Ever wonder what the difference is between a great and average chef? How is it possible to create food recipes that are memorable and yet another that is easily forgotten? I don’t care about the jokes about skinny chefs not being trustworthy, but the 80/20 rule is the same in this profession as it is in other professions. It’s a fact that only 20% of lawyers, accountants, financial advisors, etc. are doctors. 20% are exceptional, the remaining 80% are average to terrible. This is true for all professions and trades. The challenge for chefs is to distinguish the 20% from 80%.
You will immediately notice the creativity of the top 20%. They create delicious meals and set the bar for others. One of the most obvious signs of creativity is how a meal is prepared. Before you even start to eat, can you take a look at the dish and say: “This meal seems unique.” It must be apparent before you start eating it. The meal needs to ignite something in you. Top chefs use colors and shapes to make their dishes stand out.
Next, we will get to the actual recipe. The best chefs don’t just present the recipe as it appears in a cookbook; they also add their own personal touch to it. Flavor is a better term for flair. It can be anything from adding an extra ingredient to making it more complex. You could also use a different combination of certain ingredient quantities. Our website has a recipe for chocolate truffles with cayenne pepper. It may look stupid on paper, but it’s one of those rare things you have to taste in order to believe. It is a truffle that lasts at least half an hour after it has been eaten. This is only one example of a chef who thinks out of the box. There are many others that aren’t quite as radical.
When I go out to eat, I also like to taste simple boiled vegetables. I don’t think you need me to tell that they can be bland. What if you boil all vegetables other than root in chicken, beef, or vegetable stock instead of plain water? You can also boil them together. Because some vegetables take longer to cook, you end up with more flavor and textures. Is it bad for the vegetables? You can’t judge it, but you should know that vegetables shouldn’t be overcooked or they will become bitter.
Start collecting tips from top chefs when dining out. Ask the waiter if there’s something you like about the food. Chefs are artists, and will often share their secrets with anyone who is interested.