When I first began to cook seriously, I would look around me in amazement at all the action in the kitchen. I was enthralled – even at something as simple as blanching. I also realized that I basically knew nothing. While intimidating, it also presented a challenge.
In the world of food, there are countless ingredients, many different styles of cuisine, and a fair share of techniques. In this sense, cooking does represent the same thought process as a painter putting ink to canvas or a musician composing a song. The abundance of information challenges one to continue to learn and get better all the time. This pursuit almost always leads back to the origins of things.
Lately, the “origins of things” can be found all over restaurant menus, which I find exciting (go on say it – call me a dork). Southern folks (like me) by nature have a sense of home (re: place of origin) to them, and I sense it creeping its way into many facets of my life, especially food.
Charcuterie, on premise gardens, butchery, farmer relationships—these and many other restaurant trends all have derived from the pursuit of knowledge by chefs seeking to get back to the origins of things. It’s really a movement that permeates much of what society is shifting towards and how organizations like Slow Food are built upon.
The constant pursuit of knowledge and wanting to get better every day is a mentality shared by athletes, chefs, and I’m sure many other professions. As chefs, we have the ability to showcase what we do everyday—opportunities to shine as well as chances to disappoint. It is up to us to embrace those moments. At the end of the day, we need to learn from those moments so we can become better. It is an extremely challenging but awfully rewarding.
Day after day, we rally around the kitchen and do what we have chosen to do as our profession. Thus, we have the opportunity to learn more and get better at what we love to do—how cool is that?
And you as a diner, have the opportunity to taste this pursuit of knowledge. A lot of restaurants cringe at a less than positive ranking or review, but I welcome it because this provides opportunities to learn.
In all fairness, you need to tell us so we can get better still and if you’re disappointed, to let us make it up to you. I hope you’ll see this as a forum where we can share thoughts and exchange information – all in the pursuit of knowledge.