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Old 04-29-2011, 09:48 AM   #1
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What makes an excellent cook?

I have completed a search on the 'Discuss Cooking' forum and made an effort to find the answer to this question, but to no avail. Can someone inform me if excellent cooking is an innate talent or is excellent cooking a skill that is perfected through continual practice?

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Old 04-29-2011, 09:53 AM   #2
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What do you think?
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Old 04-29-2011, 10:05 AM   #3
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Why can't it be both?
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Old 04-29-2011, 10:48 AM   #4
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I think an excellent cook is one who does their cooking with LOVE....One has to really love what they're doing.
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Old 04-29-2011, 12:35 PM   #5
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The ability to think outside the box
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Old 04-29-2011, 01:23 PM   #6
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Some people may start out with some innate abilities. Some people may never rise above mediocre. But cooking is definitely something can be learned because my cooking skills have improved hugely since when I first started. I also see it as something that one never masters completely, there's always something new to learn or try.
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Old 04-29-2011, 01:25 PM   #7
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Not only cooking skills, you've also got to have a friendly persona as well.
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Old 04-29-2011, 01:37 PM   #8
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Not only cooking skills, you've also got to have a friendly persona as well.
Why? I know some pretty sour cooks!

And haven't you watched any of those restaurant "fix-it" shows? They feature some pretty sad (bad attitude) cooks!
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Old 04-29-2011, 02:03 PM   #9
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Are you talking about technical excellence, or that ephemeral "something" you can't quite put your finger on?

Technical excellence can absolutely be learned. The other is innate. Some folks call it "love." I think that has something to do with it, but not everything.

My mom came from a family of four sisters. They grew up on a farm, and all of them were technically excellent cooks. However only my mom and Aunt Eleanor consistently prepared food that we were all excited to eat. And they ALWAYS served that kind of food. My Aunt Elsie loved to cook and bake, and her food was always edible, but never WONderful.

So I'd say there is something that can't be taught.
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Old 04-29-2011, 02:09 PM   #10
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Why? I know some pretty sour cooks!

And haven't you watched any of those restaurant "fix-it" shows? They feature some pretty sad (bad attitude) cooks!
Because if I were ever in a position of owning a restaurant and hiring kitchen staff their personalities would be my major hiring criteria. They may be in the kitchen all day never having to deal with the public but I don't like dealing with sour people in general. So, therefore, in my book they would not be good cooks no matter what their technical skills.
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Old 04-29-2011, 10:20 PM   #11
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I beleive cooking is about how passionate you are about it as well as an open mind for creativity & presentation.
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Old 04-30-2011, 12:47 AM   #12
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The ability to think outside the box
aaaaaah Bea you read my recipe for Spamolenta
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Old 04-30-2011, 12:57 AM   #13
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two loves make an excellent cook.

the love to eat, and the love to feed people.
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Old 04-30-2011, 01:11 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Fellow Foodie View Post
I have completed a search on the 'Discuss Cooking' forum and made an effort to find the answer to this question, but to no avail. Can someone inform me if excellent cooking is an innate talent or is excellent cooking a skill that is perfected through continual practice?
I think your question is to broad, I know fantastic chef who can't make pastry or a sponge cake.For me its ingredients, its very easy to make bad food out of poor ingredients but very hard to do the same with quality ingredients.
I can teach people to make patisserie, as long as they stick to the recipe and method religiously the results are fine, but if you have someone with flair they learn the science and gain the major component confidence, then the result become spectacular
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Old 04-30-2011, 05:00 AM   #15
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Good point. I don't think you can get by in life purely by being talented but have an awful attitude. That will always attract negative energy from others. To be a talented chef/cook you have to be able to work well with others especially in the kitchen.
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Old 04-30-2011, 10:45 AM   #16
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I think cooking is like everything else--you get better at it with time and experience. I was a fair cook in my 20s, a decent cook in my 30s, a good cook in my 40s, now that I'm in my 50s, I'd say I'm a great cook (well, my friends have branded me as that). Hopefully, I'll be an excellent cook in my next decade of life!

I also had a "mentor" and that helped. From her, I learned to try different things and how important presentation was...and, fwiw, I am not addicted to eating. I eat because it is part of surviving. I am addicted to the satisfaction others enjoy when I serve food.
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Old 04-30-2011, 11:29 AM   #17
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i think it is a few things
respect for the food
understanding of the food and its properties
the love and care to execute a great finished product..be it something fancy or as simple as a tossed salad,,etc


skills do help...but i think it comes from within as well
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Old 04-30-2011, 11:47 AM   #18
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Confidence...Knowledge...Passion...and "something" that can't be taught.
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Old 04-30-2011, 11:48 AM   #19
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Could the answer to the question be as simple as producing consistently excellent results?
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Old 04-30-2011, 12:05 PM   #20
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But what attributes must one posses to consistently achieve excellent results?
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