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Hobbies that make you a better chef


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Hi cook/chefs,

What are those hobby/hobbies that help makes you a better chefs, that help you to be creative, help you to have a sharp tongue, that help makes you more focus on your job?

Happy cooking!

Edited by Cookwithlove (log)

主泡一杯邀西方. 馥郁幽香而湧.三焦回转沁心房

"Inhale the aroma before tasting and drinking, savour the goodness from the heart "

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Food is not my job, which I think helps with the focus, but I'll weigh in.

Sometimes, I ask my lovely wife Sandra to hit me with a bold-faced word from the Food Lover's Companion and I respond with the definition. Lots of fun, like Balderdash.

Edited by Peter the eater (log)

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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'Gardening' would be the obvious answer.

'Massive drug abuse' would be the politically incorrect choice.

Pick up your phone

Think of a vegetable

Lonely at home

Call any vegetable

And the chances are good

That a vegetable will respond to you

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I'm not sure about better but happy for sure

Knife sharpening does in fact improve my knife skills

I also enjoy

coffee roasting...involves tasting

wine and spirits...involves tasting

cigars...involves tasting

fishing...procuring fresh fish

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Any kind of visual art--photography, painting, etc. It helps with plating and general creativity.

I've notice that a lot of food people seem to have a natural inclination to the visual arts (off the top of my head--Patrick S, Pille, Alinka, Abra, dystopiandreamgirl. . . more I'm sure).

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i've found that raising chickens and children has made me both a better cook and a better person.

voracious reading (of cookbooks, but just in general) really expands my culinary horizons, as of course, does travel.

"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

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'Gardening' would be the obvious answer.

'Massive drug abuse' would be the politically incorrect choice.

yes and yes :laugh:

I think growing up playing a variety of sports helps me in the kitchen. There is the obvious advantage of having experience pushing forward through fatigue or pain in physically demanding situations. Also, both sports and professional cooking require hand-eye coordination, teamwork, improvisation and concise communication. The first time I worked a busy shift on the line I remember thinking that it was so much like playing hockey (or any team sport for that matter).

I also think my interest in music is an asset. I don't have the strong sense of visual art that many chefs and cooks cite as a strength but I can get the inspiration for a dish from a song or even a harmony. I don't really know how to describe it. Maybe it just helps me to get my subconscious working. Songs with repetitive, simple rhythms also help me alot during prep ( :laugh: 'London Calling' just came up on my iTunes shuffle, fitting as that is one of my favorite prep-songs).

Music is also a great icebreaker with co-workers/employees. If you have a broad appreciation of it you will be able to connect with a wider range of people.

One last thing, in my 'other life' as a student I have to work in laboratory settings. This has helped to drive home the importance of having a solid 'pre-game' plan for "materials and methods" (the mise of the scientific community). I think it also helps by developing observation and problem identification/solving skills.

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I've done photography for many years, and I've done cooking for many years, but when I started doing food photography, I became much more sensitive to issues of presentation. Something that looks perfectly good to serve and to eat often won't do for the camera.

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I've been cooking professionally since I got out of highschool. The hobbies I am into are a direct result of the, uh.."different" working hours and demands of the hospitality industry.

A fair amount of my carreer was spent in Europe, where split shifts are the norm ( and the 5 day work week only intoduced in the early '80's...) and in Singapore, where 6 day weeks are the norm and the hobbies of the general public were shopping, shopping for food, and eating.

Any form of team sports or any kind of organized activity was, without fail, a bust. Something would always happen when I took a day off or made plans for a scheduled day off. One of my bosses, the F&B of a large private club who would refer to himself as a "Benevolent dictator" gave us specific instructions never to give any of our staff the same day off, and naturally he would include this rule with us, the lower management. My wife would have to call in sick if we wanted to spend a day off together when I worked at that club....

Thus, my hobbies are mainly cycling, which includes the maintainence as well as rebuilding and restoring bikes.

My other great love is woodworking, working with hand tools. I find this hobby greatly satisfying. The good cook is the one who multitasks and has a built-in clock ticking the seconds away--the key words are timing and multi tasking. With woodworking the emphasis is on the task at hand, very little multi tasking and timing is not as crucial. Completely different, very refreshing, ample opportunity to show creativitity, many techniques and working knowledge to learn and master.

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A good meal has so many elements, I would think that nearly any hobby could teach you something that would be useful to a chef. Especially the visual arts - even "everyday" food looks so much better when carefully plated, and anything you can do to develop an eye for composition would have to be helpful.

Even something like history would teach you a certain kind of context. Gardening, obviously, would provide many kinds of advantages.

And then there is always an advantage in finding something else to do that gets your mind off work.

A well-rounded person, I would think, would almost certainly have all kinds of advantages over someone whose life was narrowly focused in only one area. But people like that are sometimes able to make advances in their fields that those of use who are more jacks-of-all-trades may not be able to do.

If you're looking for a hobby to augment your cooking skills, I suggest you sit down, by yourself and perhaps with a glass of good wine, and think about your shortcomings and deficiencies. If you need to learn focus, then build ships inside bottles. If you need to learn artistic skills, then try photography or painting.

Etcetera.

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