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learning more

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
ok, so i have a good job now, far more fresh than the last kitchen i was in... a lot more detailed

but i want to learn.... everything, anything....

but what order should i learn in... sauces, veg prep/dishes, veg dishes with sauce, meat prep/dishes, meat veg and sauce dishes....

ive got a fair few skills in terms of de-boning, chopping, knife skills, cooking, sauteing etc... but im no expert by any means....

where should i start and what is a good way to learn, i have neither the money nor the freedom to go to culinary school (my child is due to be born in april) but i want the best knowledge base i can get without it.
post #2 of 8
Go on line to Amazon and get a copy of Professional Cooking. It is the book used by the Cordon Bleu schools and a very good instructional text book. You can buy them used if money is short for you. For in-depth reference, get a copy of Escoffier's book. Escoffier is to cooking what Latin is to language. You won't necessarily make anything that's in the book, but you will understand the roots of the culinary world and how it affects what we do today, just as you can often figure out the meaning of an unfamiliar word by looking at its Latin origins. For instance, you can find French influences in even diner food. Ever made corn starch gravy for roast beef? Fond lie, my friend. Pomme frites- fancy word for french fries, but look what they have become to American cuisine. That's the best part of this business. You can research and study and do, and no matter how much you know, there is always something fresh to learn. Good luck, and have fun too.
post #3 of 8
Does anybody offer theory classes online for it, you could look into that.

We were taught knife cuts, Meat Fabrication, stock-soup-sauces, Cooking methods, Garde Manger, Baking........so on and so forth

post #4 of 8
Use your family as your geniu pigs. Buy yourself a professional cook book and make EVERYTHING in it and study it front to back. Keep notes and take pictures.
post #5 of 8
I run classes in France masterchefinfrance but I guess these are out of your budget so the solution as to be work for free, write to good restaurants in your area and offer to help out for no wages. they wont expect a lot and you get to gain valuble experience. Best of luck
post #6 of 8
It really is a must have for any cook who wants to understand the dynamics of cooking. Esscoffier will tell you how to make a perfect hollandaise and McGee will explain why the hollandaise works, what factors impede it -understanding that opens endless doors in your cooking. I worker in the kitchen for 12 years before I discovered this book and it totally illuminated everything -everything I already knew and everything I thought I knew.
to answer your question, Learn everything, start with what interests you the most and go from there. Chances are, you'll run out of days long before you can run out of things to learn.

For just my 2 cents: learn to butcher it's one of my favorite things, being able to take a whole pig and decide what cuts I want to fabricate is exciting. -like slow roasted pork ribs with the belly cap still on, rubbed with fennel seed black pepper and brown sugar!

mmmm.....not to mention salami, rillettes and head-cheeses

nel maiale, tutto e buono!
nel maiale, tutto e buono!
post #7 of 8
If I were starting out and had very limited fundage......

(1) Utelize the library....they can order books if they don't already have them at another branch. Even Julia Child's television series is on DVD, again at our library. They may even get in a cooking series of DVD's if you request them.

(2) Volunteer to work on events....there is ALWAYS a need for good volunteers at ACF or other offsite events. I've got a Food Show the end of Jan and normally have 5 externs from CIA, my buddy who sourced (hired) them for his huge hotel has moved on.....I'm looking for competent "yes mam" staff.....AND it is paid.....AND you get to work with television personalities....+ drink wine if you're of age, usually good shtuff.

(3) Find out if there are farmer's markets in your town....growers only preferable. Volunteer to cook demo samples. Not only do you get to meet cool people growing "your" local food, but it's fun to work with really great ingredients.....stretches culinary muscles to work with very little equipment.

(4) Work with fruits and veg when your child is old enough to eat purees....6-12 mos.

(5) Check out Cooking Schools for "at home cooks", most are taught by local restaurant chefs, caterers or cooking teachers. That's how Lynn Rosetto Kasper started in Denver Colorado. I've taught wild mushroom classes around the USA......took in numerous dried, fresh samples......basically anybody in the room gets to taste a huge variety of mushrooms and gets a smattering of cooking info.

(6) Find a mentor, hopefully one at work.

(7) Cheftalk is one of the most giving culinary communities around, just continue asking for help......

If you stop learning you die.....or are outrageously boring, which is about the same thing. JMPTC

Self motivation is the strongest ingredient any of us has, Curiosity's a big one too....looks like you are filled with both.
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #8 of 8
A couple of years ago, my wife and I purchased a wonderful cookbook designed by Good Housekeeping, simply called, "The Good Housekeeping Cookbook" (Hearst Communications, Inc. 2001). This book is truly a cooking manual with not only easy-to-follow recipes and expert cooking tips, but includes a comprehensive history on preparation, storage, and safety on numerous types of food items. You'll find everything from how to choose eggs to how to grill squid. With it having the approval and backing of a name known around the world for good cooking, it is not surprising that only fine meals are found it this book. If you plan to stay around cooking for any length of time, I highly recommend getting a copy of this book. As a professional chef and a cook-at-home, I return to this book often!

All the Best.

PS. Try looking at Barnes and Noble for this book (at store or online). If they don't have it in stock, they may be able to find it for you.
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