From our general introduction to the Gentleman in the Kitchen Part 1 – We are moving on to some of the details you will need to prepare.
So how do you get started on this journey into Cooking? You might have seen ‘Masterchef’, ‘The Great British Bake Off’ or some other cooking challenge programme and thought to yourself, ‘ Wow, perhaps I could do that!’ Well, Gentlemen, you can.
We hope that we shall be a guide for you through the world of cooking and turn you from Commis Chef to Chef de Cuisine.
Start Watching Cooking Programmes, Reading Recipes
You will need to familiarise yourself with the world of cooking, so start by watching some cooking programmes and starting to read recipes (either in books or in magazines/newspapers). We are not expecting you to be able to make all the dishes, though if you want to give it a go please feel free!
What you are doing is understanding what they are doing and how they do it, the terms that they use and the actions they take.
You will find who is your favourite cooks/chefs and their styles and types of food. We all have our favourites. We would also recommend watching some of the older programmes with some of the classic TV Chefs, they were simpler days and some of them such as Keith Floyd brought TV cooking to a whole new level.
Get Yourself at least One good Knife
One of the key things that every Chef/Cook needs is a good knife. It is best to start with one knife as a good one can set you back a considerable amount of money. You will eventually want a full set but you can build from 1 to 3 and then to 6 and then get more and more specialised blades.
What you want to start with is a called a Chef’s Knife, you want one with a 7-9 inch blade (which is measured from tip to handle). There is no thing as the Best Knife, it is all up to individual taste and how it feels in your hand. Do go and try some out before purchasing, see how they feel in your hand. They can start about £50.
Pots & Pans
You have something to chop and slice with but you will need something to cook in too! Buy a key couple of pots to cook with a good non-stick frying pan, a wok, sauce pan and a pot large enough to cook pasta or rice in, called a Stock Pot.
As with the knives, it is best to find something that works with you and within your budget.
Always use the Best Ingredients you can Afford
When you start to cook then always buy the best ingredients you can afford. I say this because they will taste better and therefore the whole experience will be better. If you can purchase from Farmer’s Markets or local suppliers such as Butchers, that is excellent. If you can’t then go to the supermarket and take a good look at the food and check it, smell it and get a feel of it. Cooking is a full sense experience, so use them in the preparation and in the cooking and the eating!
Think “Playfulness and Patience”
Learning to cook, as indeed with anything is all about patience first and foremost. You might not get it right the first time nor the 5th, it might require some effort but you will get there. It is frequently said that one of the great skills of cooking is timing and that means patience goes hand in hand with it.
As for playfullness, cooking is also an art form, therefore you need the ability to view the process as fun and be able to look at things in a creative manner. It will make the whole experience much more fulfilling and rewarding.
Gentleman, get cooking!
Part 3 – We will start with the basic skills and something to try out.