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New chef looking for good starting advice.

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I've cooked at establishments in the past cooking mom and pop style food and have been really interested in expanding my culinary capabilities. I am quite clueless on where to start when it comes to what brand of (cheap) knifes that are good and where to start with different cuisines and cookbooks. I love Italian and would to be able to make my own sauce and pasta and whatnot. I also would love to learn seafood. Like I said, I am new to this and am 21 but have always really enjoyed cooking. For a little bit I was considering going to school for it but that came to pass. I've watched a lot and know which chefs are inspiring and now I want to be able to join them in being able to do 1/5 of what they can do. Any suggestions are received with fondness. Thanks everyone.
post #2 of 3

Cook. Just do it. Start somewhere, anywhere. You want to learn seafood, buy a book on seafood, or watch a YouTube video on mussels or lobster or scallops and do it. You want to learn Italian, buy a book on Italian cookery or watch a video and start making pasta with a sauce. Hey maybe you could try a seafood pasta sauce. You admire a chef and he inspires you, look up some of his dishes on YouTube, pick one and make it. Then be your own critic and decide what you could do better next time, and do it.

 

Many people have said Cooking is knowing a lot of little things - or something like that. Learn one little thing today, learn another one tomorrow, etc... 

 

Forschner/victorinox is a great brand of good inexpensive knives. I have more expensive knives now, but still use my Forschner paring knife and boning knife on a daily basis. 

post #3 of 3
Walk into every establishment in your area and ask to speak with the head chef. Explain yourself earnestly, present yourself well and enquire after openings. Don't go during service hours. Typically before ten or three to five is okay, but check their individual hours and use common sense to figure out if other times are more appropriate. Eventually you'll come across a chef who can use you and is willing to focus on the good sides of your inexperience. Nothing like starting fresh with a noob sometimes wink.gif

As to knives, I swear by victorinox, my first knife is one, still gets a good workout and performs flawlessly. It's considerably smaller now from grinding, and I actually find larger knives a little awkward by comparison. Others will swear by other brands. The important points are to pick the thing up and feel it in your hand. Run it over a cutting board if possible to test it out. Comfort in hand first of all.
From there, you want to see rivets all the way down the handle, indicating you have a solid piece of metal from tip to tang.
Lastly, blade style. Check your cutting motion, rocking or chopping? The former is better suited to a French or German style knife with a round belly, the latter works easier with a flat Japanese style.

As for cookbooks, they're a bit of a dinosaur depending how much time you spend online. With that said, I often pick up small ones at Kmart for about four dollars, little themed things (regional, curries, desserts, chocolate, pasta, one-pot, etc.) Never made anything out of them, but they've provided plenty of points of inspiration for home and work. There's also a stack of cookbooks in the staffroom at work, gets the juices going on break when you're fried and have to run new specials.

There's plenty of resources online as well. As far as pasta and sauces go, I daresay you'd need look no further than the search bar here at cheftalk.
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