How many people burnt their eyebrows off last night? I’m referring to the Flambé lesson taught last night on Fox from Gordon Ramsay in his new television cooking show called Cookalong Live.
Gordon Ramsay’s: Cookalong Live – is a cooking show where Chef Ramsay “teaches” home cooks across the country how to follow along and prepare a three-course meal in 60 minutes. Kind of like Rachel Ray meets the Amazing Race with a dash of fireman? You had to see it.
In Gordon’s own words in an intro video;
“it doesn’t matter if you’ve never cooked before, because I’m going to be with you every step of the way.”
I have a LOT to say about this statement and this show but I’m going to hold back to hear from our cooking school students to see what they thought first. Tomorrow we will post links to skill & technique videos related to this menu because we certainly didn’t see much teaching happening on this show. Is cooking really that easy?
Cooking is very much about temperature and technique. Like driving, you need to have driving skills. Similarly, the cooks and chefs from your favorite restaurants have cooking skills and have mastered basic cooking techniques to ensure that you get that perfect meal delivered to your table. Try throwing a ten year old behind the wheel with no driving skills and let’s see if Gordon can talk him through to ANY destination. No offense Gordon. You are unquestionably an amazing chef. But let’s teach America – and you know what I mean.
In the first course from this show, there were a number of very critical steps that if not executed well, would lead most home cooks completely off the success path. As an example, what if your pan was too hot and you over-browned the garlic? I can tell you right now, you’d have a very bitter end result. Don’t believe me? Try the first exercise from this lesson on sweating. Learning simple cooking skills and techniques, like how to properly sweat ingredients, can and will completely turn your cooking around, yet few even know how important this is.
In the second course – great dish – but how do you know if the pan is the right temperature? How much oil do you add to the pan? How do you know when to turn the steak? What’s searing? What’s a crust? How do you get a nice crust? How do you test the steak for doneness? How… how… how… and most important why are all these things important and how does each step (technique) impact the next step?
I really hope that everyone in our ‘Rouxbe’ world understands that all these little things are important to driving success in the kitchen. It’s these simple things that separate good cooks and chefs from home cooks that think that following a recipe without skill & technique is the path to better cooking. Amazes me.
You might be interested to know that professional cooking schools do not – for the most part – teach recipes. They teach cooking skills & techniques.
For more reading see:
UPDATE: Here is the link to the follow up post, along with supporting recipes, for the Gordon Ramsays’ Cookalong Live Show.