Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Secrets of a Restaurant Chef


Recommended Posts

I've seen only the lamb episode and I have mixed feelings. I had DVR'd it, and I stopped and erased it a few minutes before the end.

On the whole, she's pretty refreshing. Don't worry about the arm movements. Either she'll tone them down after she watches herself a few times, or you'll get used to it. Or she'll get a lot of criticism and respond to that. For someone who's just beginning to do this kind of thing, she's doing well. It takes time to work into a groove and get comfortable in front of a camera. I think she's got what it takes to do that. And I am really looking forward to seeing what she will become when she starts making the camera work for her instead of the other way around. This woman has solid credentials, and she's just different enough to make her a lot of fun. I would love to have a few beers with her.

I would have appreciated more information about how she prepped the artichokes. I've never seen baby artichokes in the stores here; I assume you do the same things with them that you do with the large ones, but it would have been nice to have more detail. I also felt that way about a couple of other things, but I forget what they are.

There were some minor annoyances, such as using "cute" dishes for dessert, but those things are forgivable in light of her "earl-ing" up the meat. Irreverence is a good thing, especially where food is concerned.

If I were her coach, I'd have her talk more about flavors, and maybe throw in a word or two about substitutions. If you can't get the artichokes, or your spouse hates fennel, then what? But that's a personal thing and not a criticism. Since the show is "Secrets of a Restaurant Chef" I'd like to see a little storytelling. She could talk about the guy who can trim 200 artichokes in 10 minutes or something like that. People like me who go weak in the knees at the thought of being able to cook in a real restaurant kitchen with all that cool stuff, like insider tidbits.

I'll watch her some more. Somehow I got the impression she was trying too hard, but that's typical of people in their first season. Giada progressed from someone who was stiff and technical to someone who shares her love of food. Ann will do well, if the FN is smart enough to keep her around.

Link to post
Share on other sites

There were some hits and misses in this epi, but I still think Ann is great and will keep watching and recording the show.

Positive:

**By far the BEST show of how to tie up the meat. Great show of how to drape and loop the kitchen string over her hand.

**Keeping and SHOWING the bones. I can't remember the last time I saw a raw bone with no meat on it on FN. This was great to show, hopefully people will start to appreciate they are not just for the garbage or the dogs.

**Salt. Yes, the use of salt is great on this show.

**Uses real vocabulary: aciduated water. its not that hard people!

**Ann's personality & expertise are both huge!

Negative:

**Some better detail on times for cooking would have been good.

**Would have loved some discussion on theory of cooking meat temps (med rare versus well done)

**Actual boning of the lamb leg would have been great to see.

Dear Ann: GREAT JOB, KEEP IT UP

Dear FN: KEEP HER & Give her a better time slot. An hour long may not be a bad idea!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I watched the Leg of Lamb show on Sunday.

Like others, I have mixed reviews on it. Yes, it will take time for her to get a little more comfortable on camera. Right now, I think some of her on camera mannerisms are a little, dare I say, Rachael Ray like (cutesy names for the ramekins). Also, I had the same issues with not telling us how to check for doneness of the lamb. Yeah, most eGullet society members know how to tell, but we aren't the only audience for this show.

I keep thinking of the title of the show. It has "Restaurant Chef" in it. Would it be better if the show were set in an actual restaurant kitchen? Should she wear a chef's uniform? It would be nice to see the professional restaurant chef aspect emphasised, in my opinion. Of course, that seems to be the opposite of what Food Network wants.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

Link to post
Share on other sites
I keep thinking of the title of the show.  It has "Restaurant Chef" in it.  Would it be better if the show were set in an actual restaurant kitchen?  Should she wear a chef's uniform?  It would be nice to see the professional restaurant chef aspect emphasised, in my opinion.  Of course, that seems to be the opposite of what Food Network wants.

Great point jsmeeker. I can see that they may want to show how a restaurant chef does it at home, but showing a similar dish in the opening and showing how to translate it to your home kitchen would really "hit the spot" IMHO. The problem is with the half hour format it is tough enough to get everything in. One more reason to take this baby to a full hour??

Link to post
Share on other sites
I keep thinking of the title of the show.  It has "Restaurant Chef" in it.  Would it be better if the show were set in an actual restaurant kitchen?  Should she wear a chef's uniform?  It would be nice to see the professional restaurant chef aspect emphasised, in my opinion.  Of course, that seems to be the opposite of what Food Network wants.

I once was on the set of Gale Gand's cooking show, "Sweet Dreams". I was introduced to her

and we were talking about the show, props, etc. She said there was a lot of viewer reaction to the fact that she was using a professional mixer (it might have been a Kitchen-Aid pro?). Reaction was so strong that they subbed it out with a retro-styled MixMaster, complete with glass bowl and double beaters.

My point is, according to FN execs, there are alot of people out there intimidated by restaurant chefs, so taking Anne out of the restaurant kitchen, and putting her in a home kitchen setting might "play better in Peoria". Oh, and BTW, the exec producer of Gale's show is the same producer of Anne's show. And, in fact, he's exec producer of FN's Rachel Ray show.

I'm thrilled to see a real person using real food and cooking it. We need to see more shows like this. Cutting the on-air hours of Sandra Lee, for example, and give some of them to

Anne, and people like her. At least when Anne cooks, she won't use a powdered "vinegar-ette"

pack, whipped topping, canned fruit, etc.

Sorry for going off on a rant tangent. Couldn't help myself.

www.onetoughcookienyc.com

Link to post
Share on other sites

are people REALLY turned off by pro stuff? Almost every cooking show out there uses a Kitchen Aid mixer. (Of course, you can debate that a Kitchen Aid mixer really isn't a true pro mixer and that you need a big Hobart instead..) And then there are the pro style cook tops and ranges. All the rage in home kitchens. They are designed to LOOK like a pro range.

I think people are more accepting of it. And really, if the title didn't have Restaurant Chef in it, I don't think I would have even brought it up.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

Link to post
Share on other sites
are people REALLY turned off by pro stuff?  Almost every cooking show out there uses a Kitchen Aid mixer.  (Of course, you can debate that a Kitchen Aid mixer really isn't a true pro mixer and that you need a big Hobart instead..) And then there are the pro style cook tops and ranges. All the  rage in home kitchens.  They are designed to LOOK like a pro range.

I think people are more accepting of it.  And really, if the title didn't have Restaurant Chef in it, I don't think I would have even brought it up.

The mixer on Gale Gand's show might have been a tabletop Hobart model. My memory is

a bit fuzzy.

www.onetoughcookienyc.com

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree completely with the suggestion that the show be an hour, start it off with Anne cooking something in a restaurant kitchen, then bring her into her "home" kitchen at the studio and let her translate it for the home cook.

That said, I'm happy just to have this show on FN. I loved it. I think she's brilliant. She'll gain confidence in front of the camera. Seems everyone starts out a little awkward in the beginning.

An hour would be better.

Oh, for the record, pro stuff turns me right on. I :wub: stainless steel, fire power, power equipment and walk-ins.

Turn offs: anything instant or pre-packaged. :angry:

Link to post
Share on other sites
I agree completely with the suggestion that the show be an hour, start it off with Anne cooking something in a restaurant kitchen, then bring her into her "home" kitchen at the studio and let her translate it for the home cook.

That said, I'm happy just to have this show on FN. I loved it. I think she's brilliant. She'll gain confidence in front of the camera. Seems everyone starts out a little awkward in the beginning.

An hour would be better.

Oh, for the record, pro stuff turns me right on.  I :wub: stainless steel, fire power, power equipment and walk-ins.

Turn offs: anything instant or pre-packaged.  :angry:

I think it might be safe to say that people who are Egulleters wouldn't have issues with pro-equipment, etc. I

I can't wait to see Anne's show this Sunday....I believe she'll be roasting a chicken. I can only

imagine what she'll say about trussing that bird! :laugh:

www.onetoughcookienyc.com

Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought the show with the roasted chicken was an improvement over what I'd seen before. Still, I would like to have seen her peel and slice the beets. The arm movements were still annoying but not as much as before.

She's not giving amounts for ingredients. I suppose the producers figure we'll all go to the recipes on the website if we want to know. I think the show's the poorer for it; a chef who's discussing amounts can also comment on how ingredients are measured, and whether it's critical at all to stick with the recipe, or just guess, etc. Amateurs can learn a lot about cooking from such discussions.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I still enjoy Ann's personality and love her knowledge but the editing on this show bugs me. I would bet that she did talk thru peeling the beets for the salad and turning the chicken over and the timing but it was likely edited out. That said, she could certainly add a little more hard information about times, temps, amounts, etc. And she *is* talking the whole time so I'm not sure where she can fit in more info. I hate to say it but it does show how Rachel Ray has fit so well into the genre with her fast talk, giving great stories and loads of info about what she is doing all at the same time. She makes it look easy.

Still rooting for Ann to get the show taken to an entire hour...played a few times a week!

Link to post
Share on other sites
I've only seen the first episode and now the seared sea bass ep

Did you notice the glaring edit of the sea bass? Right before commercial she took the top pan off the filets and they were completely different looking (almost done) from when she came back from commercial (not done at all).

I still like the show and her. It's nice to see someone handle food like they're not afraid of it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Did you notice the glaring edit of the sea bass? Right before commercial she took the top pan off the filets and they were completely different looking (almost done) from when she came back from commercial (not done at all).

Right. I thought this was pretty funny since it didn't look like they were cooked with her secret technique of pressing the pan on top since they were still pink. The pan was just lying by the side of the grill.

The show is much improved. it would have been nice to see her suggest some alternatives to morels, Meyer lemons and favas since these can be expensive and are pretty seasonal.

Link to post
Share on other sites

:laugh: I backed up to make sure I saw that right on the sea bass! I think the pan was too hot initially- smoking!

She still is missing some basic info for temps and timing of some stuff. How long was the tart in the oven? What temp? Did she leave it at the same temp as the shell that cooked? Perhaps they could pop up ancilarry information that she misses such as the temperature to cook at and the number of minutes for baking.

Shelling favas is a 2-step process so I'm very curious why they didn't show at least one for an example.

I love her menus though and the show is full of great information. I think a text pop-up would be great when she talks about her techniques that are "secrets" such as: Secret #3- salt the 'shocking' water too! Although I picked up on a number of these, they don't slap you in the face and feel a little buried in the text. They should be highlighted since that is the angle of the program.

Still a million miles better than Semi-Ho so they better simply improve on the model and keep her!!

Link to post
Share on other sites

getting better, but I too think some of the details of the actual "secrets" get glazed over. Like salting cooking water. I know a lot of us know that, but really, explain what "heavily salted" is. Give others that don't know an idea. I think for a lot of home cooks, "heavily salted" is really even more salted than they would think. For me, salting the shocking water is new. Never heard that before. I guess I'll do it next time I blanch some green veg.

Tricks/tips in prep should be better detailed/shared as well. restaurant chefs and cooks always have the good ones since they have to do so much. They come up with ways to save time. Share those tricks. It's useful in the home kitchen, too.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

Link to post
Share on other sites

loved the pork chop episode - best yet!

alas, i have no way of grilling pork chops or anything else at home :hmmm:

maybe i should investigate grill pans? can anyone recommend a good one?

Alcohol is a misunderstood vitamin.

P.G. Wodehouse

Link to post
Share on other sites

after a few episodes, I think it's clear what a restaurant chef's big secret is.

SALT!!

:cool:

I like this show and like the way she cooks. But it's still really light on measurements, times, temps, etc. I'm surprised Food Network lets her get away with that.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

Link to post
Share on other sites
after a few episodes, I think it's clear what a restaurant chef's big secret is.

SALT!!

:cool:

I like this show and like the way she cooks.  But it's still really light on measurements, times, temps, etc.  I'm surprised Food Network lets her get away with that.

methinks food network "lets her get away with that" so that they can publish and sell her cookbook later in the year. probably just in time for holiday shopping.

"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to admit yesterday's pork chop ep did bother me. Brining is one of those kind of precise deals that you can't go into too lightly and she really should have given proportions and measurements. Plus three days for chops? I've done them for just 24 hours and they had been unpleasantly altered by the process. And some of the flavoring elements probably would carry through (bay leaf and fennel seeds) but I really doubt someone would take a bite of those chops and rave about the flavors of the celery and carrot in there.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think one of the principles of the show, for better or worse, is that you're supposed to go to the website for the details on any recipe.

I'm pretty sure she used ground up fennel seed, not pollen to coat the chops. My one attempt at long term brining of pork ended up giving it a hammy flavor, not surprising since I guess it was partially cured.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm pretty sure she used ground up fennel seed, not pollen to coat the chops. My one attempt at long term brining of pork ended up giving it a hammy flavor, not surprising since I guess it was partially cured.

Ooh, I totally forgot about the fennel pollen. It did look like ground seeds. And if it was pollen she did use to coat the chops, based on my one time buying it she probaby put on $6 worth. :wacko:

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...