Anthony Bourdain is running a contest for his new book "Medium Raw". I had sat down and wrote an essay based on his concept of "Cooking Well". Unfortunately, I did not read the rules prior to writing and found out just as I was about to enter that people outside the US are unable to. So I thought I would start sharing here. I would have loved to enter as he really inspired me in my ramblings. I love watching his show with my son (who seems to want to become a chef himself now).
I hope whoever reads this can appreciate my view on the concept. Post back and let me know how you feel.
Cooking Well is more than just the application of cooking practices. It is the experimentation and addition of a Cooks own ideas and techniques that push the boundaries of what is expected.
Staying with the tried and true is something that will eventually bore the people you are trying to serve an excellent meal to. Things need to be changed up and risks need to be taken occasionally to wake up the palette of your gastronomic audience.
And it is not just the serving of the food you have prepared, but I also find that people love to hear how I prepared the meal, if I used something different or unique, or if I used a special method of my own.
It is about injecting your passion and love of the art of food into what you create. It is about presenting your appetizer or entrée or dessert or drink in the most eye catching manner possible, as the first impression of your meal is always the visual aspect. Your cooking might taste excellent, but if it looks like a bowl of gruel, that may put off some of the people you are trying to serve.
Food should never be rushed. Time is one of the elements that are missing from a lot of today’s meals.
This starts right from the beginning of planning the meal...looking for the best ingredients, the freshest produce, the tastiest meats and the plan to bring it all together.
I get a lot of my vegetation ingredients from farmers markets or my own garden or even the small hydroponics setup I have in my kitchen, where I grow my most common used herbs. The fresher my base ingredients are the better my end product is.
I also hunt for some of my food. Hunting is one of the most intimate practices that you can participate in and really makes you appreciate where your meal is coming from. I find it has made me respect how I apply my cooking practices and to use what I have obtained to its best potential.
Time is something that is also missing in the end process. Take the time to savour and enjoy what you are consuming. Today's society has missed that for too many years. Most people rush though what they are eating, stand up, belch and rush off to the next thing. They are missing part of life, part of the hard work that one person or many performed to bring together a meal worth appreciating. That what they are eating will become a part of them. It is not just fuel, but your body uses what you eat also as building blocks to grow, rebuild and repair.
The aspects of Cooking Well are not just in the Cook, but also in the components, the time, the audience and the stories about your meal. It is the appreciation of all these elements that in the end will show how well you cook.
~The Honest Ramblings of an Incoherent Amateur Chef