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Tao of cooking: Shortcuts

By: Craig Munhall, Executive Chef

Everyone would love to cook like a professional. Throw a few things in a bowl and turn out something suitable for a king. I know how frustrating it can be to put in a lot of effort and the result turns out to be absolutely inedible. But to be a really good cook takes time and experience. It would be nice to condense time and experience and get on a fast track, but it truly won’t be authentic unless you take the time – that time requires.

I have worked with close to a hundred different cooks from all sorts of backgrounds. I’ve seen people with varying skills sets and all sorts of different passions. Having said that, I can tell you that it is my experience that truly good food is in direct proportion to the length of time someone spends in the kitchen – not skill or education. Who can argue that grandma’s corn bread is the best? Here at Guilford we have several cooks that have been in this industry for over 30 years. Lois over at the vegan station can make water taste like a million bucks. And this is my point! I and many others would love to have that uncanny ability, but we have to wait in line until our experience matches hers.

That’s where the Tao comes in to play. There is no sense in being disappointed or upset about the food you do create. Every time you prepare something you learn more about it. You learn times, colors, temperatures, combinations, techniques, and most importantly you learn what YOU like. So the important thing is that you keep cooking. Encourage yourself and over time you’ll get it. There was a time when I was curious about wines. I wished I had the lingo and the knowledge of the differences between wines. But this is not something that you can just switch on, or pick up by reading a book. In order to truly understand and appreciate wines you need to grow into it. It would go against the Tao to assume that you know enough. That is when they say that your “cup is full”. And in order to learn something new, you must empty it. So with good food, like a whole host of other things in life, it takes time and there is no short cut. Try to be patient and appreciate where you are right now and over time more will be revealed.

Cool?

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