Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Salt and Pepper
Salt and pepper. Please pass the salt and pepper. May I have some salt and pepper? Most of us utter these phrases or something like it everyday. Salt was once so valuable that it was used as currency. And for good or bad, salt is in practically everything we consume.
So, the question I have is, "WHY, is it so hard to get some cooks to use salt and pepper?". I will ask a cook, "Did you salt this?", only to get back, "Not yet Chef". Well, what the FUCK does that mean? Aren't you supposed to salt and pepper your food? These are supposedly seasoned cooks that I am referring to! So, what's that all about. I once had to tell a cook that I had reprimanded before for not seasoning his orders, "The next time you don't season your food, YOU'RE FIRED!"
I season at the beginning, middle and end of cooking. While tasting all the way. Except, for legumes(Beans) because I feel it makes them tough so I season them usually during the last 15 to 30 minutes of cooking. You have to season adequately otherwise, you end up with either a bland tasting product or something that tastes of nothing but salt!
Salt and pepper are basic. You could say that, we are taught to season in culinary school. But, aren't we taught from a very early age to season our food? Most dinner tables have a salt and pepper shaker, when you get a carry out order they have those terrible little salt and pepper thingy's in the bag. So, what's the problem? Why can't you, as a professional cook, use the salt and pepper? Here are some excuses that I have heard:
Sorry Chef, I forgot!
Sorry Chef, I forgot. You forgot to season is not an answer. Did you forget to put your shoes on before you left the house for work today? No, OK then, Seasoning should be the same as getting dressed to a cook. It's the most basic part of the cooking process yet, it seems to be the hardest thing to do. C'mon seasoning with salt and pepper is really basic cooking 101. I forgot is a lack of attention to details.
I didn't have time!
I didn't have time, is not in any kitchen professionals vocabulary. You didn't have time? It's part of your job. This is laziness, plain and simple! To say that you did not have time to season because you were too busy is ridiculous. I have heard this one before. If you don't have time to focus on the basics of cooking then get out of the business. No one half asses it in my kitchen. PERIOD!
Mussels have enough salt!
I've heard this load of crap before too. In my kitchens, EVERYTHING gets salt and pepper. The idea that Mussels come out of salt water so, their should be enough salt in them is bullshit! I season my mussels and I have NEVER had an order come back as too salty.
Chef, I didn't know you meant the salads too!
Why wouldn't you season the salad too? Does lettuce come out of the ground already seasoned? NO! So, season your salads.
So, Why do cooks not season? I believe it's laziness. I have no tolerance for this. My solution to is, See you later, Adios, Syonara, Fuck off! whatever but, your not working here.
When I walk into a new kitchen, the first thing I tell everyone is, my policy on salt and pepper. I want them to understand right away my feelings on this subject. I want no misunderstandings. It's simple and basic. I take pride in what I do and so should my cooks.