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New ITV show wants stories from chefs

message posted 29-Sep-06 22:54:00
ITV is making a series about people's jobs. They would like stories of past and present, what goes on in the kitchen, tricks of the trade, what chefs get up to, etc etc

Contact :

tel 0207 261 3635
message posted 29-Sep-06 22:59:59
Channel 4

Is looking for chef de parties & junoir sous chefs to take part in a filmed cooking competition. Applicants should have 5 / 6 years experience.
The competition will be judged by some top food critics and industry professionals.

message posted 02-Oct-06 14:06:25
One of the most notable differences between home-cooked meals and those served in restaurants can be found in the flavor of the sauces. While some cooks are comfortable adding a little of this and a splash of that, recreating a sauce sampled on the town is a challenge for many. For those who need a little boost of kitchen confidence, here are a few tricks from behind the hot line to stir up some culinary creativity.

Reduce sauces to increase flavor. To reduce a sauce, simply cook it over a low heat in order to evaporate water from the pan. As the sauce simmers, the volume decreases but its intense meaty flavor will remain, certain to complement your dish.
Deglaze your pan to capture the richest flavors. After sautéing aromatic vegetables or searing meats, begin the sauce by adding wine, juice, or stock to the sauté pan. This releases the sweet browned bits of food from the pan and into the sauce.
Spike up the flavor. Acid ingredients such as wine, vinegar, and citrus juices are used to bring out full flavors that may be otherwise hidden in a heavy sauce. A touch should bring a flat sauce to life, but the heavy-handed will suffer from too much tang.
Adjust salt just before serving. Masked by water, fiber, and other naturally occurring flavors, salt tends to hide within many basic ingredients. As a sauce reduces and its flavor becomes more intense, so does its salt content. Rather than adding salt while starting a sauce, sprinkle it in at the end to make sure you don't end up with an unpalatable disaster.
Use fresh ingredients. From meat to stock, from vegetables to wine, use only products that look, smell, and taste good on their own. While fine wines may be overkill in a sauce, make sure your cheaper alternative is drinkable before committing it to the pot.
Thicken sauces as naturally as possible. If there's enough protein in your stock, reduction alone may give your sauce the body it needs, but at times you'll need to look elsewhere. Avoid using cornstarch where possible, as it creates an undesirable sheen and feel. Try vegetable purees instead. Flour slurries or roux are the next best option.
Allow your sauce time to grow. Make your sauce in advance and hold for a few hours under refrigeration prior to serving, allowing flavors to meld together and bloom. Sharp acids often calm down and aromatics and spices intensify, leaving you with a complex, flavorful sauce just like you've tasted in restaurants.
Finish sauces with delicate flavors just before serving. Toss in a little pat of butter, a hint of truffle oil, or a handful of fresh herbs just before your reheated sauce is ready to plate, giving it one last kiss of personality as it heads to the dining room.
message posted 02-Oct-06 14:09:00
Perfecting Pasta: The Truth About Noodles

Know how to boil water? Then you've probably cooked a noodle or two in your day. While it's simple to make an edible pasta, there's more of an art to cultivating a soft but toothsome "al dente" noodle as the perfect host for your sauce of choice. The secrets to perfect pasta cookery range from choosing the best product to preparing it with precision.

Choosing the right noodle gets you halfway to your perfect dish. Macaroni or orecchiette? Fresh or dried? The options seem endless in an aisle once monopolized by long, thin boxes of good ol' spaghetti.

Dried and fresh pastas can be equally delicious as long as they still carry a golden sheen without any blotched or dulled spots, indicating over-the-hill noodles. In a rush, fresh pasta cooks faster, but some prefer the firmness of dried over the softer, less forgiving fresh.
Remember to pick a pasta that will hold onto its companion sauce. Rigatonis and other hollow shapes are best for thick sauces as they naturally fill with chunks of meat and veggies. Cream and broth sauces fare well smothering linguini or fettuccini as they cling to the long surface areas.

The best pasta is cooked right before it's served, with sauce heated and hungry diners waiting at the table.

Start by stirring noodles into a large pot of well-salted boiling water. (A rule of thumb suggests using 5-6 quarts of water with 3 tablespoons of salt for every pound of pasta.)
To insure that the pasta starches solidify immediately (instead of sloughing off into the water), cover the pot after the pasta has been added and allow the water to come back to a boil. At this point, the lid can be fully or partially removed as the pasta cooks to your desired doneness. Timing on this varies with pasta choice, so it's best to start checking for firmness - trial by tasting - a few minutes before the suggested cooking time on the box. When tender, not mushy, your pasta is ready to be drained from its cooking water.
Immediately, toss cooked pasta in a large sauté pan with well-heated sauce.

Cooked without oil and never rinsed, your pasta will absorb all of your favorite flavors acting as an ideal host, supporting the starring sauce without actually stealing the show.
message posted 05-Oct-06 22:31:24
For ITV; What head chefs get up to with their commis !!!

One thing that is noticably different in kitchens these days is the brigade, where has it gone?

When i was a commis 12 years ago, on walking into the kitchen one morning chef informed me that I had 30kg of mirpoix for a consomme to do. Now as you know for a consomme it has to be brunoise. Hours later and much enhanced knife skills we started to clarify the consomme.

Next morning on walking in chef tells me he needs another 30kg of brunoise mirepox whilst my jaw was dropping and with a glint in his eye he told me to use the robo coupe, 40min later it was done.

Another classic was making crocodile ravioli. Making trays in 100's I was up to the sixth tray when chef casually strolls up, takes a ravioli off the tray and proceeds to cook it, after sampling the fruits of my labour he casually tells me it needs more seasoning and to start again! "%$^*&^%$

message posted 05-Oct-06 22:58:18

My Head Chef had me turning tomatoes out in the car park one summers day for get this! ! Eight hours for sun dried tomato's. I still cant believe that he kept a staight face for that long.

Another of his classics was to get me to chop, yes chop my way through a 50kg bag of flour handful by handful to get air into it.

message posted 08-Nov-06 10:53:57
Working at a Michelin starred Hotel in the new forest was my second but first real job i was 16 unable to drive and so cycled the 12 Miles there and back to work.

One wednesday evening all the chefs left early to go out on for a birthday drink and although i was invited i was on the rota at 6am the next day with the breky chef and so declined , so being as keen as mustard to impress i said to chef , you go on i don't mind mopping and clearing down, Head Chef winked at me and said "you will go Far Marco" "Remember to switch everything off" he said

Well i was in my element i had the whole kitchen to my self , put the radio on as loud as i could get away with 2 buckets of hot soapy water and a mob i said to work on cleaning down .

After about an hour and a half i was all done it was 10:30 by now and i got changed and jumped on my pushbike to ride home , i arrived home in the end at about 12am jumped in the shower and went to bed ,

1am i awoke from my slumber with one though "did i turn the oven off" at first i tried to ignore the fact but the thought of the biggest bollocking in the morning urged me to get out of bed , and get dressed , so at 1:30 istarted the 12 mile cycle back to the hotel , arrived back at the hotel at 2:45 , i waited for the nightporter to nip off to the loo and i snook past reception and in to the kitchen and over to the oven.

When i heard a voice right behind me "You Left the oven on Didn't you"

Yep it was my head chef "he said your stupid but nearly as commited as me" "now your here you can crack on with the veg for tommorow" "night chef" he said Laughing his ass off as he left the kitchen

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