new dishes and techniques.
Unlike an amateur though, Chef Angie explains that most chefs can catch on to cooking new dishes quickly because “their skills enable them to learn and tackle projects much quicker and with less stress than your average “‘non-chef.'”
Don’t feel like chefs will judge you if you’re not a kitchen whiz
If you ever befriend a chef, it might be natural to feel completely unprepared and nervous to be in the same kitchen. Don’t feel like you’re in the way through. Most chefs are excited to get you involved with food preparation.
According to Angie, “Any chef will welcome the help and can delegate manageable tasks” for you to accomplish.
Don’t assume chefs are unwilling to accommodate your dietary needs
Chefs sometimes get a bad rep for being grumpy and controlling, unhappy to make any substitutions to their dishes.
Although Chef Angie admits some requests are obnoxious, like the ones that are clearly based on no allergies, she thinks that “most back of house teams are pretty accommodating to guest’s dietary needs.”
Chefs can tell if you’ve worked in the service industry purely by your dining habits
This is the golden rule of the restaurant industry. Whether they’re the ones behind the scenes preparing the food, the dishwashers, or the servers attending to guests, working at a restaurant is hard. And chefs can tell if you, as a diner, aren’t aware of this.
Chef Angie noted, “You can always tell when someone has never had a job in the service industry.”
Chefs tend to not cook in messy kitchens
Three words that any aspiring chef needs to memorise: mise en place, meaning everything in its’ place. When testing your luck in the kitchen, don’t scramble last minute to pull ingredients from your pantry. Instead, it is more efficient to prepare your ingredients ahead of time. Though in movies, it might seem like the kitchen can be loud and disorganized, this isn’t the reality, according to Chef Martin.
She suggests that you, “get your ingredients prepped, cut, and measured out so you can throw everything in quickly and easily.”
Don’t think chefs don’t rely on pantry staples
If you always start from nothing with every recipe, you’ll quickly feel overwhelmed with the multiple ingredients needed to form a complete and tasty dish.
Chef Angie suggests you keep a few essentials readily available at all times: “A stocked pantry with a selection of dry goods will make cooking less of an ordeal so you don’t have to run to the store every single time or just give up and order take out.”
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