In my second career I’m learning a whole whack of new skills and I’m also getting a really good insight into how a REAL restaurant kitchen is operated. I kind of had an idea from all The Food Network shows I’ve watched over the years but nothing prepared me for the hustle and bustle of what really goes on behind the scenes.
Usually what one see’s in a restaurant is the host or hostess, the servers and the cooks if you happen to be in a place that has an open concept kitchen so you usually don’t think beyond that to the dishwashers or the prep guys. At least I didn’t until I started to work behind the scenes and boy am I glad I spent so much time in my kitchen here at home and have the kitchen gadgets that I do. Prep work is fast and furious and you need to know what you are doing.
Which brings me to the point of this particular post…. Safety in the kitchen.
One of the leading causes of injuries in a kitchen, whether it be a home kitchen or a restaurant kitchen is poor knife skills and although they do say that practice makes perfect, practicing poor knife skills will inevitably lead to perfect poor knife skills and more and more cuts. One of the people I work with is constantly cutting themselves due to poor knife skills and the sad part is that they don’t seem to retain the information on how to correct the problem. They seem to be destined to lose a digit at some point….. I just hope it’s not on my shift.
If you look at my hands, ESPECIALLY THE LEFT ONE, you will see how the fingers are curled back towards my thumb and if you look close enough you will see that the knuckles on my left hand are acting like a guide for the knife blade. Holding your product (whatever it is you are chopping) in this manner ensures that you WILL NOT cut yourself and with practice you can actually be looking at someone while chopping and still not cut yourself. This is called “cat hand” because it, well, resembles a cats hand when the claws are out.
The other thing you need to be comfortable with is the knife you are using. It doesn’t matter if it is a Paring knife, Boning knife or Chef’s knife if you are not comfortable with it or just plain scared of it you will cut yourself. You need to, literally, shake hands with your knife in a firm but relaxed manner and in doing this you will be in control of the blade at all times and if you practice the proper techniques your knife skills will become very good in no time at all.
So the thing to remember when you are creating “simple but tasty recipes for the grilling season and beyond” is to always practice kitchen safety.
Until next time………