Practice Makes Perfect
Practice makes perfect right? I mean I’ve been told countless times by my chef that the only way to get better as a chef is practice, practice, practice. That said, what does that really mean? Do I have to depouillage stock a thousand times a day to know how to make it right or is it much simpler than that? Practice your knife cuts. I spent hours each day in class and out practicing my knife cuts. This sounds redundant doesn’t it? That because it is. My father, who I care for deeply and has shown a spark of passion and creativity since I’ve been delving deeper in my culinary education, has atrocious knife skills. He constantly uses the wrong knives for the wrong foods, thus slowing his progress. I remember when I had to sit him down and explained to him the basis of all cooking revolves around two things; knife skills and mother sauces. We cut eggplant for hours till he learned how to julienne properly. Another time we sat there and practiced brunniose and batonnet cuts on carrots and parsnips.
I cannot stress practicing your cuts enough. Practice makes you comfortable holding a knife, and learning how to use it without cutting yourself while being efficient is utterly key. I recommend finding a cheap cutting guide, and use it every day until your cuts are exactly and they can be replicated without using the guide. Keep in mind that mastering cuts allows for better presentation and helps food cook equally and evenly.I remember my chef would always stress consistency is the most important thing about food. He gave us examples of places that would sent out two plates of the exact same meal, yet they were different. One plate had perfectly cut vegetables, neatly cut in batonnets, while the other plate had uneven cuts, not uniform in any way. Let me ask another question, which plate do you think got sent back after the patrons realized this? As a chef I have to remind myself that appetite is seventy percent visual. I could make the most delicious dish, but if it doesn't look appetizing then most people will pass on it. That's why practice is key. The better your cuts, the more uniform the plate looks, the better it will sell. That is unless your dining in the dark.