Chefs Resources is primarily about providing culinary information, but we do occasionally post recipes we have played with, as well as recipes by some of our friends.  Follow this link to our recipe listings below.

The Joy and the Pain of Recipes

Every Chef has hundreds of recipes and yet we are always looking to create another one, to try something new, always bringing in ingredients for the pure pleasure of playing with food.  Chefs take a lot of pride in their dishes (obviously) and will spend many hours developing and implementing a new recipe.

Getting the recipe correct when we create it ourselves may be simple enough.  We know what we want, a little of this, a little of that, etc.  But getting our staff to recreate it the same way is another story.  First we have to document (ughhh!) the recipe as we have created it.  This is where the fun of the creative process becomes the drudgery of recording how we did it (“Did I use 2 pinches or 3?  Damn, I don’t remember!  I just added until it tasted right.”).  It is the discipline of implementation, which includes the training of the staff.

Recipes are Simply a Guide – they are Never Perfect

I’ve found that even a perfectly written recipe will have different results depending upon the season, the product, and who is cooking.  The purpose of a recipe is to be a guide to an end. What I try to teach my staff is to use the recipe as a guide to reach the end result I have prepared for them.  After they have followed the recipe and prepared the dish they should ask… Does it look the same?  Does it taste the same?  Is it seasoned correctly?  Is the acid balance correct?  Is the plate layout correct?  Are the flavors harmonious? Will the Chef be happy?

A recipe is a tool, a guideline, to move you in the right direction. It’s purpose is to teach you how to taste, how to balance, how to create a sublime dish. If you are opening cans of processed product then sure, the recipe should be followed verbatim. But if you are working from scratch then you need to know the palate of the Chef. You need to understand the flavor profile of the dish, what is meant to be prominent, how to balance the flavors, and the correct use of acid to “brighten” the dish. You need to understand taste, texture, acid, balance, and the proper use of salt.

For example,as seasons change so does the intensity of flavor in your ingredients.  This in turn will change the flavor profile of a recipe.  I remember a Potato Cake with Walla Walla Onions I had developed.  We worked out the recipe until it passed our tasting tests and implemented it on the menu.  Six months later I received an observation from a fellow chef that the Potato Cake was “off”.  Sure enough, now the exact same potato cake recipe tasted more like an onion cake with a hint of potato!  The seasons had changed and the onions were now much more potent than when we had originally tested the recipe.  Moral of the story… recipes are only a guideline.  Everything needs to be tasted and adjusted at the time of preparation.

Writing Cookbook Recipes

Writing recipes for other professional cooks/chefs to use isn’t too laborious.  But if the recipe is for a cook book or publication for the general public then the process becomes much more tedious because we cannot use professionally understood terminology.  For example, “sear the meat” in a Chef’s recipe becomes a long description of the process when written for the general public; “in a medium sized sauté pan over high heat add a small amount of olive oil.  When the pan is hot carefully add the meat and cook until it is browned on one side.  Rotate the meat and cook all sides in a similar fashion until all sides are browned.”   A lot more wordy than “sear the meat”.

Certainly there are plenty of skilled home cooks, especially food bloggers, who would understand culinary terminology.  But there are an equal number of people who would not understand what “blanch the broccoli” or “sear the meat” means.

Having said all this, I’m not going to do it!  Most of the recipes here will use culinary terminology and short descriptions. If you would like to have a recipe featured in our blog contact us for more information.

Recipe Index

 

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