Posted by: Rae | October 2, 2007

Does anyone here know how to cook?

In the first couple of months of business we struggled a bit with cooking. I’ve learned what I can and cannot trust the prep cooks to do, and what I have to check before I give it to a customer. I’ve also learned that someone can be a great line cook without knowing how to cook.

Tim made bechamel. He asked me to look at it. It looked like creamed small-curd cottage cheese. I asked how he made it. “Butter, flour, and milk.” “But how exactly did you make it?” “Put butter, flour, and milk in the skillet and heated it up.” Turns out he figured it would be faster that way …

Carrie made bechamel, and it was thick, really thick. As in bread dough thick. “Carrie, why is this bechamel so thick?” “Isn’t it supposed to be thick?” “I told you 1 tablespoon of butter, 1 tablespoon of flour, 1 cup of cream.” “Yeah, but it didn’t seem thick enough, so I used less cream.” Then Carrie made pesto. She asked me to look at it because it didn’t look right. Really thick paste, with olive oil on top. “How did you make it?” “Basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, parmesan cheese.” “But how exactly did you make it?” “Well, I put the basil in the food processor, and then I added 3 cups of pine nuts …” Well, it tasted a lot like pine nut paste at that.

Tonya made balsamic vinaigrette. She asked me to look at it. Really thick paste. “How did you make it?” “Vinegar, garlic, olive oil, brown sugar …” “How much brown sugar?” “Four cups.” “How much vinegar?” “One cup.” “How much garlic?” “One of those little pieces [known to some of us as a ‘clove’].” “Why didn’t you follow the recipe?” “I didn’t think I needed to.” A little later: “OK, you’ll need to get some asparagus out of the cooler and slice it.” “What’s asparagus?”

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