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Old 05-09-2006, 05:58 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ironchef
For me, a recipe is just an idea or an inspiration, but one that is subject to my own interpretation or innovation. The resulting end product of this recipe then needs to be followed in order to ensure consistency and quality.

It's almost like a the CEO of a car company telling one of his design engineers, "Hey, build me a new car." The basic recipe will have an engine, four wheels, etc. but the end result of the car is determined by the imagination of the engineer. If it's a great car, then that recipe to create that car is followed meticulously and consistently.
It's not so simple, I assure it: it's my job.
The recipe for a car is not so, in the same way that you could say "to recreate that dish, use food". the fantasy of the engineer has no great space allowed. Costs, speed, places, market, engine, thousands of matters are important, in the same way in which a cook must know where he wants to arrive. He must know that he is going to do, f.i., a fish recipe, with a delicate taste, with some exotic flavours, and light to digest. And, in every way, at the end, will have a recipe again.
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Old 05-09-2006, 06:50 AM   #22
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I think we are faced here with the problem of neuvo nouvelle west-coast "made-up" (I need to express myself with my own interpretation - screw any correlation to the classical recipe) cuisine vs totally classic Italian Nonna's home cooking!

Both are valid cooking "styles" ... but regardless of which way you go - if you want to reproduce either when it is at it's peak of perfection ... DUHH ... you follow a recipe.

Okay IC - maybe it seems like I was picking on you (just using you for contrast to RDG) ... but if you create an "ultimate dish" that you want the other cooks in your kitchen to reproduce - how do you convey that? A recipe! And, if you are "Top Chef and owner" and create the ultimate recipe for "stuff" - would you really want your kitchen staff giving your recipe the "poo-poo" and saying, "ay, it's just a starting point ....." while you clients complain that it doesn't taste like it did the last time.

A recipe is so that you, and others, can reproduce the dish at some future time, or in some distant land, and preserve and reproduce the flavor as you made it. This is why when someone takes a recipe that calls for something like "cocoanut milk" and ask ... "can I use 2% milk ...." it's like fingernails across a blackboard!
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Old 05-09-2006, 05:37 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RDG
It's not so simple, I assure it: it's my job.
The recipe for a car is not so, in the same way that you could say "to recreate that dish, use food". the fantasy of the engineer has no great space allowed. Costs, speed, places, market, engine, thousands of matters are important, in the same way in which a cook must know where he wants to arrive. He must know that he is going to do, f.i., a fish recipe, with a delicate taste, with some exotic flavours, and light to digest. And, in every way, at the end, will have a recipe again.
There are many factors on both sides, i.e. food costs, location, guest demographics, etc. but I was trying to use a simplified analogy without having to get into too many details.
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Old 05-09-2006, 05:44 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael in FtW
I think we are faced here with the problem of neuvo nouvelle west-coast "made-up" (I need to express myself with my own interpretation - screw any correlation to the classical recipe) cuisine vs totally classic Italian Nonna's home cooking!

Both are valid cooking "styles" ... but regardless of which way you go - if you want to reproduce either when it is at it's peak of perfection ... DUHH ... you follow a recipe.

Okay IC - maybe it seems like I was picking on you (just using you for contrast to RDG) ... but if you create an "ultimate dish" that you want the other cooks in your kitchen to reproduce - how do you convey that? A recipe! And, if you are "Top Chef and owner" and create the ultimate recipe for "stuff" - would you really want your kitchen staff giving your recipe the "poo-poo" and saying, "ay, it's just a starting point ....." while you clients complain that it doesn't taste like it did the last time.

A recipe is so that you, and others, can reproduce the dish at some future time, or in some distant land, and preserve and reproduce the flavor as you made it. This is why when someone takes a recipe that calls for something like "cocoanut milk" and ask ... "can I use 2% milk ...." it's like fingernails across a blackboard!
And that's why I'm not a cook, and why I aspired to be more than just a cook. As a cook, you're basically an assembly worker. You pound out the dishes in your station according the specifications of the chef/restaurant. As a chef, while we have restrictions just like anyone else, we are also allowed a lot more leeway in terms of creativity. For example, I'll take a basic madeira sauce and rework it to how I want it to taste and to match whatever dish I'm pairing it with. That's the innovation part of it. At that point, it's my responsibility that each cook makes the dish the same way to ensure consistency.
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Old 05-09-2006, 05:59 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael in FtW
but if you create an "ultimate dish" that you want the other cooks in your kitchen to reproduce - how do you convey that? A recipe! And, if you are "Top Chef and owner" and create the ultimate recipe for "stuff" - would you really want your kitchen staff giving your recipe the "poo-poo" and saying, "ay, it's just a starting point ....." while you clients complain that it doesn't taste like it did the last time.
I had assumed that this was obvious and didn't need explaining. But to clarify, I was referring to recipes that I am responsible for. Not standardized recipes as given by the restaurant/hotel/etc., not recipes that are from the Chef de Cuisine/Executive Chef/etc.
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Old 05-09-2006, 08:37 PM   #26
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I write food columns for newspapers so I am constantly developing recipes. They are a guide for people who want to re-create the dish for themselves. It is important that they be unambiguous, use all the ingredients listed (no orphan eggs remaining on the bench at the end!) and work. An inexperienced cook should be able to follow the recipe and get good results. If there is anything tricky involved, I make the details a little more explicit and explain why - eg when making custard keep the temperature low so the eggs won't scramble; don't let the garlic burn or it will taste bitter. I sometimes mention variations people can use to make the recipe their own.
Occasionally I cook from a recipe myself, particularly when it's ethnic fare and I want to get a feel for achieving the distinctive flavours of a cuisine.
I read cookbooks like novels... and then find it's 7pm and I haven't organised dinner.
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Old 05-10-2006, 12:12 PM   #27
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To me a recepie or receipte as I saw it spelled at a historical reenacrtment is a starting point. It provides the infromation to start from to recreate the origenal dish accurately. I will find a recepie I like, recreate and enjoy it's essences. Sometimes I look at it a recepie wondering what can I do with it. I will prepare it and see what it's like. Then like the proverbial mad scientist I start making changes to the recepie and adding my own variations. As a result my kitchen becomes my labratory, and the results of my experiment can be eaten. Though unlike Dr. Hyde I usually don't turn into anything or anyone else except a very happy cook.
Recepies can also come by accident when you try to prepare something and you have to create emergency adaptations. For example I was making Maccaroni and Cheese only the Milk had gone sour. Instead after draining the water I added 5 large scoops of Vanilla Ice Cream, and the Cheese packet. It was real rich and creamy with a slight vanilla taste. I had created a new recepie because of an accident.
Finally there is the backward recepie. I find something new such as Mulberries and consider what can I do with this. Hmmm. Twice as much juice as Black Berries and very sweet. I then find a recepie that they remind me of and create and adopt variations using them ending with a new recepie and dish.
I would call a recepie a record of how something was prepared so you can prepare it accurately recreating it in the future, share it with others to show off your creations, and use as a jumping off point to create a whole new food experience, and create new variations on it.
I am a wild food specialst because of the possibilities to create and discover a whole new world of food experiences, and recepies ~

Foraging The Edible Wild
http://community.webtv.net/Taimloyd/FORAGINGTHEEDIBLE

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Time is an illusion. Lunch time doubly so.
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Old 05-10-2006, 12:48 PM   #28
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IMHO... A recipe is the bases to which to cook something, however you can vary away from the orginal recipe, and add/delete what you want...
It is steps to take, but you can leave out what ever ones you wish not to take, in short it is AN EXPERIMENT :)
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Old 05-10-2006, 01:10 PM   #29
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Well, I see there two mai lines of thoght.
There is who thinks that a recipe must be looked as possible, and who thinks that a recipe is something useful to have an idea for starting to cook something else, according to their own taste and to the foods they have at home.
Of course, both lines are possible, but I need to make some specific observations.
The first ones will be sure to have the correct dishes on their table. They will cook in a wonderful way, but always in front of the book. If a dish is good, "their" dish will be good too. No danger.
But, they will not be able to invent anything. For them, it will be always difficult to open the fridge and arrange something tasty with the foods they have.
The others, on the contrary, will be very expert in this matter, and, generally, in their homes you will eat always curious but interesting dishes. Sometimes good, sometimes less. But they will lose the great dishes, the ones that have made the cooking history. Those for which is necessary to make no questions, and obey literally to the recipe. All their efforts to get a better dishes will brig to the losing of the dish itself.
As usual, a good fifty-fifty is the solution, according not to the quantity, but to the types of dish you are preparing. IMO. (is it correct? In My Opinion? I'm learning.... )
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Old 05-10-2006, 02:01 PM   #30
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Thanks for being a good sport IC! I knew you wouldn't take what I said personal.

I'll go back to what I said - a recipe is a list of ingredients and the steps required to reproduce a recipe exactly as the author or the recipe intended.

Do I follow every recipe exactly? Heck NO!!! If I want to recreate the dish - especially if it is a cuisine that I am not familiar with, yes, at least the first time unless I see something wrong with it. Sometimes I will research several recipes to get an "idea" about a dish ... and run with it mixing, matching and adding my own "inspirations". I don't know how many pages of how many cookbooks that I've made notes tweaking the recipe in.

Who was it that once said, "A recipe is to cookery as paint-by-number is to art?"
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