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I work in a kitchen but am not a very good home cook

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Just wondering if anyone else out there is like this.

Despite me working in kitchens for about 6 years so far now, I really am not a great home cook. I cook for my family every now and then, and while the food does come out good, its not as great as if I would have made it at the kitchen at work (Last time I made steaks that got a slight bit overcooked. Still edible and nobody complained, but I was kicking myself).

Can't explain how/why, just wondering if anyone else here can relate.
post #2 of 8
Well, I'm pretty much a perfectionist so I'm rarely completely satisfied with anything. My main problems cooking at home are that my recipes tend to serve 50 people and not everything I do at work is easily adapted to a home kitchen...You know, grill isn't hot enough, no convection oven, wishing I had a salamander instead of the broiler in my oven, etc. I guess I'm also used to having a lot of "stations" to be able to cook on and doing several things at once. Sorta hard to do at home with limited space. Lastly, my house needs a couple heat lamps.:roll:

Still I don't get many complaints.:D I've been cooking professionally for over 20 years, in kitchens ranging from truly-superb to real "ratholes", so I'm pretty decent at adapting to whatever I have to work with.
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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post #3 of 8
Yah I agree, I think it is mainly an issue of equipment! Lack thereof and equipment is different like Phaedrus mentioned. I don't have a gas stove at home, and my BBQ is junk! Haha, but like Phaedrus said being able to adapt helps..

I remember cooking a seven course meal for my family one time and let me tell you the kitchen looked like a Disaster!
It's not an easy thing to do, mainly because of equipment and space, and as much as I don't like the idea of heat lamps (because in my eyes when a plate is coming up in the window there should be a server or several servers ready to take the plates out) at home it would be super convenient to be able to hold some foods hot.
Why not just do it in the oven?! Because I need it to cook food! Lack of equipment I say ...

But that experience taught me A Lot about cooking at home, or cooking ... for a lack of better word, "fancy" at home.
Simplicity is definitely key!
post #4 of 8
It's a running joke with my family, the mess I make!:bounce: I guess it stems from my restaurant work- you have your mise and you just rock the shnite out and worry about the mess later.:smoking: Of course, you then realize you don't have cooks & dishers following you around to clean up after you.:rolleyes::p
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
post #5 of 8
I'm a good home cook but I find it takes me TWICE as long to cook anything and I make about FOUR times the usual mess.

Space is a big issue in my kitchen. I have a large, well laid out commercial kitchen at the shop. At home...I have no work space...and what little counter space I have is too low for me.

I'd just rather cook at work and transport it home. So much easier!
post #6 of 8
There is certainly a lot of difficulty in cooking within the confines of a home kitchen when you're used to working in a pro kitchen (even the crampest pro kitchen is better equipped and laid out than a typical home kitchen). I've learned that to be a successful home cook you have to be aware of the limitations of a home kitchen and adapt to it.

Like in a restaurant it's very important to have all your mise en place done before you actually start "cooking". I lay out sauces, chopped veg and butchered meats, etc. out in little plastic containers (those deli things groceries use to store potato salad and stuff like that) and measure out almost everything beforehand. Second, I make sure the sink and counters are clean before "service", because when you start finishing dishes and plate you will want all that clean space. Third, I try to stick to recipes that I can do given the limited amount of stovetop and oven space available. Two/Three pot meals (at most), things I can put in bain maries, oven roasting/braising are all good techniques to use for home cooking.
"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 8
Whenever my wife invites people for dinner, and tells me (not ask) I am cooking, I will pick stuff I can make in big batches. Soup, pasta, roasts, braises, stews. basically, happy simple food.
post #8 of 8
A very good idea. One thing I find is that things that are usually 'one dish' items in a pro kitchen have to be done in several at home. One example is jambalaya- in a commercial kitchen I can use a big banded pan set over 4 burners and sautee everything together over high heat. At home on my crappy electric range I have to cook the veggies and set 'em aside, blacken the chicken and set it aside, then the sausage, etc etc. Otherwise the pan is crowded, the temp nosedives, and you get a poor result. At home even chili ends up taking several pots & pans.
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
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