If you had only one knife to bring to work

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lsboogy
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by lsboogy » Sat Dec 15, 2018 9:06 pm

I had a great day today. Brought my GT line knife, a Kikuichi petty, and a Richmond Ultimatum 240 that has had some work done on it. Used the bigger knife and petty for prepping salmon, steaks, mushrooms, onions, and peppers, and then put them in my knife roll and went to work on the line for a few hours with my 210. The 210 would have been a real challenge working on those salmon, but The Ultimatum took them down in minutes.

I think my idea of using a single knife in a pro environment was a sign of my ignorance - I am learning why most of the cooks bring a bunch of stuff with them. I'm gonna get to do some sauce work later this week (I'm off on Friday, and Rick has 2 lunches and dinner to serve - his busiest day of the month). I'm getting to the point where I can cut onions as well as most of the cooks, you chefs work like beasts most of the time, and I love doing this. My Christmas Eve dinner for 21 looks easy right now - 2 salmon, Brussells sprouts, mashed celery root, and a couple sauces (others are bringing things too) holds nothing compared to what I did today. I'm going to do a homeless meal on Christmas Day (bunch of us feeding 350 or so)and the skills and timing I am learning are going to be a great help to me.

if there are any other home cooks out there who have thought about going to school to do this professionally, find place to volunteer to get a feel for things. I have an advantage knowing some of our better local chefs, but working in a pro kitchen with lots going on is very different and much faster paced than a home kitchen.

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lsboogy
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by lsboogy » Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:58 pm

Long long day. Had a good time and am super tired. Brought a perfect selection today - a 90mm paring knife, a 160 Bunka, 210 line knife, and 240 gyuto.

I got to make sauces and cook lamb on a grill (went in the oven for finish) and for the first time I got to plate - went from shop to serving site today for the first time. Plated about 25 dinners - gonna have a glass of wine and hit the hay. Finding out why folk bring a big kit if they are not the chef - Rick still just has his 240 - I need a good selection to keep up with my duties. I need a few more spoons that I will order after the holidays - next scheduled day of my education is New Year's Eve - tomorrow I'm going to the Arrow award show and getting a nice meal with the SO - she is massaging my neck right now - I had a 12 hour day with no pay but learned a bunch

Cashn
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by Cashn » Sat Dec 29, 2018 10:26 am

People don’t use my knives, if for some reason they think it’s alright they will not do it again. No matter where your at on the totem pole people need to respect your tools. A lot of cooks aren’t exactly the cream of the crop of humans, anybody can start off working in a kitchen with zero credentials, wether that be socially or with knowledge of the trade. If they’re smart they can learn, improve, adapt, create and teach. Just because someone might be faster than you with a knife doesn’t make them smart. I dont work in a conventional kitchen, it’s a food truck so I’ve got my station and my sous has theirs. I generally take over his station for service to slice or mis en place food that will be cooked for service. Breakfast/lunch is short order off the truck and lunch/dinner is 10 chafer buffet where we feed about 100-120ppl in 30 min. I pull out a Tojiro bread knife and a 270 gyuto every day. That’s gets me through 90% of everything. Bread knife is my do all tool, makeshift spatula/spoon, lid lifter on #10 cans, slice a raw chicken breast for special order and gyuto stays clean, etc. The other 10% generally goes to a suisin 240 western deba if I’m parting out chickens or doing anything rough that day. Sometimes I’ll pull out a Heiji garasuki or Munetoshi slicer instead of the deba just for fun. Parer’s,Pettys and suji’s are lost on me but I’ve got plenty of butcher knives to make up for them hehe.

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lsboogy
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by lsboogy » Sat Dec 29, 2018 12:39 pm

Rick called me this morning early (5:30am) - just finished a lunch prep and am on way home to sleep in a few minutes. I did my onions, celery, and a case of tomatoes (sliced thin) all with my 240 Ultimatum (thanks Chris) and then did some sauce work and sliced a bunch of meats with my GT. Real chefs work hard,
I only took a 210 and 240 with me today - and managed with just the two. The crew is learning that despite my lack of training, I seem to be capable of some stuff. But I still have the line knife thing going - everyone just grabs what is closest when food is going up - I'm even starting to do it. The line is mayhem, prep is controlled. I'm lovin learning how a big kitchen works - did lunch for 150+ today and have a big meal (rib roast, salmon) for 230 on New Year's Eve as my next gig - the pace of a commercial kitchen is phenomenal - the idea that you need to get 20 plates ready to go a minute is wild. I did several sauces in between - easy work, and great fun
I guess the biggest thing I am learning is the difference between prep and line work. Prep is what good home cooks do well (I still have boxes of veg every time - lots more than I would ever do at home, but it helps my skills) - but my speed with veg is much better than it used to be - and the cuts are more even. Line work is a different story - presentation needs to be considered, and those that do this kind of stuff every day (spooning of sauce is a technique I am learning to love - thanks Stoop and Herb - the pros are teaching me little things that help me - I guess I am now becoming a part of Rick's kitchen and not an outsider. I love this stuff.

Kalaeb
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by Kalaeb » Sun Dec 30, 2018 8:40 pm

Glad you are starting to hit your stride. What is your day job, if you dont mind me asking?

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lsboogy
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by lsboogy » Sun Dec 30, 2018 9:46 pm

Kalaeb wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 8:40 pm
Glad you are starting to hit your stride. What is your day job, if you dont mind me asking?
I'm a physicist - work in aerospace building MEMS devices (silicon sculptor is easy description). I live in a foodie household - my SO is one of the Yelp elites so we eat out often, and I don't like to eat at a place that can't out cook me. I've always had an itch to do homeless stuff (work a lot with shelters and such) and I figure I will run a shelter kitchen when I retire. I do meals for several hundred at one kitchen (lots of help) and meals for 40 at another once or twice a month (the smaller ones I buy, prep, serve and clean up with Jen as my only help). I grew up next to the people who own Lunds (High end grocer in the area) and the son spiffs me food for the big meals - the two facilities have kitchens but the big one does not have a chef so they only do food on Saturdays - I'm thinking of becoming the 40 person chef full time when I retire - I'll be able to do it if things keep going well. I'm taking advantage of free schooling right now. Chefs work their butts off, and I only hope I will be able to do a small part of what Rick does.

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lsboogy
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by lsboogy » Tue Jan 01, 2019 7:09 pm

I had a great day yesterday - arrived home after making both lunch and dinner for several groups shot but ready for some nice lobster and wine (thanks Jen) - got to run a stove alone for the first time doing garlic chicken thighs yesterday - I'm moving up at the catering biz I'm learning at. It's in an old mansion and we had two groups there for lunch (35 and 28) so we had a lot of plating and my saucing technique is getting much better and quicker.
I think my choice of the Matsubara was right for cauliflower - I had a great time just cruising through the pile of boxes first thing. I switched back to Ultimatum for onions and broccoli, and then used a honesuki on a pile of chickens. Maybe why I should consider expanding what I bring to work. Still don't use a paring knife much, wondering if others use them at all?
Don't have anything next weekend - slow time for catering so Rick gave everyone the week off (even me) but he's gonna help me next Sunday doing homeless for 40. Little girl that loves ratatouille is there still, and Rick makes a mean ratatouille.

OgerBash
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by OgerBash » Tue Jan 01, 2019 8:12 pm

I just use a 150mm petty. If I need to do work that requires a parring knife I just choke up on the petty.

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lsboogy
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by lsboogy » Sun Jan 06, 2019 1:46 pm

I brought a petty (150 Kikuichi) with me today - one of the better suggestions ever - thanks Ogerbash. Used it a fair amount cutting some radish greens up for sandwiches at the shelter. I'm getting much better in the kitchen - Rick gave me a kudo today for how much better I've become with prep work. We did ratatouille and garlic chicken (and some hot dogs) for 42 today - seems easy now.

I'm pretty much done with this thread. Big things I have learned are that line and prep are very different tasks, and if you have the chance to work in a pro kitchen as a home cook it will give you an opportunity to get you skills to a very different level. I'm taking knives with me for purpose now - my case had 6 today, and I used them all. I keep a much cleaner board, and have a much better sense of flow than I did a few months ago. Anyone who loves to cook should see if they can work on a line.

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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by Carlo » Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:55 pm

Thanks for sharing your journey. This thread is the best thing I’ve read in a while. It sounds like a great way to challenge yourself as well as indulge and yet give back. Gives me hope for mankind.

Also brings back my own kitchen experiences from more than 20 years ago (never got beyond prep work and totally feel you being hazed) and all the attitudes and characters.

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ashy2classy
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by ashy2classy » Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:26 pm

lsboogy wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 9:46 pm
Kalaeb wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 8:40 pm
Glad you are starting to hit your stride. What is your day job, if you dont mind me asking?
I'm a physicist - work in aerospace building MEMS devices (silicon sculptor is easy description). I live in a foodie household - my SO is one of the Yelp elites so we eat out often, and I don't like to eat at a place that can't out cook me. I've always had an itch to do homeless stuff (work a lot with shelters and such) and I figure I will run a shelter kitchen when I retire. I do meals for several hundred at one kitchen (lots of help) and meals for 40 at another once or twice a month (the smaller ones I buy, prep, serve and clean up with Jen as my only help). I grew up next to the people who own Lunds (High end grocer in the area) and the son spiffs me food for the big meals - the two facilities have kitchens but the big one does not have a chef so they only do food on Saturdays - I'm thinking of becoming the 40 person chef full time when I retire - I'll be able to do it if things keep going well. I'm taking advantage of free schooling right now. Chefs work their butts off, and I only hope I will be able to do a small part of what Rick does.
OT: This is super cool! Aerospace physicist and you work with the less fortunate. Would love to hear more about how your efforts are going. Good luck!

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lsboogy
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by lsboogy » Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:55 pm

No less fortunate stuff, all of us are far more fortunate than most- I wish I could chef like you guys. I went into physics because I did not have to study (math and physics were easy - most other stuff was work). It occurred to me later in life that I liked to cook as much as anything else - I am just lucky to know a few chefs, one very well (he rides bikes with me - even in the winter) and he kind of spurred me to come try life in a kitchen. I am learning to do things with food without paying for school, and get near private lessons to boot.

I don't like paying for food when I can do it better than the chef, and I'm learning to be a better cook at a high rate. I had entertained going to cooking school when I retired, but this opportunity popped up, and I am beginning to feel like I can carry some of my own weight in a kitchen. Eye opening - my moms insistence on learning to cook and learn scent and taste as prerequisites (those transfer well) and my learning presentation skills and becoming much better at prep work give me a base that I can work from. I have more admiration for a chef than ever before - and still feel quite humble working in a pro setting, I know I'm only a third or seventh best sous in the kitchen most days. I might well have chosen to become a cook/chef long ago, but I realize that it's still something I want to pursue as I get older. i find food as sensuous as anything - especially as I'm learning some presentation skills. Hard work, but very satisfying.

Btw - the reason I found this site was Rick, and he still uses a Richmond AS laser as his basic knife. I tried it a few years ago and thought it was a great knife. He told me about this. I now own 6 Richmond blades - my honesuki (Laser AS job) has done so many chickens it's part of my everywhere blades, and my Utlimatum (thinned by another site member) is my basic knife. Much better than going to Korin - performance is key here.

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lsboogy
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by lsboogy » Sat Jan 19, 2019 3:46 pm

I guess I have a saga starting here. We stopped in at the place we cook for once a month or so and asked the kids what they wanted today. One young lady (13) asked if she could help us cook today, and the church said it was okay. Brought in my line knife for her, and she learned the "claw" and got to cut up lots of broccoli and cauliflower, and then helped poke holes in the chicken thighs and stuffed garlic in them. She helped do all the prep,and we used the oven for the chicken and a steamer for the veg.

After eating, she was helping clean up, and she asked me how to become a chef - I told her I would find out more. Her mom says she does very well in school, and loves to cook. Plus she has good hand skills and was push cutting well within minutes - I told her about holding the knife straight and she did it. One of my better days - only served 39, but that kid made my day.

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lsboogy
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by lsboogy » Sat Feb 02, 2019 7:00 pm

Today I brought quite a kit with me - 2 270's, 2 240's (my "new" Carter Hopkins saw lots of duty today), a deba, my line knife and an old Sabatier paring knife. Learned how to prep Mahi Mahi (big dinner tonight was for a saltwater fishing group - served mahi mahi and swordfish steaks). Did my regular box of onions with the Carter - then switched to doing herbs with a 270 Kikuichi. Learned to filet the mani mahi from Rick - skinned the fish and removed fins just like a salmon. The skin is a lot tougher than salmon, and we used salt water to rinse the fish - Rick says you lose the pink color if you use tap water, and having a deba was definitely the thing for these fish - the bones are a lot tougher than a salmon's. I did skin two filets with my big Kikuichi - the fish were 25-30 pound things.
My learning of the day was around saltwater fish - first time doing mahi mahi and first use of a deba in a time sensitive environment. Glad I brought it with me

I also found out that a couple high schools in my are have some prep classes for want to be chefs - fed that info to the shelter hoping the girl can find a spot in one of them.

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lsboogy
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by lsboogy » Sat Feb 16, 2019 6:39 pm

I got to cook wild rice for pilaf today! I finally used my Kono HD2 240 in a production setting on onions, carrots, cauliflower and some chicken breasts - I know why real chefs love the things. One of the best all around blades ever devised. Did a box of onions, box of carrots (thin diagonal slices for presentation) and a couple boxes of cauliflower - even though I am not familiar with the profile, I felt like I was flying through stuff and it made me realize why so many like these things. Used just the one knife for all my prep work, brought a few but only used the one. My little line knife still does a great job with the line work. But the Kono is starting to grow on me for prep In a volume environment - and after a few thousand onions I am starting to get good at them with most of my knives. Real chefs have a skill set that us mortals don't understand until we get stuck like me. I'm going to do my dream and work in a shelter when I retire - this is the best training I could think of.

I am about as beat as can be - gonna take the SO out for some Italian food in a bit - she puts up with me for some reason - maybe I'll do some salmon Benedicts for breakfast. Wake up early, sneak downstairs, make coffee, get hash browns started, and do the hollandaise, get the egg water boiling and take her some coffee in bed. She smiles when I do that - her eyes glitter and I know.

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lsboogy
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by lsboogy » Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:50 pm

I'm having a blast today - showed up at 10:00 for a long prep session - I had 3 boxes of onions, 3 broccoli, 2 each carrots and red peppers, and a mess of ribeyes to slice and trim. It's cold here today the high temp might get to 0F - Rick is short handed for two dinners - on a short break now. My CHII and Ultimatum are keeping up well on prep work, understanding more than I would have about getting things ready. The line will be busy in a couple hours - have a catered gig downtown for 240, and a meal here for 71 - van needs to leave at 4:45 and then I will be the only sous plating for dinner here. My skills will be tested later today - I'm finally running a gig on my own. Ribeyes, salmon, and a few veg entrees - help me through this. Rick is heading downtown and leaving me to keep his rep tonight. Honored and downright scared at this point - hope everyone else did their best today - I have been given the whole thing for tonight - six servers, a kid with a couple years, and me (I'm responsible for the whole thing) are going to do this. Rick will be in the kitchen and tasting till he leaves - then I'm on. Not just a learning line cook any more - anyone wanting to chef for a living needs to try this - I'm sure I will return home about 22:00 as tired as I can be, but I am learning what it takes to do food for more than a table full. Used to think 20 was a big meal - a real chef thinks that's a warmup.
On the good side is my onion skills are getting really good - after halving and peeling, it takes me less than 20 seconds an onion, and the bits are getting very even. I guess my onion skills are improving - I know why all the videos have onions in them. My garlic skills are improving, but Eric still does the garlic - I wish I had his skills

Cutuu
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by Cutuu » Sun Mar 03, 2019 2:21 pm

@iso when did you get promoted to sous chef? Congrats man, I've been somewhat following your journey.

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lsboogy
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by lsboogy » Sun Mar 03, 2019 8:03 pm

Cutuu wrote:
Sun Mar 03, 2019 2:21 pm
@iso when did you get promoted to sous chef? Congrats man, I've been somewhat following your journey.
I was "sous for a day". I doubt I will get that title for a good while, but Rick usually has several sous on a day like today. We have flu going around here, and only two real sous showed up and they were neede for the big service. Eric and ran the smaller (turned out it was 73) meal, I did several sauces and got to plate - Eric showed me a trick to plate 3 at a time - I'm heading home for a nice soak. This is HARD work, but I love it. Plating is coming to me - I'm learning to use spoons and my plating tweezers watching the others for techniques - and my bottle skills with sauces are improving.

I'm quite pleased with my CHII blade for prep - 52100 steel takes a very Ken edge and mine still holds on to my thumbnail after all the work it did today. I learned how to quickly do red peppers today - Eric showed me the difference between roll cuttin and just taking the meat of the frame - roll cuts for the females (4 lobes) and frame cuts for the males (less seeds and only three lobes). It probably took 15% less time to do all the peppers that way.

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lsboogy
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Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by lsboogy » Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:07 am

On break - early start as Rick has borrowed a truck and he is going to have Irish food for St Patty’s day. Since my duties were known yesterday (I’m just doing prep - get to go home about 10:00) I brought just my Ultimatum 240 (thinned by Chris) for cabbage and carrots. I’ll be slicing briskets about 9:30, but I’m done already with 5 boxes of cabbage and 3 of carrots (2” pieces) - stropped in between ingredients, but that knife just crushed through my prep duties. Briskets are all braising, all veg is ready and done early, Colcanon is on stove - in short, a crew of 7 just rocked through everything - lots of high 5’s going on right now. I feel like I’m gradually becoming part of the team. I’m finding my knife skills are improving - I asked to do potatoes next Friday (taking afternoon off to help Rick do a dinner) - I’ll be peeling them to start. Will be my first time doing potatoes on a large scale (he’s got two fish dinners - both with boiled potatoes - serving 115 and 44) - Eric is going to show me how to make them look good - I’m going to learn on the fly

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