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Old 01-23-2007, 02:41 PM   #21
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I agree Half Baked. I do not thing he was trying to glorify it either. He was just exposing the realities of what it is like to work in a restaurant kitchen.

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Old 01-23-2007, 02:42 PM   #22
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I read this book years ago, it was on the NY Times bestsellers list like in 2000 (?) anyway great book and his Les Halles cookbook is a trip, very entertaining on top of the recipes. I'm still waiting on my free promo copy of the Nasty Bits.

I agree with Half Baked, the fact that he is dead sexy doens't hurt either!

I heard him on the World Cafe with David Die last week, he got to pick his 5 favorite songs and then they discussed and played them - it was a very enjoyable interview and Tony is into old punk rock, lots of Iggy Pop.

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Old 01-23-2007, 02:58 PM   #23
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GB - I may be cutting my own throat by disagreeing with a Site Admin here , but I still don't think AB would agree or advocate that people working/cooking in their home kitchens should burn/callous their hands so they can pull red-hot pots & pans around without protection. Once again - he's a professional chef, & respects the way professional chefs work & the hazards they go through in order to put a large number of different meals on a large number of tables in a timely fashion.

That doesn't automatically mean he's advocating we all start burning the flesh off our hands so "we can be like him". That's completely ridiculous. And like I said before - he's a bigtime COMMON SENSE person. I don't agree for one nanosecond that he'd say all his fans/readers/viewers should start pulling hot pans about without protection. He'd probably laugh his you-know-what off at the very thought.

Frankly, I think anyone who, after reading AB's book(s) starts pulling hot pans around because of what AB wrote has to be a bit of a masochist (& a bit whacko as well - lol!!).

Edited to add: You know, when you think about it, this whole hot pan/bare hands topic is whacko to begin with. Anyone who wants to emulate a famous chef by starting to handle red-hot pans bare-handed & end up with seared & calloused hand skin just because a famous chef does it is far far beyond any advice that can be given here - lol!!!!!!! That kind of mentality goes far beyond Anthony Bourdain.
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Old 01-23-2007, 03:17 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by GB
It would influence you in knowing where the comment came from. The comment about doing that was not because it is cool. It was taken directly from the book.

In the book AB talks about one of his first experiences in a real kitchen. He was basically trying out for a spot to work there. Something happened (I do not recall what exactly) and he got a small cut on his finger. he asked for a bandage. The kitchen stopped what it was doing. one of the old timers there said that he could not believe he was stopping work to ask for something like that. He then proceeded to pull a cast iron pan out of the oven with his bare hands. He did not flinch at all as he did this. The guys hands were so calloused and worked that he did not feel the heat. He was basically telling AB that if he wants to make it in that field then he has to toughen up a bit.
There is a difference between toughening up a bit and desensitizing your hands. Calloused flesh can still burn, or freeze....all of which are harmful to the body part. Desensitized flesh is not necessary to competently work in a kitchen. Regarding a cut finger or any other open wound....without a doubt for any reason at all, any open wound, every open wound absolutely has to be covered at all times. Getting a bandaid doesn't make you a wimp, it prevents you from contaminating everything you touch!

I'm not sure where we are headed with this conversation. I'm not going to dispute the book or what took place in his trail way back when. I don't doubt that some old guard cook would have such an attitude regarding a kitchen injury. Personally, I disagree with the idea of working injured, or desensitizing a body part as vehemently as I possibly can. There are tools available to everyone who works in a kitchen to protect us (pot holders, oven mitts, cutting gloves, mats, slip resistant shoes, goggles, dunnage racks, burn sleeves, koolkerchiefs, ear plugs, etc). There is no reason to earn battle scars. Accidents happen often enough...why look for them? I believe working your way up to calloused hands is a sure way to have a major burn/freeze or cut down the road.
How can we sleep while our beds are burning???
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Old 01-23-2007, 03:27 PM   #25
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C'mon, let's face it. Tony's got this tough, snarky guy persona he's projecting. Fine by me - I like loud noisy boys as long as they are competent in what they do. His descriptions of kitchen life might be exagerated (I know there should be another consonant in that word, but can't think of it) a bit, but there's probably a rather hard nugget of truth in what he wrote about.

I don't think for a nanosecond his book was meant as a "how-to" for us home cooks- as geebs said, he was just narrating how it was for him (with some embellishments, I suspect).

I sent my copy to my pastry chef sis immediately after finishing it, and she howled at how true most of the scenes were for her.
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Old 01-23-2007, 03:28 PM   #26
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I do not disagree with you VeraBlue. I think you are right in almost everything you said. AB was just saying what does actually happen though, regardless of what should happen.
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Old 01-23-2007, 03:42 PM   #27
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I will obviously not pick up a red hot saute pan but I'm not gonna worry about picking up hot plates that just came off the line
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Old 01-23-2007, 03:53 PM   #28
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Very well said VeraBlue.
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Old 01-23-2007, 04:45 PM   #29
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I have the book and am planning on reading it, but haven't yet....
After all the comments, it'll go to the top of my list.

in regards to the cut, please, please stop and put a bandaid on... I, for one, do not want someone else's blood in my food. That can't be safe.
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Old 01-23-2007, 04:46 PM   #30
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Used to be a chemist and at times picked up many hot things with my hands, rarely purposefully. Occasionally had to grab very hot items to prevent them from spilling (and ruining hours or days or weeks of work).

Not sure I built up any calluses or resistence to pain (OK, maybe lost a few nerves) but learned that for brief times I could take the pain to prevent a fire, or damage, or loss of something I valued.

Never met AB but know some folks who have and they have nothing but raves for the guy.

Love his books.

And do not believe that he is recommending anyone claspi a red hot pan (did that once a couple of years ago, unknowingly. Someone had taken the SS fry pan out of the very hot oven, I walked by, and was asked, quite innocently, to hand them the pan. Hand was two times its size from blisters for two weeks. Fortunately it was my left hand.)

One of the themes of CC, I think, was to demonstrate the bizarreness of many professional kitchens, and of the denizens who work there.

And extending that idea, if you can't stand the figurative and literal heat, do not pass through those swinging doors.

Just my take.

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