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If No One pushed the envelope (With Food)???

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Do you keep going in the same circle with food q's ? It's all been done at least once. Comments ?
http://www.frappr.com/chefsunited
One time a guy pulled a knife on me. I could tell it wasn't a professional job; it had butter on it.- Rodney Dangerfield -


'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
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http://www.frappr.com/chefsunited
One time a guy pulled a knife on me. I could tell it wasn't a professional job; it had butter on it.- Rodney Dangerfield -


'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
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post #2 of 17
to answer the first part of your question... no. Secondly...Thank goodness its all been done before, cos who would we learn from otherwise?
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #3 of 17
I think we're on our second round of pushing the envelope. First was Charlie Trotter, then we went back to basics for awhile, now it's Alinea and El Bulli.
post #4 of 17
You've totally Phased me Kuan. I think I've missed something. Please advise
Whats pushing the envelope anyway?
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #5 of 17
Now that's a thought. Pushing the envelope. Heck! I've been doing that...... No....wait... never mind that's "pushing buttons". ;)

Anyhow I guess it comes down to whether or not the person doing the "creating" had that intention in the first place. How many things that we eat today were done to spite Royalty or were just plain old fashiond fu's? :rolleyes:
I'm all for pushing the envelope yet, like for most, it's very subjective on the outcome. Like foams that were discussed in another post. Some make me scratch my head others sound intrigueing. I do believe that sometimes we try too much. The food becomes too complicated and almost confusing to the palette. But who am I to judge so more power to them. That's why there are different cuisine's and style's

From my username you could say I'm kind of a basics person when it comes to things. Is it the healthiest career approach? Well...umm, errr, uhhh right now it doesn't matter but I think when all is said and done I'll do okay. I believe in "dancing with the one that brung ya". But that goes to a point and stops. So....
Yes! I am willing to learn many new things but there's still so much of the old that hasn't been reexplored yet. Plus there will always be a need to do the basics. If ya don;t learn those then you can't get to the next levels. Kinda falls under the crawl/walk/run way of thinking.
post #6 of 17
I think most people have some desire to explore or create, especially in this industry. Whether by doing so they do something nobody's ever done before or accidentally repeat something that's been done years before is anybody's guess. There's so much that's been done but never written down, it's hard to say that sous vide wasn't used a hundred years ago as opposed to thirty and foams were used a thousand as opposed to ten. I guess what I'm saying is that I believe the cooking creative process should come more out of what one wants to do as opposed to what one thinks they ought to do.
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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post #7 of 17
Oldschool - I agree with you in that "pushing the envelope" often ends up as confused food and it just plain don't work.

I bought a food magazine lately out of curiousity (ok the picture on the cover was interesting...and I was hungry....NO I didn't eat the book - I read recipes when I'm famished :crazy:)

Know what I'm left with an impression of? Leaves leaves and more leaves - rocket here, endive there, arugula all over the place AARRRGH!!! They have their place but I think there's a conspiracy by leaf growers to bore us to tears.

There's not really much new under the sun with cooking. Things come and go, some get forgotten then unearthed. Sure there's a few new, very clever I'm sure, techniques for making wierd s***, but basically, food is food and it ain't gonna change.

But there is an enormous variety, and I'll challenge anyone to master it all :)
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #8 of 17
It's funny after a while, and working in several places (and countries) you always meet someone who thinks that they have invented something in the kitchen (I've seen two chefs almost fight about a sweetpotato and ginger soup that one guy thought he had invented). It's very rare that I get to see something I haven't seen, or heard of before.
If you haven't seen "In search of perfection" it's well worth a watch. Heston Blumental (sp?...Chef from Fat Duck) hosts it. I love seeing the way in which he attacks stuff. The idea of drying out toast...then soaking it in water to get the flavour into sausages. Using a vacume to get an Whisper/areo style chocolate into a Black Forest Cake. Obvious when you see it...but it takes that so call out of the box thinking to see it.
post #9 of 17
I think pushing the envelope is one thing, but some of these Chef extremists are going to far..."lettuce foam" your just going with a trend, and not actually using the method to create a palatable dish, you may win a award for out of the box thinking, but your dish is no longer appealing to mass crowds.
post #10 of 17
Which is why the Fat Duck isn't doing well. Or perhapse it's because the Fat Duck is in the UK and not Spain like El Bulli.
I would love to try his food, I mean snail porridge...come on. Give me a taste. Although it sounds like those day's are over and he's doing more of a traditional style menu (like the show I guess??)
It's interesting to see how he looks at things, and how he gets the flavors and textures that he wants.
post #11 of 17
One of the problems with any career/hobby/etc. is that the majority of people think that everything has been done before. Try telling Ferran Adria everything has been done before.
post #12 of 17
As a food science, nutrition and cooking teacher's perspective, I see that most cooking depends on certain basic science, ingredients and flavour combinations all of which has been <invented> a long time ago.
Whatever could not be done with a knife, stove, refrigerator and raw ingredients before can be done with a food processor, microwave, convection oven, steam injector oven, extruder, blast freezer, vacuum sealer, emulsifier, tumbler, injector and pure or artificial chemicals ... today.
The basic rules are the same, the capabilities are better today to <push the envelop> further. Innovation is still possible but rare.

Luc H.
I eat science everyday, do you?
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I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #13 of 17
I'm all for pushing the envelope. Its the tearing it up into confetti and throwing it all over the dinning room that I take issue with. There are all kinds of envelopes that can be pushed (kind of like this metaphor, I guess) lets not forget. "New" food or innovation seems so wrapped up with technological embellishments that sometimes it seems like we are in a gastro-arms race. Not that I'm a luddite, I'd go all Dorian Grey for a pacojet, but at some point the food has to speak for itself. Each chef has to be concerned with their own envelope, not Waitrose Fine Foods'.

We're going through a bit of an explosion of people experimenting. Some of these will work and be added to the over all repertoire. 99.9% won't.

I often wonder what the initial reaction to pate a choux would have been. "Uh, why is Chef boiling the flour?"

--Al
post #14 of 17
Personally, I've found that simple economics drive a lot of innovation.
The flat iron steak would be a good example....10 years ago, it was not available commercially, since that particular muscle was part of a larger sub-primal cut that went into ground beef. Beef got more expensive, so the packers had to find a way to get a better return off more parts of the animal, hence the flat iron....

Another good catalyst for innovation is accidents. Spilling an unwanted ingredient on a dish, trying it and saying WOW!...or AGH!

Unfortunately, food innovation is kind of like musical instuments....new ones have not been invented in a very long time

Cat Man
post #15 of 17
ok, I'm getting the hang of what "pushing the envelope " is now by reading the thread, but where did the saying get started?
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
With Ingenuity,Will, Perseverance and The worldy way that a true chef lives to be.:chef:
http://www.frappr.com/chefsunited
One time a guy pulled a knife on me. I could tell it wasn't a professional job; it had butter on it.- Rodney Dangerfield -


'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
Reply
http://www.frappr.com/chefsunited
One time a guy pulled a knife on me. I could tell it wasn't a professional job; it had butter on it.- Rodney Dangerfield -


'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
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post #17 of 17
Pushing the envelope refers to performing at the edge of possibility for a set of circumstances. Exceeding the envelope usually leads to catastrophic failures (the wings come off), but slight extensions are often recoverable and lead to new knowledge and a large envelope in which more things are possible afterwards for those who follow

My understanding is that it originates in aerospace vehicles for speed, altitude, high-alpha, high G and so on. These vehicles are described as having a performance envelope within which it is safe to operate. Pushing the envelope is high-risk.

Phil
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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