Monday, November 24, 2008

Reading Between The Lines

I recently received "Under Pressure" a great surprise from my wife when I walked in the door after another great inventory day at the restaurant. This book is a must have if you are even a bit interested in sous vide cooking. The charts alone that give suggested cooking times and temperatures are well worth the price. As usual the book is written in a way that just draws you into the pages, just like The French Laundry & Bouchon did for me.

I could go on about the amazing recipes or the beutiful photos, but what I have been reading over and over is the short summary that Chef Keller gives before getting into the actual recipes. He talks about consistency, the success of a great restaurant lies in how consistent the product is. Creating the same dishes day in and day out perfectly, exactly the same as it was done the day before, the week before.How simple that sentence was ,but it has had the most impact on my career than any other line I have read in any other cookbook or any book for that matter.

It has caused me to rethink the way I approach my recipes, my cooking techniques and my line set up. It has led me to rethink the way I operate in the office, my managerial skills, the way I choose my produce at the farm, the quality of my seafood and meats. It has changed the way I operate as a chef. Consistency, I have strived for it day in and day out since I can remember being a cook. But when you get into the precision that an immersion circulator can have with many different food products it woke me up to the fact that I need to have that level precision with everything in my kitchen.

I believe my staff and I are very very good at what we do, but what will it take for us to be great?? Consistency and precision. Those are the key words that will be focused on from here on out, those words are now embedded in my head, I talk to the cooks, my sous chefs and my right hand man(chef de cuisine) with one thing in mind, precision and consistency across the board. I am excited to see the changes that will be taking place in the months to come. We have 4 months to get ready for a dinner that will require those two words.......details about that dinner to follow, but first we have to get to the level we are striving for.

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