Cooking is no longer perceived as something mundane that is stereotypically assigned to a housewife. It has, for the longest time, been recognized as an art that requires a certain type of skill set to be mastered and there is a whole roster of well-respected chefs from all over the world.
It has become a respectable career choice that many strive for and dream of, and many need to go through years of training under a seasoned professional in order to reach the status that can be worthy of recognition. There is also the option of going to culinary arts schools, where an aspiring chef will learn all the tricks of the trade and use it as a tool to help them get into the professional kitchens, anywhere in the world.
These are 5 basic skills that any young aspiring chef should learn before venturing out into the culinary world.
UNDERSTAND LOCAL PRODUCE
In order to really be on top of the game, you need to understand the value of utilizing the local produce of wherever it is you end up cooking. You need to understand what seasons provide which vegetables, what local staples are and why, what spices are particular to any given country and the secrets they have for cleaning, storage, and cooking. The local farmers of any city in the world will always have tricks up their sleeves, and it will do you wonders to befriend them to be able to get the best produce as well.
Any young chef needs to absolutely master the art of the knife and know how to cut with accuracy and precision. You need to understand what knife works with what meat or vegetable, and you must keep it sharp at all times. You’ll find that many aspiring and professional chefs have their own set of knives that they carry around with them.
FISH & MEAT
Fish and meat are just as important as vegetables and you have to know the different cuts available on each animal, regardless if they are the basic beef and chicken, or if they are wild animals with odd and interesting flavors that you can only get through certain cuts and organs. There are so many kinds of fish available and it is crucial that you learn about as many as you can because different kinds have different ways of cooking and cutting.
MASTERING THE EGG
The humble egg is deceiving in its complexity and it is often a test of a chef’s skills if he or she is able to master the cook on different kinds of egg dishes. Many seasoned chefs use the egg test to see how detailed and attentive a new cook is and it speaks volumes towards the level of their attention to detail.
The pastry is pretty much the ultimate test for any young aspiring chef. There are no shortcuts to mastering pastry and it is a very articulate skill that gives no room for error. As a chef, this is something that you need to have the basics of, at the very least. Being able to knead the dough properly and make a decent loaf of bread or have the base of a pie made to perfection is something that the professionals will certainly pay attention to if you’re trying to find your place in a new professional kitchen. Desserts, in general, are much more difficult to master than other dishes.