The Frugal Café | Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup"</a> | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com
Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup" | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com

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Chefs' Culinary Secrets & Cooking Philosophies

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Photo credit: Hiromy, "I Have the Moon" | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com

 

Chefs' Culinary Secrets & Cooking Philosophies | Gordon Ramsay, Julia Child, & Jamie Oliver

Compiled by Vicki McClure Davidson

 

 

Cutlery image Gordon Ramsay

World-renowned chef and TV personality, has been awarded a total of 12 Michelin Stars (third in history to achieve this); in 2007, became one of only three chefs in the United Kingdom to hold three Michelin stars at one time. Has starred in several award-winning primetime TV shows (Hell's Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares) in the US and the UK; he has written many popular cookbooks. Well known for his quick temper and verbal assaults of chefs in his kitchen.

 

"We use red onion [for the chickpea salad] because it is less harsh than white onion—a little bit more sweeter. And when we start to carmelize them, the flavor is wonderful without being bitter."

Extracted from: UK's Times Online video, Gordon Ramsay, Healthy Living, "Flatbread, Feta, and Chickpea Salad," (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style /food_and_drink/gordon_ramsay/article3810634.ece), April 26, 2008.

 

"Everyone gets a little bit nervous cooking fish because they think it's difficult. It's not. The most important thing to remember when you're cooking fish is STOP touching it. Leave it, leave it in there to cook. Turn it once, and once only, and use a fish slice [i.e., narrow triangular fish server]. That's all. Nothing complicated in that. You can always tell when your salmon's cooked because you can actually see the difference in the color... and when that gets to two-thirds of the way up there, it's time to turn the salmon. That's not rocket science, is it? Just watch the color in what you're cooking, keep an eye on it, time 4-1/2 to 5 minutes, and flip it over."

Extracted from: "Crispy Salmon Recipe" included on DVD that supplements book: Ramsay, Gordon, Gordon Ramsay Makes It Easy, Quadrill Publishing Ltd., London, 2005.

 

"Brioche is the ballerina of breads—light, subtle, but with an acquired taste (it's usually served with pâté, which I cringe at). You can get hold of flat-capped field mushrooms anywhere, and they are full of flavour. When you mix them with pancetta, cheese, and mustard, it's like a posh cheese on toast. It's a quick and easy snack with a wonderful creamy topping and amazing field mushrooms underneath."

"The secret when using trout is to cook it with its skin side down so it crisps up."

Extracted from: Ramsay, Gordon, Kitchen Heaven, Penguin Global/Penguin Books Ltd., London, 2005.

 

"Brill bones and turbot bones are the most sought-after in any kitchen. That will make the most perfect fish stock."

Extracted from: The F Word, "Brill in Red Wine Sauce" episode, BBC, season 1, episode 4, first aired November 2005.

 

Chef foods divider

 

Cutlery image Julia Child

First female chef on television; had numerous acclaimed cooking shows, namely The French Chef and Julia and Friends. Was the first chef to take the intimidation out of French cooking for her American audience; extremely popular because of her lighthearted approach to cooking. Won a Peabody award and an Emmy; was a popular television icon for decades. Her Mastering the Art of French Cooking cookbook was hailed by critics and remains a best seller, as have been a great many of her other cookbooks. Died in 2004.

 

"Packaged chicken backs and necks are particularly fine for stock because there's meat on those bones; or if you are one who bones chicken breasts or cuts up whole chickens, save all bones, backs, gizzards, and scraps in the freezer, and boil up a stock when you have an adequate collection."

"When you serve fine, fresh green vegetables, you want them to show off their color."

"It behooves us to choose eggs carefully and to treat them right."

Extracted from: Child, Julia, The Way to Cook, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1993.

 

"To disguise your use of [canned broth], simmer the broth for 15 to 20 minutes with a handful of minced carrots, onions, and celery and perhaps a bit of dry white wine or dry white French vermouth."

Extracted from: Child, Julia and Jacques Pépin, Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1999.

 

"When you buy red cabbage, the head should feel heavy, and the leaves should be fresh and crisp, both indications that the natural moisture of a fresh head of cabbage is still in there. Use a stainless steel knife to shred or cut the cabbage, since its juices rapidly tarnish ordinary steel and that, in turn, discolors the cabbage. Another note about red vegetables in general is that they must cook with something acid or their color fades; that's why you find wine and vinegar with beets and red cabbage, and apples, too. The acid counteracts the alkalinity of the water and of the salt. Conversely, one sprinkles salt on the tablecloth when a glass of red wine tips over—because salt fades the red color."

"While the joys of roast ribs of beef, filet mignons, and T-bone steaks are undeniable, the soul-warming appeal of a beef stew is eternal, and certainly the most famous of the French beef stews is Boeuf Bourguignon. Although it may sound difficult, fancy, and expensive just because it has a foreign name, it is only a basic brown meat stew, and all brown meat stews, whether of lamb, pork, veal, or beef, are almost identical in method. Generous chunks of meat are browned, then simmered in liquid and aromatic seasonings—carrots, onions, garlic, herbs. That's all there is to a stew. What makes a beef stew Bourguignon is that the simmering liquid is red wine, and the final garnishing is a little onions and mushrooms. If you leave out the wine and use stock instead, you still have a delicious stew; if you leave out the garnish, throw in several sliced onions, go heavy on the garlic and herbs, again you have a marvelous dish."

"When you want a purée of lentils, or lentil soup, the pressure cooker works very nicely. When you want them to remain whole, however, pressure-cooking is risky; sometimes it works, sometimes not, and I've not been successful at all lately—I've had to turn my pressure-cooked lentils into a purée. There's nothing wrong with a purée, of course, unless you had hoped for whole lentils in a salad."

"Artichokes are in season all year long, but they are most plentiful in March, April, and May, when they are also, of course, most reasonable in price. Look at each one carefully when you are buying them. Select only those that feel heavy, that have crisp, fresh, fleshy, handsome leaves. A few darkish spots or frost blisters are permissible as long as the leaves feel fresh and full. If you are not going to cook the artichokes almost at once, wrap them in a damp towel and store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator; I have kept very fresh artichokes perfectly this way for a week."

"Tripe is far from being a fast-food operation. It needs soaking, and simmering, and the long slow cooking—5 to 7 hours or more, depending on your recipes—in which it gradually absorbs the flavors of the wine, onions, spices, and any other ingredients you have put with it and all the while it is developing a marvelously savory taste. I don't know why people shy away from a 3-hour dough rise, a 5-hour simmer, or a 12-hour oven sesion. You are not sitting there, eyes glued to the pot. No! You are out at the movies, or you are writing your novel, or you are playing tennis, and you return to your tripe when its time is due. This is, really the easiest kind of cooking, where, once you've put it all together, it does the rest of the work for you."

Extracted from: Child, Julia, From Julia Child's Kitchen, Alfred A. Knopf, NY, NY, 1982.

 

"Moderation. Small helpings. Sample a little bit of everything. These are the secret to happiness and good health."

"In France, cooking is a serious art form and a national sport."

"As you get older, you shouldn't waste time drinking bad wine."

Extracted from: On The Table: The Curious Home of Gary Allen, A Collection of Culinary Quotations (http://www.onthetable.us/culinaryquotes.shtml).

 

"You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces—just good food from fresh ingredients."

Extracted from: Best Quotes Poems (best-quotes-poems.com/food-quotes.html).

 

"As opposed to wine, which is a food as well as something to lift your spirits, liquor is full of empty but horribly real calories that don't nourish you. Only the most serious dieters need omit wine altogether..."

Extracted from: Child, Julia (in collaboration with E. S. Yntema), Julia Child & Company, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1978.

 

 

Chef foods divider

 

Cutlery image Jamie Oliver

Cooked for three years, at a young age, at the critically acclaimed River Café in London; popular, irreverent host of many TV cooking shows, including The Naked Chef and Oliver's Twist; has won four awards for his TV shows and has a number of best-selling cookbooks. Food editor for British GQ magazine and has a regular column with the Saturday Times Magazine. Has been active in charity work, "Jamie's School Dinners," to increase nutritional awareness in England's working-class schools.

 

"I'm gonna add some vanilla. Good [vanilla pods] should be soft, not dry, and slightly sticky, if you're really lucky. You just cut it near enough the tip, slice all the way down the middle, right? And inside, you've got all these beans here. So you just get the point of your knife and just run it right to the end and you get all that out, and it's dead pukka [high quality, genuine]... To me, vanilla pod is probably one of the most amazing ingredients in the kitchen. I just think it's stunning. Don't chuck away these [indicating empty pod halves] because obviously they're worth quite a bit—pop it into a bit of sugar and that will infuse its flavor into the sugar, and then you've got vanilla-flavored sugar."

[While preparing fresh ravioli] "Ricotta is a very crumbly, kinda light cheese. It's very, very young. It's not got loads and loads of flavor, but it's kinda fresh and got a real milky taste, and I like that. So make sure it's really, really fresh, because it does go off quite quickly compared to other cheeses."

Extracted from: The Naked Chef, "Babysitting," TV show, season 1 episode 3, BBC/Food Network, 1999.

 

"When at the butcher's or fishmonger's, ask them to fillet and bone what you've bought—it's good to watch them do it."

"Try and buy in season. Let the seasons dictate to you what to cook."

Extracted from: Oliver, Jamie, Jamie's Kitchen: A Cooking Course for Everyone, Hyperion Press, Inc., NY, NY, 2002.

 

"The worst thing you do for the flavor of cheese is to just take it out of the fridge. Leave it out for half hour or an hour. Room temperature is perfect. Essentially, these cheeses are all still alive, they're not pasteurized. So, you leave them out for a couple hours... they'll taste much better."

Extracted from: Oliver's Twist, "The Big Cheese," season 2, episode 16, BBC/Food Network, first aired 2003.

 

"Since I was a teenager, I've been totally besotted by the love, passion, and verve for food, family, and life itself that just about all Italian people have, no matter where they're from or how rich or poor they might be. And that's what I'm passionate about—good food for everyone, no matter what."

Extracted from: Jamie Oliver website, (www.jamieoliver.com/italian/our-story).

 

[About cooking for members of his old band, Scarlet Division] "Most of the band are vegetarians, apart from me 'cause I like me meat and me fish. You know, I think a lot of chefs think of lookin' at vegetarians as a bit of a pain, to tell you the truth. But I enjoy feeding vegetarians."

Extracted from: Oliver's Twist, season 1, episode 16, "Scarlet Division" episode, BBC/Food Network, first aired November 5, 2002.

 

"Sage and onion... meaty, fragrant. Best use it with passion and vigor."

Extracted from: Jamie at Home, "English Onion Soup" segment, season 2, episode 2, BBC/Food Network, first aired June 7, 2008.

 

"A lot of people think that fresh pasta is superior to dried — that's rubbish. It's just that they do different things. Dried pasta is generally made from flour and mostly water, which means that it lasts for ages and retains a fantastic bite, which is great for seafood, oil and tomato sauces, whereas fresh pasta is silky and tender and suits being stuffed and served with creamy and buttery sauces. "

Extracted from: Oliver, Jamie, The Naked Chef Takes Off, Hyperion Press, Inc., NY, NY, 2000.

 

 

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