What cooking is.

Cooking is/Cooking is not:
  • cooking is passion, cooking is not a job - @thedanbrown
  • Cooking is a craft. Cooking is not about shortcuts. - @savorykitchen
  • cooking is humbling and cooking is not for the weak. - @coreynead (Corey)
  • Cooking is gritty. Cooking is not glamorous. - @chefmatthew1
  • cooking is everything. Cooking is not for everyone. - @randomplacement
  • Cooking Is Lamp, Cooking Is Not Batman. What did I win? - @hotfoodporn (Eddie Lau)
  • Cooking is meditation, not cooking is aggrevation. - @m_twang
  • Cooking is washing the dishes. Not cooking is ordering out and an empty dishwasher. - @leonardstinks (Leonard Shek)
  • cooking is good when there is heart and soul, cooking is bad when it's forced - @chicharrones (Ryan Farr)
  • fun, fun - @cnewton9
  • cooking is Risky Business, cooking is not Top Gun - @CNrecords
  • I hope someone says, 'Cooking is all about me. Cooking is not all about me.' I wish all cooks knew this balance. FOHers too. - @ckell79 (Chris Kelling)
  • cooking is amazing. Cooking is not a sport. - @RFaucette
And here is my thesis: Cooking is a career. Cooking is not a lifestyle choice. Got a minute? Great. Let's chat.

Cooking is not about acting out your own personal version of Kitchen Confidential. It's not an excuse to drink to excess. It's not a license to behave badly. Cooking should be an all emcompassing means to an end; a chance to express yourself, further yourself, and learn every day. You should cook because you have to. It should well up inside you until you're twitching and shaking, and when you're sitting there at the end of the night, it should feel like someone sucked gallons of venom out of you. Cooking should fill you with pride, and terror, and a longing for something new every day. You know the feeling you get when you meet someone new? That overwhelming excitement/nervousness/lust? Yeah, you should feel that all the time.

Cooking is not about winning, although in certain cases it can be all about losing. Cooking is not a fistfight, or a staring contest. Cooking is not about looking cool--because the truth is, almost no one looks cool in an apron. Cooking is about sacrifice, and dedication, and telling hundreds of complete strangers that you love them, every night. And cooking is knowing that almost none of them will say it back.

Cooking is where you should find peace. Cooking is not about releasing your agression. Cooking requires focus in the midst of chaos. You should crave the noise, and the heat, and mess of emotions you see. Cooking is not about you, even when it is. You should never take any credit, for anything. This does not mean you should act like a martyr; everyone has worked with the martyr cook, and he/she is always a complete asshole.

There is no phd for cooks. There is no masters program. It's one of the last places where who you know means almost nothing--you get in what you put in. Cooking is a place to prove yourself. Cooking is a place to connect with people you would otherwise never know. You should hate cooking sometimes. Jolts of frustration and anger and sadness should crawl right into your bones. And they should stay there--a constant reminder that this is not a game.

Cooking is whatever you want it to be. If it's about money, fine, it's about money. If it's about your ego, that's fine too. But ask yourself this: What are you to cooking?

  • being called a wannabe Bourdain was all at once confusing and hilarious
  • a sous vide rabbit failure will break your damn heart
  • Jesse wrote this about our exploding beer on last weeks podcast. either way, the beer was great
  • i wrote this, and it features Merrell and Eddie
  • someone please tell me how to fix the broken zippers on 4 of my hoodies
  • fuck, marry, kill chef edition: alice waters, thomas keller, ferran adria. go
  • 7.1 surround sound might be excessive. im doing it anyways

quotes and conversations:

Me: Gerardo, it's not a cookie, it's fruited cake.
Gerardo: O.K.
Me: It's not a cookie...
Gerardo: I never said it was a cookie, I asked if you wanted a Fig Newton.
Justin: It's their slogan, dog.

"You add cheese and tortillas to anything, and people like it."

Me: Was that the sound of a dolphin?
Corey: Yeah. That's the sound I make when I make relations.

Me: You're used to that, aren't you?
Merrell: What, getting sprayed in the face?
Me: Yeah.
Merrell: Yeah, just not usually with oil.

Al: There are no more chocolates. They're extinguished.
Me: Extinct.
Al: Yeah.

Me: You sounded like a gay tenor just now.
Gerardo: Is that good?
Goose: You could make some money that way.
Gerardo: I could make some money a lot of ways.
Goose: That's the spirit.

"If I have a burrito right before I take a nap, best dreams ever."

from top: dirty girl strawberry, gibraltars, speez, ultravac, rabbit failure, cucumbers, lamb, fresh garbanzos, halibut, dinner, torta thursday/boys night


Not The Rockefellers said...

"This does not mean you should act like a martyr; everyone has worked with the martyr cook, and he/she is always a complete asshole".

Embroidering on pillow, right now.

Peace - Rene

Jeffrey said...

Cooking is a craft. Cooking is not about shortcuts.


i love that you can't bullshit your way through cooking. there's no way to fake your way through cooking a rack of lamb or dressing a salad - you either do it right or you fuck it up.

i hate the way little fuckups ruin your entire night just because you care. in the heat of things, you flash a steak that's half a temp off or put up a plate that's just a little overseasoned. the customer doesn't send it back, maybe doesn't even notice, but you know it's wrong. you let it go to get through the night, but later that night at the bar, you're still angry for selling that one imperfect plate.

Michael Walsh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Humble Chef said...

Brilliant. I really enjoyed this post and it comes at a great time for me keep up the good work.

Nickname unavailable said...

Hey man I sent you the really long email about culinary school and all that jazz, I looked you up on twitter and have been reading this all night. hope you dont think I am a stalker...

as far as the 7.1 from a former theater tech I can tell you sound is very important I would go for it.

as for the zippers on your hoodies, chapstick. I have a chapstick that I have never used for my lips but everytime I get a new hoodie of after I wash one I chapstick up the zipper and then run the zipper a few times, haven't had a stuck zipper since I started this, just make sure to hit both sides.

Lisa said...

Cooking is teaching your four-year-old twins the value of freshly prepared meals--and letting them participate in their making;

Cooking is pretending the backsplash is your audience and you are bestowing upon them the wisdom learned from your mistakes;

Cooking is not being afraid of the cut of meat or mysterious root vegetable or spiky fruit;

Cooking is applying to culinary school, being accepted, and being honest with yourself that you don't have the balls to go through with it;

Cooking is a joy.

And fresh garbanzo beans! Wow!

Los Gatos Girl said...

What's wrong with the zippers? If they're sticky, then use something with wax (like the chapstick suggestion).

If they're off kilter, have someone hold the top and the bottom with the areas lined up & together and force it down so it gets locked into place. There could be a bent tooth causing the problem. Again, some wax will help.

If they're just AFU, then bring them into a laundry or seamstress & have them replace the zipper altogether. It's not that expensive.

On The Fashion Show, one of the timed events was fixing a zipper, and it stumped all of them. I proudly told my cat that I fixed a zipper in 2 minutes right before a wedding. Pulled off the bottom stop, pulled off the zip-pull, realigned, reput it on, zipped it up & sewed a stop into place. Piece of cake if you know what you're doing.

Ron and Lou Ann said...

bar soap works on zippers too, just rub all sides of the zipper. I hadn't thought of chapstick... that's a great idea...


ontheline89 said...

cooking is reading larousse gastronomique before you read kitchen confidential.

MsMarmitelover said...

like...cooking is all about me. Cooking is not all about me.
That sums it up I think.
It is at once selfish and hospitable, greedy yet generous, controlling and yet hard to control, like nature.

don't touch my knife said...

i really like what on the line 89 posted, about Lorousse Gastonomique, that pretty much sums it fore me. the willingness to buck up and earn your bones, To enjoy the suffering and the pain and the stress because you know it will make you a better cook. Its the fucking Hair of the Dog man.
"cooking is where you should find peace"
Yes, just...yes.
Fuck, marry, kill--
Alex Gaurnaschelli of Butter, (dont judge me), april Bloomfield-spotted pig OR Marco pierre-White, kill: fucking Guy Fieti, i dont know if he's a chef or not but i once watched him on Diners and drive-ins describe a guy's pre-fab hot dog with cheese product and chopped raw onions as having"great flavor"....I would kill him with Meat fork.

Just Jules said...

I don't know how much your hoodies are worth to you - but if you dont mind putting a little money into them the dry cleaner can fix the zippers. Or a seamstress. Let your fingers do the walking to find the number...do people do that anymore or is it all google?

Molly Fuller said...

to cook is parallel to playing the piano. each note each ingredient has it's place. to tap a key is to blanch a vegetable. Bring all the elements together and you get a compelling movement or a perfectly executed dish.
a professional cook is like being a concert pianist. intense and almost violent energy- passion. but to succeed both needs to be precise. movements need to be agile and nimble. the mind needs to be calm and fluid. And most importantly touch needs to be with both power and softness. a cook having a bad hungover night is like a kid banging on the keys after having a pack of oreos and a coke. I know all of this after cooking for 10 years in assorted kitchens. after all this time I'm getting close to understating whats it all about.. I think .. ya right! hey great blog!