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Hello....and advice?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone and happy new year. I'm new here so thought I'd introduce myself and ask for some advice at the same time 😃

I really enjoy cooking (home cook)but I can only cook if I'm following a recipe. So I thought I'd learn the basics and build a solid foundation so I can start creating my own dishes etc

I did a bit of research and asked folks to get me some culinary books for Christmas. The below is what I ended up with:

Larousse gastrominic
Silver spoon cookbook
The professional chef
Leiths techniques bible
Culinary artistry
Knife skills
I know how to cook.

And several recipie books

Does anybody have any advice on the best place to start as a home cook? Is there a good order to learn each of the skills in or is it best to just go through the books in the order they're written?

Many thanks for any help 😃

Gordon
post #2 of 7
Great selection of books. Culinary artistry is outdated... Go for the sequel, the Flavor Bible. Same authors, and the subject matter is updated.

You can't go wrong with Julia's Mastering The Art of French Cooking, On Cooking is another great book.

Professional Cooking by Wayne Gisslen is another expensive, but invaluable book for your repertoire.

Hope this helps!

Jason Sandeman

http://jasonsandeman.com

Developing Systems So You Can Cook

Reply

Jason Sandeman

http://jasonsandeman.com

Developing Systems So You Can Cook

Reply
post #3 of 7

I will make two suggestions. 

First, in addition to knife skills, learn how to make stocks and the five mother sauces. That will enable you to make many different meals and understand much about savory cooking. They are not difficult and will teach you a lot about savory cooking. 

Second, I'd suggest "Ratio's" by Michael Ruhlman. The book is a great overview of how various ingredients work. 

     A pet peeve of mine has always been that too often cooking is taught and learned by working different recipes, leaving the impression that one has to memorize a million recipes before being able to cook. The focus is rarely on the fundamentals underlying the recipes. 

 As a simplified example, two eggs and a cup of milk can become custard, creme angliase, french toast, bread pudding, ice cream, pastry cream and much more. From basic stock, any number of soups and sauces can result. 

 So in your reading, look for commonalities among the recipes and focus on proper techniques and the basic chemistry involved. Don't get distracted by worrying about what a dish is called or whether or not you nave all the ingredients. Develop good kitchen practices and and of course, keep your knives clean and sharp. 

post #4 of 7
Quote:
So in your reading, look for commonalities among the recipes and focus on proper techniques and the basic chemistry involved. Don't get distracted by worrying about what a dish is called or whether or not you nave all the ingredients. Develop good kitchen practices and and of course, keep your knives clean and sharp.

I half agree...

Focus on fundamentals, yes. A good b culinary textbook will help you immensely. For example the Professional Cooking will literally give you all you need for fundamental. It's what we use to study for our red seal.

Mise en place is the most important building block for you. That doesn't just mean ingredients, but understanding what it is you are meant to do and yes, that means knowing if you have all your ingredients on hand, and how they are to be used.

Nothing sucks more than starting a cooking project and finding out that you don't have everything you need.

And as for sauces... The proper way (IMHO) is to learn about soups, stocks, mother sauces.

Then learn your fundamental cooking techniques. Sauce making should wait until later. Sorry, but if you can make a great sauce but can't properly stew, braise, deep fry, etc.... You're not going to go very far. Sauce making builds on the fundamentals you learn from the basics.

In fact, I'd forget all the books you have there except for Professional Cooking, the Flavor Bible.

Ratio is a GREAT book, but again, you need to know your fundamentals in order to know how to use it.
Edited by welldonechef - 1/2/16 at 7:59am

Jason Sandeman

http://jasonsandeman.com

Developing Systems So You Can Cook

Reply

Jason Sandeman

http://jasonsandeman.com

Developing Systems So You Can Cook

Reply
post #5 of 7
Get a copy of Pepin's techniques book. Start cooking! Follow the recipes until you are comfortable, then start making small changes until it's your own. Repetition and practice is the key. Don't be embarrassed about following recipes. They were written so cooks will succeed. Focus initially on combining recipes into a meal plan.
post #6 of 7
Also, Google "Stella culinary school" and/or "Jacob Burton". He has an online series of videos that will cover almost everything in those books. It might be a more digestible way to learn.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by welldonechef View Post

Great selection of books. Culinary artistry is outdated... Go for the sequel, the Flavor Bible. Same authors, and the subject matter is updated.

You can't go wrong with Julia's Mastering The Art of French Cooking, On Cooking is another great book.

Professional Cooking by Wayne Gisslen is another expensive, but invaluable book for your repertoire.

Hope this helps!

Thanks Welldonechef, I'll pick up copies of the Flavour Bible and Professional Cooking.
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefwriter View Post

I will make two suggestions. 
First, in addition to knife skills, learn how to make stocks and the five mother sauces. That will enable you to make many different meals and understand much about savory cooking. They are not difficult and will teach you a lot about savory cooking. 
Second, I'd suggest "Ratio's" by Michael Ruhlman. The book is a great overview of how various ingredients work. 
     A pet peeve of mine has always been that too often cooking is taught and learned by working different recipes, leaving the impression that one has to memorize a million recipes before being able to cook. The focus is rarely on the fundamentals underlying the recipes. 
 As a simplified example, two eggs and a cup of milk can become custard, creme angliase, french toast, bread pudding, ice cream, pastry cream and much more. From basic stock, any number of soups and sauces can result. 
 So in your reading, look for commonalities among the recipes and focus on proper techniques and the basic chemistry involved. Don't get distracted by worrying about what a dish is called or whether or not you nave all the ingredients. Develop good kitchen practices and and of course, keep your knives clean and sharp. 

Chefwriter, thanks for the advice!! I'll start with stocks and the mother sauces to learn the fundamentals, then start looking through the commonalities i find in the recipes and progress from there. I'll also grab a copy of Ratios as it sounds really useful. 😃

Thanks
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