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“We Aren’t Learning Math Here”…

So what is French Classic Cuisine all about? Well for starters “we aren’t learning math here.” Ok I’ll explain, this is just one of the many funny quotes that have come out of my Chef’s mouth. The funniest part of all of this is that even though they are wildly funny and even a little bit crazy at times it drives the point he is trying to make home. What it really comes down to is that unlike math where 2+2=4 is always going to be the same no matter who does that equation, (unless you are teaching children and then it may equal chair). The point is that even though we are learning the facts of how to cook it doesn’t necessarily mean that we have the same skill or technical understanding of these facts.

Think about it this way, you take any one recipe, could be for anything really but lets just say it’s risotto. Now take two people, one of which has made risotto once before, and the other who has made risotto for chair, I mean 4 years. They both follow the recipe exactly, but the one who has been making risotto for 4 years knows, I mean really knows how to make it, while the other person really probably doesn’t. I know that I didn’t KNOW how to make risotto after only one time of making it, but notice how I didn’t say this persons risotto would be bad, it just probably wouldn’t be as good as the person who has been making risotto for 4 years.

That is what our Chef has been trying to teach us, that even though we may have made something one way or tried it this, and that way, skill and experience mean a lot in this industry and the more we try things the more we learn. Even if you think you have mastered every way you can think of to make risotto, if someone else comes along and offers a new way to make it that you personally haven’t thought of then you have to try it. If you don’t you can’t learn from this. Even if the way you make it is still better than this new idea, if you don’t at least try it then you are a moron.

Our Chef has been trying to open our minds to thinking about the different ways that food works and more so then this why it works the way it does. We will have hour-long conversations about so many different ways and ideas behind food and it really comes down to the fact that we are not learning math and that 2+2 will not always = 4, sometimes just sometimes it equals chair. The key to being a great chef is know how and why 2+2=chair instead of 4.

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One Comment on ““We Aren’t Learning Math Here”…”

  1. Tori July 8, 2011 at 10:11 pm #

    I just want to say that I really love this post. 🙂 It solidifies what I feel is the main point many of the teachers are trying to convey at NECI. Try new ways, keep an open mind, and (basically) don’t be cocky because someone else could think of a better way to do things. Our industry is an ever-changing one, we all need to be flexible. Chef Andre is an amazing teacher, and I’m glad you learned so much from him!

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