General Question

mowens's avatar

How do i become a 5 star chef?

Asked by mowens (8353points) April 13th, 2010

I want to be a fantastic chef. I want to go to school for it. However, i don’t want a new career. I have a career, and I love it. I want to do this for me. I suck at cooking, and it always ends in failure. I need help. I look up schools for it, and it is all… 8 to 5 stuff. I work 8 to 5. No one offers classes outside those hours in my city it seems. How do I get someone to teach me?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

12 Answers

gemiwing's avatar

Do some basic reading first. Read basic cookbooks, chemistry and familiarize yourself with the taste of many different foods.

For learning check out your local college/university for weekend/night non-credit courses on cooking. Also, look for local seminars/cooking workshops through specialty food stores and farmers markets.

Practice, practice practice. Take notes, set up a dry erase board and give yourself some leeway. First learn the basics. How to fry an egg properly for example.

Be practical. In order to be a five star chef, technically, you will need to meet work requirements such as a coded kitchen and you will most likely need to be in the business (Executive Chef, personal Chef etc).

DarkScribe's avatar

Get four stars and then add one more. (Since all these reality TV cooking shows have started it seems as though every kid wants to be a Chef.)

Do you realise just confused and convoluted your question is? It makes little sense. You want to be a five star chef – that is a career. But you don’t want to change careers. You suck at cooking? People who have a talent in an area don’t suck in that area – even if they can stand a lot of improvement. I don’t think that you are being realistic.

Dog's avatar

@DarkScribe The user wants to learn how to be a chef for themselves not a career. They are seeking classes or an education that fits with their current work demands. I think it is admirable to take your weakness and turn it into a strength and find it even more awesome to just do it for yourself.

DarkScribe's avatar

@Dog The user wants to learn how to be a chef for themselves not a career.

A Chef is NOT just a better cook. Being a chef demands a career decision. A Chef is a professional cook.

Ame_Evil's avatar

as @DarkScribe said there is no point being a “5 star chef” unless if you switch careers. If you just want to improve your own cooking for yourself, family and friends, do what @gemiwing said. Make sure to not restrict the food you cook to certain areas. And just keep trying new things: mostly things that you would like to eat. Also make note of things that you have made as well as modifications you may have found helped.

Personally I use the internet to find a lot of the recipes I use. Some examples of key sites I use are:

taste.com.au
bbcgoodfood.com
allrecipes.co.uk (or .com)
nigella.com

As well as just googling the name for any random recipe that I have seen on tv and finding ones with good reviews.

janbb's avatar

I don’t know where you live but in the U.S., there are many cooking schools that – err, cater to working novices. Community colleges, kitchen stores, and even professional cooking schools run classes for amateurs. In NYC, the French Culinary Institute runs Saturday classes for amateurs, places like Macy’s have cooking demos and chains like Sur La Table have classes. I would definitely try your local community college’s non-credit division as a first resource.

Ame_Evil's avatar

Also I am going to make a separate post to show you how I got to nowhere to being a semi competant cook (for myself that is).

1. I started before university just learning how to use basic kitchen tools to make simple stuff. I had some help with my mum when baking cakes or using the hob for the first time. I would make simple things such as Eggy in the Basket and just learn to make simple meals that didn’t actually involve cooking (ie just sticking a pie in the oven and veg on the hob).

2. I would then further experiment with recipes that required more effort. One of the earlier dishes I made was Chilli con Carne. I did this with friends to make it enjoyable and also to reduce the load on myself for the first few times but then after 5 or so times could independently make it myself with the recipe and after 12+ times can make it from memory.

3. Just like learning a language, you build up a repertoire of recipes that you know you can make. Sometimes things don’t go your way in a recipe – and you can use your intuition to know what went wrong. You can then revise the recipe if you make it again and avoid that trap. A notepad/word document would help with this. Personally I have started to make a webpage with links to recipes that I can make to help jog my memory as well as edit steps that I find make the recipe simpler than the original.

4. I kept trying new things from different areas. Such as Chinese, Mexican, Indian, Spanish, Italian etc etc. I think the main motivation for me to learn to cook was because it was always cheaper than buying it ready-made, and always tasted nicer. Also I enjoyed cooking and it allowed me to expand my tastes. Also I have always been fussy with food. When I was younger I had a very narrow range of stuff that I would eat. Now its wider, but there are still some limitations (ie I prefer to cook for myself than let someone else cook for me unless its at a competant restaurant or my mum/nan).

5. Online videos are always helpful so you can see new techniques being done that you are unfamiliar with. For example chopping an onion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwGBt3V0yvc or pizza dough: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2C6v9mGuR0.

Just remember you don’t have to rush things and things will always build up over time. If you try a few new recipes every week (say 2–3) – thats over a hundred a year. Professional chefs have years worth of experience to get where they are and most start off with a pretty early head start. So you need to just start simple and build it up as mentioned.

Good luck.

earthduzt's avatar

A chef is different than a cook, a chef is more of an artists that creates dishes and new tastes a cook just recreates what a chef deveolped

jazmina88's avatar

watch food network….it has taught me a ton.

mowens's avatar

Thanks everyone!

Blondesjon's avatar

By cooking really well.

Buttonstc's avatar

There are two particular guys who teach about cooking and food in a very accessible way. Even the rawest newcomer can learn from them.

Both have numerous books published as well as TV Shows. Either can get you started with valuable information.

The first would be Alton Brown. His show airs regularly on Food Network and there are some of his vids on YouTube.

He explains things very well also from a scientific point of view. Plus, he has a quirky sense of humor and really ingenious props to get his point across.

His show is called Good Eats and re-runs air every weeknight on FN. Start recording them. You’ll definitely enjoy them as well as really learning a lot.

The other guy is Jaimie Oliver. He is a Brit but his show The Naked Chef used to air regularly.

The title sounds a lot more gimmicky than it really is. The reference is to the fact that his food is absent of tons of fancy ingredients or techniques (ie: naked).

His cookbooks have received very favorable reviews and endorsements from food writers and other chefs as having very simple but delicious recipes without requiring a lot of intricate techniques. Anybody could pick up one of his books and create a delicious dish with confidence.

Both of these guys are good for starters. Once you’ve had enough experience and confidence under your belt from creating good food yourself, you can go on to those with more sophisticated techniques like Jacques Pepin and Julia Child.

You’d be amazed at how much you can learn from videos and the right cookbooks ( Alton’s and Jaimie’s) and a bit of practice.

Food Network used to have many more instructional programs, but unfortunately they decided that all types of ridiculous competition type shows get better ratings. You really can’t learn much from them since there is very little explanation ever given.

Most of their decent shows are on Saturday morning. A couple of good ones to record would be Tyler’s Ultimate and Secrets of a Restaurant Chef. Both feature a lot of step by step instruction by a knowledgeable chef.

Combine these with a daily dose of Alton Brown and you’ll be cooking like a pro in no time. The other neat thing is that you can go to the website for the written version of the recipe so you can just concentrate on watching the technique rather than trying to scribble down the ingredients.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther