Whether it be a conductor with his baton, a mason his trowel, a wizard his wand or a Chef her knife, the tools of your trade become an extension of yourself and a priceless possession. The other day in advanced baking I was put to work on an apple strudel. Thank God!! I picked up my Chef’s knife and hit my happy place. My shoulders dropped away from my ears and my heart rate followed suit. In a kitchen dedicated to blow torches and analogical airplanes, the feel of my favorite Wustoff put me at ease and I knew exactly what to do.
This begged me to question the Chef’s at ACI, “What’s your favorite kitchen tool?” Here are their responses.
Chef Macc/Basics: Mandolin. When we were working on knife cuts in Basics, I offered to buy him a steak dinner if I could have one. NOT!!
Chef Rigollet/Meat Fab and Saucier: French Knife. DUH!
Chef Wolf/Basics: He was walking through the HUB at his frenetic pace and stopped dead in his tracks and gave this some serious thought. ‘Intense’ doesn’t even come close to describing this guy. His first pick was a Vitamix, but then he started describing a 3 inch serrated paring knife with such passion I almost fell over. He’s like, “Dude! You gotta’ get one of these!”
Chef Santos/du Jour: “My hands….and then my feet and then my whole body.” He’s so awesome!
Bruce Sandground/Management and Placement: He pulled his out of his pocket. Wait for it….a switchblade!! NICE!!
Chef Maddox/I’m not really sure: A gnocchi board. That, in and of itself, is interesting. What was fascinating is that he didn’t ruminate on it and deliver a 10 minute diatribe. God love this guy!!
Chef Schroeder/Basic Baking: Not even an instant of hesitation as she sped by at light speed and yelled, “Scissors!”
Chef DeWitt/Advanced Baking: Air pump and a blow torch. Go figure!!
Chef Smith/Basic Baking: Another Blow Torch. Look out!!
Finally, our fearless leader, Chef Wilson, replied, “My favorite kitchen tool is a paring knife, and I use it like it is the extension of my right hand.” Great minds.
During one’s journey through life and in particular, culinary school, you are exposed to lots of different tools, tangible or otherwise. While my French Knife elicits lovely moments of zen and my mandolin is essential in so many ways; the thing that has guided me, fueled and inspired me is creativity! It exudes from the pores of my instructors and I sop it up like a sponge.
Random thought by Heidi: A chef’s world is the only place you can wear pajamas to work; and, legitimately ask someone, “Does this smell okay to you?” 9 times out of 10 they’ll stick their nose in it. That’s a good tool to have, too!!!