As a chef, there’s no greater joy than seeing people enjoy your food. Whether it’s an eight-course-meal you’ve worked days to prepare or a simple turkey sandwich, the validation that you’ve done a good job combined with the knowledge you’ve successfully fed people isn’t something you can get anywhere else. As we all know, however, it’s not as easy to do this as just dropping some food onto a plate. Here are three tips for making sure you’re putting out quality food to keep the standards in your kitchen high.
Use Quality Cookware
You’re only as good as your tools, so make sure you’re using some quality cookware when you prepare food. This doesn’t mean you’ve got to break the bank to outfit your kitchen with a bunch of specialized pans. It just means that what you do use shouldn’t be flimsy garbage. Sturdy metal, high-quality plastics that aren’t falling apart, unchipped glassware and wood that’s not splintered or burned up are an essential part of making a good meal. Remember to take age and any signs it’s time to retire a pan into account too. If you neglect any of this, you’re in danger of gross residue or parts of utensils or cooking surfaces ending up in your food, at best ruining the flavor and, at worst, warranting a trip to the ER.
Use Quality Ingredients
Second only to quality cookware is quality ingredients. Again, there’s no need to spend exorbitant amounts of money on the rarest truffles or longest-aged cheeses when all you need to do is buy good ingredients. Fresh vegetables (organic if possible) and meat raised without antibiotics are a good place to start as these tend to have a noticeably better flavor than the alternative. Plus, they’re a more ethical way to get your food. A Japanese concept called poka yoke is a technique used to build processes that help in preventing mistakes, such as checking produce when it arrives and before the delivery person leaves to make sure that the order is correct. Try implementing steps like this into your ordering for the best results.
Keep It Clean
You shouldn’t have to be reminded to keep your station clean, but too many chefs think they can get away with leaving a mess sitting around. Even worse, some forget entirely about cross-contamination and end up poisoning someone’s salad with raw meat juices. Be aware of what you’re cooking on, wipe things down and wash them off regularly and never use the same knife for meat as you do for raw vegetables without a thorough cleaning first.
Being a chef is a uniquely rewarding experience even if it doesn’t always come easy. Remember these three tips for making sure you’re putting out quality food to help ease that burden just a bit.