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Life Lessons all trainee chefs will learn

Posted: June 16, 2015 at 9:00 am


AchatzTo the outsider, culinary schools exist to equip cooks with top-notch techniques and disciplines necessary for them to become successful chefs, and that means teaching how to turn bare ingredients into delicious meals, and not much else. Those that have received such education, however, know that it also provides an array of lessons that are suited to life in general.

When you have to work at speed to meet a tight schedule, for example, you also have to be patient and understand that some food needs more time to cook than others, and stirring it around in a heated pan won’t hurry the process up one bit. Indeed, it can have negative consequences. It’s true for food, and it can be true for people. Some need more time than others to do what they’re doing unless, of course, they’re in a busy kitchen – in which case they should be encouraged by little a bit of shouting ;).

More haste, less speed

While that last bit was ever so slightly tongue-in-cheek, it’s certainly important to be clear in what you say and confident in how you say it; you won’t find a successful chef who is shy and reluctant to communicate. To earn respect and to encourage a top level of performance from colleagues they need to be understood and so clear communication is as important as it is to understand that what can sound like aggression can really just be eagerness.

Teamwork is fundamental to success too, as even the most skilled chef will be unable to deliver results if they’re not being supported by a highly competent group of likeminded individuals who all appreciate each other’s roles and understand the necessity of precise timing. It’s the same for an army operation, or any group of individuals working towards a common goal. You need to be with the right people, like the highly experienced ones who use ChefHelp to find them their perfect establishment.

Silence isn’t always golden

The ability to follow directions and so perform actions in a specific order will help you construct flat-packed furniture, and it will help you make a perfect soufflé.  However, a recipe should be seen as guideline rather than as a set of strict instructions. Improvisation can be necessary, and so it’s important to be unafraid to use your knowledge and creativity when needs be. Remember, nature favours those that can adapt. That said – a soufflé without eggs won’t work.

Lastly, everyone knows that ‘practice makes perfect’, but anyone who has trained to be a chef will probably also know why that famous idiom is a load of old nonsense, or at least just a bit simplistic. Why? It should be ‘perfect practice makes perfect’ if you want to garner the finest result. Expertise doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes time as well as a great deal of extra effort to be able to not just create something that’s acceptable, but to creating something that’s truly exceptional, again and again and again.