April 9, 2013
Working at a Culinary School is a huge benefit in terms of gleaning awesome tips and ideas about cooking from people who know the inside scoop.
One Golden Rule mentioned to me by more than one chef:
If you taste a dish and you know it's missing something but your not sure what, it's probably acid. When I interviewed Executive Chef Brian Wilke, one of the founders of Oregon Culinary Institute a while back in his kitchen at home, I noticed he had a wire basket near the stove filled with lemons. He often uses a fresh squeeze of lemon to balance and enhance flavor in soups, sauces and marinades, then scrubs down the butcher block counter top with a little sea salt and the leftover wedge when he's done cooking dinner for his wife. In a professional kitchen, and at home, full utilization of product is ideal.
On Sunday, I finished off our Easter ham by cooking up a bowl of split pea soup with fresh thyme. It seemed to be missing something though, and I sliced off the end of a lemon, squeezed the juice into the pot and Voila!
I even saved the heel and scrubbed my butcher block island as well before plunking the well used bit of fruit into the compost.
Chefs are practical and brilliant people.