Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Kitchen Confidential Part 3

In this section of the book, we learn a lot more about the life of a chef or cook.  Comment on the questions from the following chapters in this section.

A Day in the Life:  After reading about the pace and activities involved in Chef Bourdain's day, do you think you have what it takes to live the life of a chef?  What appeals to you?  What made you say "NO WAY?"

Sous Chef:  Discuss the importance of an excellent sous chef.  What services does he provide that a chef absolutely needs?  What are some of the character qualities that make a good sous chef?  Why do you think Chef Bourdain is so enamored of Steven as a sous chef, in particular?

The Level of Discourse:  What similarities do you notice between cook-talk and how you might talk with your friends (keep it clean, friends)?  Why do you think that slang developed in a profession that lives and dies by fast, understandable communication?


  1. 1. I can honestly say that there is not much that chef Bourdain said about his work that i didn't already know. I've worked with a few different chefs and cooks in my work and i know first hand that it takes a lot of time and dedication to do the job. if you asked me is i would ever be a chef i would say no since sleep is something i tend to like and i already don't get much of it.
    2.I learned that a sous chef is, in chef Bourdain's words, "closer than your wife". i can see why this has to be true since this is the guy you will have to spend every waking hour with, he has to know what you're thinking without you having to say it. I think Steven is a perfect example of this for Chef and if he didn't have his own kitchen they would probably be working together still.
    3. I think that cook talk developed because, as most people know, when immigrants learn a new language the words they learn the fastest tend to be the naughty ones. As such the cooking community has developed it's own "language" which is a mix of different languages including the curse words of all included. I think that when you're close enough with friends this exact same thing can happen. Friends often share like minds in terms of humor an because of this they develop inside jokes and sayings that the circle will understand.

  2. 1. To be honest I knew a lot of things that was discussed and pointed out in the book. I am a waiter at a well known restaurant, and I tend to see many things that go on at a daily basis. I feel that I do not have what it takes to be a chef. For instance, there is so much stress and perfection their needs to be in order to reach that top of the line food. I am not so patient and passionate for the love of creating food, so I believe I'm not capable of becoming a chef.
    2. A sous chef provides as much leadership needed because they are the second in command. They are the ones who help the head chef by commanding and making sure everything goes well. The sous chef will eventually be really close to the head chef because they have to spend time together like crazy. Steven was a great sous chef, he helped Bourdain in everything and they spent so much time until Steven left after having his own kitchen. A sous chef teaches the values of becoming the sous chef.
    3. Cook talk and talking with my friends have some similarities. Its they way to talk to one another during a day at work or other locations. Cook talk was created in the kitchen basically learned by mixing languages together and saying them to the next. After that keeps going it passes on to future employees. My friends often do the same, while we are at the park there is always one person speaking english then spanish and then gibberish. We often laugh at him but hey its life. This is created by one listening from another person and often learning it and mimicking it.

  3. 1. After reading, while all the points he stated were presented earlier in the book what I found applicable to me was his ability to process this in his brain, in a short period of time, while his other senses are doing other tasks. While my brain can function like this in order to organize myself (for the most part) personally, I not sure i'm capable of doing this to tend to a large group of people, let alone wrapping my life around their next move.
    2. A sous-chef doesn't just make sure the kitchen runs pristine, he/she is an extension of the chefs mind, one that knows every nook and crannie of the kitchen and its inhabitants. Steven was the cerebro to Bourdain's Professor X. There was nothing that the chef didn't know about his kitchen or his staff and that was thanks to his "evil twin".
    3. It is very difficult to find differences between the language of the cooks and the language of my peers. The primary difference is that our ability of sarcasm and the essence of taking sweet compliments and giving them the darkest meaning is unparalleled (with the exception of our honesty).
    P.S. We often make jokes about how our teacher has adopted us within the kitchen and there are certain people that were better choices than others, but after reading page 222...It's hard for funny arguments to be made.

  4. 1. Being a chef seems like too much stress for me. I think I have the right attitude for it, but I'm not sure that over an extended period of time I would be able to handle all the tasks required. The cooking itself appealed to me, but the prep and management and the stress about where the tomatoes were would wear me down.

    2. A good sous-chef is the kitchen's right hand man. He communicates so well with the chef that they have an almost telepathic connection. He knows what the chef needs and is able to get it done in an efficient manner. Chef Bourdain is especially impressed with Steven because of their history together and his criminal instinct and reliability.

    3. Slang is a funny thing. It's just making up shorter words to describe language that's typically restricted to a particular context or group of people. In a kitchen, the people get so close that they get their own slang, which becomes shorter and easier to understand than the longer form of the words, and more understandable to them. They then are able to communicate more easily and become more productive.

  5. After reading about the pace and activities involved in Chef Bourdain's day, I know already that I wouldn't be able to handle it or at least do it well. So no I don't have what it takes to be a chef. The only parts that appeal to me are having a crew to work under me and getting paid a lot.

    A sous chef is basically second in command. This means that he or she needs to be a good leader for things to work well in the kitchen. The sous chef, by doing his or her job well would easily be very close to the head chef. Chef Bourdain loved working with his sous chef Steven because along with doing things that usual sous chefs do, he got things done. He did what he said he would do like he learned from Bigfoot which was something he liked.

    The similarities I notice between the cook-talk and how I speak with my friends begins of course with the profanity and multiple uses for the most profane words and phrases. In conversation with friends, things will be said between myself and a
    good friend will be taken offensively. But we know it wouldn't mean much. This is what Chef Bourdain said about conversation between cooks. This type of conversation developed in the kitchen because they needed a quick way to communicate without sacrificing the efficiency of the work.

  6. 1. I honestly believe that I would not be a great chef. Why? Because in my mind I could not handle the attitude of those who work around me. The cut throat world of culinary arts will not suit me at all.
    2. I believe that the sous- chef is the equivalent to your right hand. The sous chef is important because he and the chef make the flavor of the food, if they can't understand one another and know what each other are thinking before they cook, they cannot be an effective team and their food will fail.
    3. How do I say this. When I am with my friends certain things go out the door, for example language, morals, and manners. When I am with my "boys" I simply speak and the thought of speaking properly is non-existent. As a group we develop our own language and way of thinking, this correlates with this book because in the cooking world chef has his own language with friends that they understand.