A professional Chef rarely eats in a restaurant on a day-off, unless he’s looking for new ideas or wants to steal recipes. What he really wants when he leaves the job is to eat “mum” food. Yes, he wants to taste this clumsily set garnish, in the absence of all the elements that distinguish the restaurant’s food from the homemade. My grandmother always used to apologize before serving her “humble” dishes, for fear they seem “too plain for a Chef”. I wish she knew how dreamy I would see her thick potatoes that swam in the oil.
However, I do not think you are interested in all this. What you are expecting to read here is how to make your dishes look like a professional – made, right? Do you expect to learn tricks, secrets or techniques? Fair enough, based on the article’s title. What, then, is what distinguishes a professional kitchen from that of the house? Is the equipment? But even if I have the latest technology in my restaurant kitchen, that delicious sauce with red pepper and basil tones I made it – most likely – with home – like blender.
Now, let’s talk about knives. Do you really need 50 of these? Small, medium, large, expensive, cheap, of different materials? I swear to you that ONE good chef knife is all you need to cook like a professional. None of these splendid knives that are advertised on the TV and want constant sharpening can even cut a tomato! Your one and only knife must cut from dill to watermelon, and you (as a professional) need to know when to use only its top and when to use the widest part of its blade. Buy onions and start practicing!
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Ok, knives are such an obvious chef equipment. But what else is there in the chef trick bag? The number one on the list – which allows restaurants to charge you extra for the garnish – is … the plastic squeeze bottle. A bottle like this and a toothpick can lead a simple dish to another eye – pleasure levels!
What about the “height” of my dish? How do I make it tall and spectacular? Your weapons here are two: the metal ring and the pastry bag. Just put in one of these your smashed potatoes, for example, and make it look like you’ve been setting it for hours!
In terms of your utensils, the keyword is one: heavyweight. Only if you like scorched sauces or pasta stuck on the bottom of the pot, then buy lightweight utensils. A good saucepan or pan should cause severe pain if it falls into one’s skull. If your victim is not at such a risk, then just throw the pot in the trash!
Apart from the kitchen toys I mentioned, some ingredients also make the difference between restaurant and homemade food, with first and foremost butter! Yes, you have heard well. Butter (and god, not margarine!) is the first and last ingredient in my pan. That is why my sauces are richer and creamier than yours. Even Italians who are fans of olive oil and try to avoid butter, what do you think they put in their top risotto or pasta? Now you know the answer.
The second ingredient that makes the difference is garlic. Garlic is divine. Nothing can excel or destroy a dish more than garlic. Try to roast your garlic – it gets sweeter. Compress it with your knife, but to God do not put it in the blender. Handle garlic with respect. Are you bored to peel the fresh garlic? Then you just do not deserve it.
Finally, if something is never missing from a professional kitchen, these are tops or sticks of mint, basil, parsley and other aromas. Not much talent is needed to garnish a dish with such ingredients. I’m telling you that the most delicious dishes in the world are a matter of 3 to 4 materials, and the whole take off is made because of these little touches. We are clearly talking about fresh materials – if you are doing something to do it right “.
… as the top chef and novelist Anthony Bourdain narrates in his autobiographical book “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly”. We just enjoy his disarming experience and mastery.