Style & Inspiration

Professional chefs compete in knife speed challenge

30 Sep , 2019  

So what that is yeah Mademoiselle, the sweet potato, all right, I’m just gonna take my own sweet time. I haven’t done it in ages. I don’t think I’ve ever done these two things before I’ve done this to ginger. I feel pretty good about my knife skills. I think those are pretty good, I’m not ashamed of my knife skills, I’m by no means the best of the knife, but I’m comfortable with it. You know I don’t feel like totally out of my league, but definitely like.
I spend a lot less time cooking than these guys. Do I don’t know we will find out and go, but no one killed the garlic huh. There are a few ways to mince a clove of garlic and oftentimes. I think you’ll see people just slice all the way through it and julienne those and then come crosswise on them, but I find that the most precise way to do it is to actually cut it. The way that you would half of an onion just laying it on its flat side or cutting a flat side if you need to making slits horizontally perpendicular to those and then cutting across it, leaving the butt end, makes a perfect dice. I was from the school of little tiny garlic because that’s what you wear Todd right now, but nowadays I quote sometimes and then really repeated you just put it home, cuz, I’m gonna chop, it the more oil and the more flavor we lose. I tried not to go over the garlic too much I’d, rather just give it a rough chop. Nice proper mince feels like there’s very little order. People just typically smash garlic, and then they just kind of go chop over and over and over the garlic, which you’re just kind of breaking down the garlic further and bruising it. I rarely do this. Do this method, I don’t really chop or I don’t really mince garlic. I tend to use different ways. This was probably the trickiest for me because it was the most dense. You don’t really care what my yield is on this. There were some tapered ends and I said, trimmed and discard them get in. I guess I still had that idea of like you don’t want to waste she squared the whole thing like that’s just cheating.
Ideally, I would be peeling this and then, but for the sake of time I mean who is even chopping potatoes into these small pieces. If home cooks are watching this, I just want to be like you know: don’t don’t do this at home. This is a waste of your time and he’s gonna. Do this so fast, it’s gonna be annoying. No we’re gonna just call these trapezoids and triangles I’m getting a lecture for Brad. Actually, just like not being a slob is probably like the number one knife skill having a clear sense of workflow. You can definitely always tell them somebody’s spend time and a lot of professional kitchens, because there’s a certain way that they work and a certain cleanness to their style. If you see somebody – and it’s like oh, like they’re, like chopping, the carrots on this corner of the board because, like the rest of the board, is full of like garlic paste and like mashed jicama, that’s no good! You can’t work like that. He come on. This is a tough guy. I don’t get points off for squaring it off right, there’s probably a better way to do it, but I you know it’s like you’re, usually thinking about yields and with the jicama I just squared it off and then have planks, and then we stacked the planks and Then just went over them pretty classic. When I was reporting a story. A few years ago was so he Kim who has a Korean restaurant in Brooklyn called insa. She was prepping vegetables for kimchi and she was doing a julienne like that and just kind of like squared off the edge fanned it out and like went to town on it. It’s a lot more stable. It’s a lot easier and I can do it a lot more quickly than you could if you were really going for that like super. Even when you go to culinary school, you do these four weeks at a time every day and your homework. The joke is like. Oh, my dog ate my homework. No, it’s not really about cutting the little perfect square. It’s a matter of that put in hours behind a knight having a sharp knife is certainly, in my opinion, a lot less dangerous than a dull knife.
All night you got to fight it and you got to like push a little harder and do kind of stupid things. A nice sharp knife you’re in control – and it’s just you know it becomes an extension of your hand, time yeah and I’m not trying to rush, because if you rush cut your finger, I think it is pretty well considering how long has it been? I mean this is not the same as this, but I don’t think is that bad for a chef, my own hands. You know I’m a little bit disappointed with my julienne. I was rushing, but you know I’m not. I’m not gonna beat myself up over it. I felt like it was more important to properly execute all of them than to be doing it for speed, because I don’t really work in an environment where it’s necessary to do things for speed. I think speed is very important, but you want to be proficient and then you don’t want to waste your always bouncing one against the other. Obviously like the pinnacle would be to be incredibly fast and incredibly precise. I didn’t go to culinary school. I don’t think you need to know how to really really speedily chop things into teeny tiny, precise shapes. I don’t know the words for like Mademoiselle or whatever. That is so I went to well. I did a culinary school here in Manhattan. If there’s one thing that they definitely did teach, it was how to do. You know the old, formal, French cuts, and it’s really just about discipline and focus and an attention to detail. They tell you to do something following the instructions in doing it. You know I was like the kind of person who in school was, like you know, tried to do a good job. Definitely listen I was there to like learn a lot as quickly as possible so like these are not things that, like you, normally do in like everyday life and like certainly not and the bone Appetit test kitchen, just because it’s sort of a just like an outmoded style of Working, even though we have we’re pretty proficient our knife skills, we know that not everybody at home might be.
So that’s why we’re not calling for any kind of a lot of julienne, or that I learned how to use, and I even learned how to prep things from a lot of different people Before I worked about appetit, I worked in kitchens from it was a the only job that I had from 17 until 23 was working back of house So yeah, like a combination of having like a lot of like line, cooks, teach me different things and teaching myself I went the restaurant route, so I started working restaurants and I was 16 The first restaurant that I worked in was called the Beacon Hill bistros in Boston, and I worked there My mom’s a station, but my last prep duty before service every day was to brew Noit’s garlic and then really finely chopped, chives and parsley and also a brunoise shallot You do a lot of practice in restaurants, where you’re cutting the same thing over and over for a particular dish That’s on the menu then stays on the menu I had to make about a pint container of each of those, and that first took me like three hours, and I wasn’t ready for service many many days and then I eventually got faster and faster You know I feel like in America, especially with TV everyone’s just used to competitions and, like you can do it the fastest and the best, and for me, that’s the opposite of how I like to cook If you’re in a rush, it’s because something happened or you’re, you know you’re in the weeds a little, but in an ideal situation everything should be controlled and calm and that’s a stressful, crazy, fast kitchen is not the kind of I liked it I don’t think of myself as a person who sweats the small stuff like who cares if you can’t chop things into small squares as long as the food tastes good right? Yes, there’s no need for these I hate food competitions in the worst way, they’re the absolute worst It’s not cooking, it’s not fun for anyone, maybe the the sick person That’s watching!


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