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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Repitoire. What you know. A cooks' mental toolkit. What you bring with you to a job. That is a phrase that I haven't seen used in most of the cooking discussions I read. What ever happened to the importance of repitoire. When I first started out in this field, your repitoire meant everything. Not recipes. Not what school you went to. Not years tenured. I would like to know if other people in senior restaurant positions still stress repitoire as the key to cooking.
 

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That's very interesting. Repertoire is ever so important for the musician, comedian, or any performance artist. But that's what we are aren't we? We're performance artists. Every day we go into work and try to recreate to the best of our abilities a wonderful sauce, a perfect roast, and a beautiful plate. We do this fifty to five hundred times a night and at the end of it, we go home feeling great about a job well done. The next day it starts all over again.

A long time ago I quit my job at a Country Club and reapplied a year later to be their sous chef. The manager told me to come back when I had more recipies. Maybe he intended to tell me to come back when I've increased my repertoire?!?!? NAH :)

Kuan
 

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I find this question very interesting. I'm assuming by repertoire you are also refering to a range of skills . When interviewing I ask questions like 'wet to dry' and 'dry to wet' and I usually get the look like I just grew another face. "I have to see the recipe you want me to make" .
Method and proceedure is usually more important than the recipe itself, at least in baking.This is one of my pet peeves with all these cook books written, they tell you what to do, but not why you are doing it.
 

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Thought provoking topic and responses.
I remember when technique meant something, too. We often get so wrapped up in getting to the end of the job, we don't spend enough time developing our repetoire, a/k/a technique. Seems to bring to mind "the means justifying the ends" or 'cutting corners'.
 

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Jim, You say , you remember a time when technique meant something.Are you saying it doesn't anymore?
I think we all have a repetoire, I also think it is an ongoing process of development. When you enter the field of culinary arts (or others) I think you should have sound technique already.

Repetoire to me does of course include technique, but it is the entire package you present. The whole ensamble of musicans that play at lincoln center has proven technique, it's there whole package of expererience that is there repetoire.
Just my opinon
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B,
I agree 100%.... it is an ongoing process. I guess what I was trying to say without being as clear as I should have been, is that technique and its refinement is as artisinal as a great loaf of bread. Either you are interested in cultivating, growing and honing your skills (or bread baking) or, conversly, you are attempting to complete a list of 'chores', if you will. I guess the real underlying question may be: is it a job or a career? Is it your life or just something you do for now?
 

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Jim, Your point is very well taken.
I say this because there will always be folks out there working hard to develope themselves and there repetoire, and there will always be folks out there working hard to get there "Chores" done. We as chefs need to find and cultivate the people you still carry passion in there hip pocket
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Tell someone these days that you have a voluminous repetoire and they will look at you like they want to slap you with a sexual harrassment suit or tell you to go the doctor and have it looked at... Peachcreek.
 

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perhaps im being a little wry, but, once someone has a technique down pat, then doesnt the repertoire then come quite easily?

Vis a vis: mother sauces/basis (if required) + knowledge of methods of cookery basics + food science + some creativity = relatively good chef?.

My guess/theory is that: start with the basics (cant argue with several 100's of years cookery experimentation/knowledge) add some food science common answers (i.e. high amounts of protien require, at the very least, some acids to denature the proteins and make them easily digestable), some intuition (hey they like that, lets make variations to increase sales) and some history (well, these folks are from my folks generation (refer to the intuition part) lets try out some familiar recipes even if i personally dont like them) followed with some craftmanship (iam both well trained and know the above inside out and will do it to the best of my ability).

My supposition is that a combination of the above, also blended in with passion aongst other things, being a chef shouldnt be that big a problemm. The bottom line being: after many hundreds of years, there is no way the repertoire should be abandoned, but by the same token, a lego house is not made from one single block. The repertoire is by no means the be all and end all, but dont dismiss it as a burden.
 
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