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David Hensley

Have you noticed lack of knife skills among media chefs?

82 posts in this topic

We do it because we Enjoy it might be further along that trail

a skill properly learned and developed can provide immense personal satisfaction in itself

no one else need know anything about it, because you do. Its your skill.

Five books from my library:

IMAG0353.jpg

For understanding the tool in your hand: An Edge in the Kitchen.

For technique The Professsional Chef's Knife Kit (my favorite) or Knife Skills Illustrated.

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Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

 

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wonderful just wonderful selection

I was unable to read the title of the book on the top ?

soooooooooooooo its due soon a the Lib?

:wink:

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if indeed knife skills are not important for the general public, why are expensive Japanese knives so popular nowadays?

dcrch

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For the same reason that BMWs are bought by inexpert drivers.

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rotuts - not due, bought from a library. Cutting it in the Kitchen by Merle Ellis. Butchering techniques. Haven't read the whole thing. At present I don't foresee have to break down primal cuts.


Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

 

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wonderful just wonderful selection

I was unable to read the title of the book on the top ?

soooooooooooooo its due soon a the Lib?

:wink:

CUTTING-UP IN THE KITCHEN BY ELLIS?

dcarch

Posted at the same time :-)


Edited by dcarch (log)

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wonderful just wonderful selection

I was unable to read the title of the book on the top ?

soooooooooooooo its due soon a the Lib?

:wink:

CUTTING-UP IN THE KITCHEN BY ELLIS?

dcarch

Posted at the same time :-)

RIght Cutting-up in the Kitchen. my bad.


Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

 

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if indeed knife skills are not important for the general public, why are expensive Japanese knives so popular nowadays?

dcrch

For arrivistes, myself included, a really good knife is a bit of a status symbol. It tells other people (and yourself) that you're not some jackass who watches cookery shows when there's nothing good on the other channels; you're The Real Thing.

Anyway, the general public (including people who frequent white tablecloth restaurants) aren't really "foodies," much less gear-obsessed technicians like we get here. There's not that many of us but we sure spend a lot of money, so it makes sense for people to cater to us. And boy do we like to talk about knives, so there probably -seem- to be a lot more of us than there actually are.

(You're into machine tools, right? At my shop we have a worn-out, second-rate, South American South Beach clone for a tool lathe, and it does everything I need it to; that doesn't stop every cack-handed garage shop hobbyist from slobbering over a Hardinge HLVH [which I think is distinctly inferior to the Monarch 10EE, but that is beside the point and even further off-topic])

EDIT: What I'm getting at is, don't assume the GP cares about high-end knives just because a relative handful of people on foodie forums post endlessly about them. I'd be willing to bet a fair amount of money there's more people dicing onion with a steak knife than with a nice gyuto, right this minute.


Edited by Dakki (log)

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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Wow big time. i had the original book. by Ellis.

it was of course 'Borrowed For Ever'

so I got a used one at the really good used book shops

this is an essential book for understanding meat.

don't got it? sooooooo sad

get it. used.

sorry no color pic. nothing for the Coffe Table to impress your friends

just the best stuff ever about Meat

to prove this: the Lib that gave it to

Porthos

rebound it.

Q.E.D.

:biggrin:

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if indeed knife skills are not important for the general public, why are expensive Japanese knives so popular nowadays?

dcrch

For arrivistes, myself included, a really good knife is a bit of a status symbol. It tells other people (and yourself) that you're not some jackass who watches cookery shows when there's nothing good on the other channels; you're The Real Thing.

Anyway, the general public (including people who frequent white tablecloth restaurants) aren't really "foodies," much less gear-obsessed technicians like we get here. There's not that many of us but we sure spend a lot of money, so it makes sense for people to cater to us. And boy do we like to talk about knives, so there probably -seem- to be a lot more of us than there actually are.

(You're into machine tools, right? At my shop we have a worn-out, second-rate, South American South Beach clone for a tool lathe, and it does everything I need it to; that doesn't stop every cack-handed garage shop hobbyist from slobbering over a Hardinge HLVH [which I think is distinctly inferior to the Monarch 10EE, but that is beside the point and even further off-topic])

EDIT: What I'm getting at is, don't assume the GP cares about high-end knives just because a relative handful of people on foodie forums post endlessly about them. I'd be willing to bet a fair amount of money there's more people dicing onion with a steak knife than with a nice gyuto, right this minute.

if indeed knife skills are not important for the general public, why are expensive Japanese knives so popular nowadays?

dcrch

For arrivistes, myself included, a really good knife is a bit of a status symbol. It tells other people (and yourself) that you're not some jackass who watches cookery shows when there's nothing good on the other channels; you're The Real Thing.

Oh dear... I was afraid of that....

The expression "Clothes don't make the man" is fitting here.

A knife is junk a hunk of steel that may or may not have a sharp edge.

What really counts is how you handle the knife and what you are capable of doing with it.

I don't need a 4or 5 hundred dollar knife to cut "rustic" vegetables. I have, however produced, thousand of dollars worth of fruit, vegetable, and other platters, sliced gawd knows how many fish and meat portions--both raw and cooked, and I dunno how many thousands of portions of various soups, all with simple Victorinox knives (over a 30 yr period, that is...)

When working in S.E Asia I worked with cooks who could out-knife me with even cheaper carbon steel cleavers. It's a humbling experience to watch a 70 yr old man bone out a quail from the back with a dollar-store paring knife that he keeps sharp by "honing" it on the back of plate.

No, an expensive knife doesn't make you the "real thing", knife skills do...

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Speaking of knife skills. The story told to me for this classic dish.

The dish was prepared for the Emperor. If the Emperor was not pleased with the outcome, "Off with the head". Which was a very good incentive for acquiring good knife skills.

This dish is quite popular today. Try making it without good knife skills.

dcarch

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loved that vid dc !

talk about Haute !

but I also like the tree stump cutting board just about as much.

wonder where in China one gets what ever that soup-pish thing is and what it goes for as done above

personally It needs a scallop or two similarly knifed.

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Back to David's original post...I'd say that it's mostly a disconnect between what you want to see in these TV segments, and what the chefs in question are trying to show. You want to see a display of technical skill, but if you sit back and look at these segments for what they are...generally that is not the theme nor intent of them.

As a further example:

skip to 5:35

If we were to judge Grant by just this one video...you could say that he's a total hack. And beyond chopping at celery like a fruit ninja, you could make other observations...why isn't his mise en place in perfect order? Where's his sense of urgency? etc. etc. But I assure you, Grant has ample technical skill. I'd be willing to bet that a pint of fine brunoise from him would pass muster. The key is the context and the intent. This video is clearly about applying a (then unfamiliar) restaurant cooking technique to the home. 'It's not magic, it just makes sense' that sort of thing.

Similarly, while I can't speak to every chef that ends up in the media, I assure you that Rene Redzepi has knife skills...but for the messages he so often focuses on, a technical focus actually hinders communication. People already perceive him as being "above and beyond," whereas he spends most of his time trying to say "what I'm doing isn't beyond reach of anyone."

You can always tell in an instant who the strong cooks are when you work with them. And just like the rest of TV...I wouldn't make too many judgements of a person based on what hits the screen.

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On the other hand, J. Pepin never looks like an oaf when wielding a knife. Never.

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Neither did his daughter when they shot the "Cooking With Claudia" show.

It was so cute how they'd speak French to each other and then speak up for the camera in English.

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J.P. is indeed the master.

however, his show is filmed in a studio at KQED SF. or there about. he uses tools supplied by sponsors.

so far so good, why not? you are watching him after all.

he was using high end Shun knives and used a fine one to cut the "" fill in the blank "" which was on a plate, not a cutting board

a hard, ceramic plate.

doubt he took that knife home, nor does he do that at his house.

still ...

i personally was surprised that Claudine can't really cook. she does understand a lot about Grapes though.

they didn't really make up the stuff where JP was showing her stuff she should have been able to do in her sleep. after all, look at Papa.


Edited by rotuts (log)
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to prove this: the Lib that gave it to

Porthos

rebound it.

Yes they did...I have the original, bought back in 1978 I believe...it's price was $5.95...

photo.JPG

A couple of friends and I had an interesting discussion about knife skills one night a few weeks ago. Two of us are culinary school graduates and one of my least favorite things to do was to tournée vegetables. Fortunately, I never had to do that in a pro setting, only in school. But it was a good skill to learn.

I'd bet a big dinner that RR can't tournée a thing.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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"" I'd bet a big dinner that RR can't tournée a thing. "'

no doubt. she's probably studying her portfolio

we all would if we were her. and she earned it, BTW

w hard work.

BTW ( II ) i have that same book, but got it used after my original got permanently removed.

:huh:


Edited by rotuts (log)
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I wasn't surprised that Claudine couldn't really cook. If Jacques was your dad, I can't imagine you'd cook much either. He's probably territorial about the kitchen and doesn't like people using his knives, his pots, his sauté pans, the wrong oils, &c.

rotuts, they're still shooting that show? Claudine was in college when I watched it a dozen years ago. Maybe she wants to cook for her own family now.

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On the other hand, J. Pepin never looks like an oaf when wielding a knife. Never.

Recently, J. Pepin did looked like an oaf to me.

I was on a train. He got in after me. Then he rushed out the next stop.

"Everything OK? Mr. Pepin?"

"Stupid me! Wrong train!"

I strongly suggest everyone to Google "J. Pepin paintings". You will agree he is a museum class artist. It really does not matter what he does in the kitchen, his work, everything, is art.

dcarch

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"" I'd bet a big dinner that RR can't tournée a thing. "'

no doubt. she's probably studying her portfolio

we all would if we were her. and she earned it, BTW

w hard work.

BTW ( II ) i have that same book, but got it used after my original got permanently removed.

:huh:

Can't say I'm a fan of RR or have even watch whole episodes of her show, but yes, she does work hard for the money, and I respect her for that.

That being said, she does have the public's eye and ear. Some may view this as a luxury, some as a responsibility.

As I have stated in my above posts, learning and using basic knife skills allows you to purchase higher quality cuts of meat at lower costs--if you can remove bones; to purchase whole vegetables or fruits cheaper than precut and packaged--if you can cut them into reasonably smaller pieces. So I feel that Ms. Ray does have a responsibility to at least demonstrate this skill to her audience. I don't think tourne'd root vegetables is a must, but how to remove the bones from a double breast of chicken (and what the cost difference is at the supermarket) would be a good thing.

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Claudine has a young daughter, and they both appear on the latest JP fast food my way. I think JP tried to teach her but she wasnt very interested.

JP is indeed an artist. I think that he is simply getting old.

:sad:

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"" Ms. Ray does have a responsibility to at least demonstrate this skill to her audience ""

that's not what interests her audience. her audience wants to pretend they too can be RR.

burp. pass the dip.

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RR's schtick is speed. Economy, not so much.

I agree with EdwardJ on this one. If she had decent knife skills--she need not be sushi grade, just competent--she could enhance her brand. However, that isn't what she's about. Take a look at the products she uses: prepared veg and fruit, presliced cheeses and deli meat, chicken parts, boxed stock, packaged herbs, et alia. I don't watch her show although I have seen it of course, one can't miss it as she is on multiple times a day on FN so, there she is if you have it on for noise. The thing I find most off-putting about her is her menu planning. It is atrocious. I can't recall what she was preparing one episode but there was a total disconnect between the various dishes she made that day. They had absolutely nothing in common; not country or style or flavor profile.

Like most of us here, I learned to use my knives to save money, not to show off. Knowing how difficult it was to teach myself, I am very appreciative of the beautiful knife work some of our members turn out.

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On the other hand, J. Pepin never looks like an oaf when wielding a knife. Never

I wholeheartedly approve of, and second this statement!

I want to be just like Jacques when I grow up....

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I'm a lifelong professional chef. If that doesn't explain some of my mental and emotional quirks, maybe you should see a doctor, and have some of yours examined...

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