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Chefs: Dealing with ingredients they dislike


sadie4232
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A chef I used to work for had lots of dislikes. He'd frequently stick a spoon into something and say, "Mmmmmm...tastes like crap. Just the way it's supposed to."

I'm fortunate to not have many real dislikes: parsnips, cauliflower and avocadoes pretty much are it. If I lived in California that last one would be a bitch, but as it is I'm pretty much good to go. I don't care much for green bell peppers, but that's because they're relatively flavourless compared to red or yellow.

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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The one and only food I won't eat is rhubarb--neither will my brother or sister. Too much of it force-fed to us as kids I guess.

Can't go near it, even if it is mixed with other fruit. When working for other people I would prepare it as required, but would never, ever, taste it.

Just the sight of it makes my tongue go all shrivelly--like I was forced to suck on a penny. Brrrrah! nasty stuff....

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I spent many years working in delis and didnt like mayonaise, getting to taste tuna, chicken, and potato salads first thing in the morning was ummmm special.

Like gak, gak, needs salt - gak, this ones good. And of course being up to your elbows in the crap. I had to make someone else taste the egg salad or deviled eggs, that just went too far

tracey

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

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You don't have to LIKE something to know how to cook it... but if you loathe something enough to not want it anywhere near you and refuse to have it in your kitchen, that could be a problem. Unless of course, it's YOUR kitchen and you're the boss - in which case, what you say goes. If you choose not to have any salmon on your menu because you think it tastes like old carpet, that's your prerogative - but it's the salmon-loving customer's prerogative to go elsewhere!

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I don't care much for green bell peppers, but that's because they're relatively flavourless compared to red or yellow.

For Cajun food, they're ambrosia. We never eat them raw, however, as they're rather awful tasting. No green bell pepper would be like cutting one leg off of a three legged stool.

Try something simple with one, like rice and gravy:

1 large round steak cut into 2" pieces.

1 large onion, diced

1 large green bell pepper, diced

3 stalks celery, diced

3 cloves garlic, diced

salt

black pepper

cayenne pepper (to taste)

dried thyme, oregano (optional)

Sautée vegetables (not garlic) in half butter, half olive oil until onions are caramelized, add garlic, steak, and enough water to cover to 1", cover pot, braise until meat is tender, adding water as needing so it doesn't dry out. Serve steak and gravy over rice, garnish parsley. Simple, but make it without the bell pepper and it's completely boring.

Edited by fooey (log)

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I dunno, I've worked as a pastry chef for a number of years, and I dislike dessert in general. Doesn't mean I don't know what tastes good though - even if I might personally dislike something, I know it will taste good to others...

Most chefs should have sensitive enough taste buds that they know whether something is good or not, no matter where their preferences lie...

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Just because you don't like the taste of something you can certainly cook with it, if you know others like it.

If you have someone who likes it that you can experiment on or get to taste it then great. If you can cook so it tastes a particular degree you dislike but know other love it even better. Then again if you can compose something without tasting - If the Oysters and Pearls tail is true also Grant Achatz then that's a sign of genius. For a musical allegory look at Beethoven.

Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

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Personally I cant stand baked or hot puddings & desserts, hence the dearth of Baked Cheese cakes compared to Fridge cheese cakes on my menus. Of late though, my wife has taken over the dessert section and guess what ??we now serve Whiskey Bread & Butter Pudding, Creme Brulee, Creme Caramel, Malva Pudding, in addition to all my old favorites, like Choc Mousse, Rhubarb Pavlovas, ....JBTW do cooked custard ice creams count as cooked puddings cause those I love...just finished putting the final touches to a Green Tea & White Chocolate Ice Cream and a Peanut Butter & Cashew nut & honey Ice Cream.

The fat & happy Chef from Clarens, Eastern Free State, South Africa.

I've never had a bad day in the kitchen, but I've had some bad kitchens in my day!

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I am just getting over my aversion towards apples. My first trip anywhere was to Hong Kong when I was 8 years old. My younger brother and I were given $10 US, by our dad, to buy apples below the hotel and, not knowing the conversion rates or how much a kilo amounted to, we spent the whole $10. Guess what, our meals in Hong Kong consisted of those apples. We missed out on the dim sums, duck rice and hainese chicken.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am not a genius, or famous, but at the last restaurant I worked I came up with all of the daily specials in my head, the chef said it seemed like I only made the dishes to confirm my suspicions. He wasn't too far off, although I had some real losers- (in my mind) but we tweeked them before opening. I was the only vegan on staff and I was the butcher (and at every job I have ever been at since culinary school) and the guy who cooked all the protiens. I just recently moved to a vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free/raw restaurant and I am NOW nervous about what I cook, go figure. I think love of cooking, and a respect of ingredients is needed, not a personal like or dislike of the dish but it sure does help and might I dare say effect the final quality of the dish. PS: I dislike hotdogs- all of them the texture freaks me out, so most terrines I don't like either but I'll try anything.

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  • 4 months later...

I'm not famous, either, but I'm a culinary student and I won't touch peanut butter or anything with a jelled texture. I'm in a baking class now and we spent a week making every kind of cookies you can imagine. I love cookies but didn't like these. They taste like bakery cookies. There is a distinctive bakery taste and I have never liked it. I'm a bit of a health freak and there are a lot of ingredients in baking class (and in the culinary classes) that are not ever in my home. I keep my mouth shut at school and just cook. I do taste everything.

Edited by Cyndi (log)
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I'm not famous, either, but I'm a culinary student and I won't touch peanut butter or anything with a jelled texture. I'm in a baking class now and we spent a week making every kind of cookies you can imagine. I love cookies but didn't like these. They taste like bakery cookies. There is a distinctive bakery taste and I have never liked it. I'm a bit of a health freak and there are a lot of ingredients in baking class (and in the culinary classes) that are not ever in my home. I keep my mouth shut at school and just cook. I do taste everything.

What do you think is responsible for that 'bakery taste'? Is it the choice of fat? I've wanted to copy that on occasion (trying to duplicate the cookie that they used to give out at the National Bakery when I was a kid).

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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I don't work in restaurants anymore but I have an aversion to avocados, artichokes (taste like cabbage grown in sewage), and any non-zucchini squash. Basically the first two meant that anytime we had a "California style" dish on the menu, I was sure to hate it. I had to have someone else on the line taste anything with artichokes in it because I hate them so much it interfered with my ability to taste the salt levels in the sauce. The late 90s were difficult because the deep south got artichoke crazy and I was disgusted by about 1/4 or our nightly specials.

None of those things would ever have been on the menu it it had been my restaurant.

That said, I see no reason why any dislikes would make someone ineligle for the profession. Given a large enough market, one could even turn their dislikes into an asset. I have a chef friend who does not like cheese in any form. Because of this he produced very few dishes that contain dairy. So, in addition to his mainstream marketing, he marketed to lactose-intolerants with very targeted advertising campaigns. He was very successful for many years before he retired.

Edited by BadRabbit (log)
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