Defining Who You Are on a Plate of Food

August 2010 · Chef John Reed, CEC, CCA

This goes out to my fellow chefs, can you really define your style as a chef in a plate of food? I think you can but how do you go about it? In the last few days I have been going about the process of defining who I am through my style of cooking. This is a complex interaction of favorite techniques, ingredients and presentations. It is also influenced by spiritual and intellectual factors that vary from moment to moment, season to season and the WTF I just want to make it state of mind.

I have been asked many times to create my own personal “Le Guide Culinarie” and have thought about it in many ways and come up with many different formats to package it. My question to all of you is; Has anyone ever done this in a detailed manner? I am little hesitant that it can be done successfully but I am willing to try. This not another cook book writing process which puts recipes on a page with some pretty pictures for a book shelf. This is a detailed look at how you go about taking ingredients and intelligently putting them together in a great dish of food that make sense and is approachable. It may be short or a lifetime of experiences written in volumes of pages but who knows.

This may be boring but I want to understand how and why my cooking works. There are many times I go out and have food in restaurants, private homes, at events and from street vendors that taste great but most of the time I am disappointed. This is the same when I am behind the stove. For the most part I think my food is better than average but there are those times it doesn’t work. I ask my self why all the time what can I do better and shouldn’t have I thought of that first.  It may take a while for me to figure it out or someone has to point out the obvious, generally from a un-biased palate such as a child. In most cases emotion gets involved and personal preference rules but it also seen differently from both the cooks and diner’s perspective. Then I ask my self is there a way to make food spectacular that will for the vast majority of the time triumph over individual preference of the person eating or critiquing the dish.  I am also really asking myself how do you justify judging of food in a controlled environment such as a chef’s tasting for a job, culinary competition or certification testing. Is there a finite definition of a technique, presentation or application of product that people can universally agree upon?  Can the evaluation of cooking be objective or will it always be a subjective process?

Classical Cooking was and in some cases still dictated by the “Le Guide” but experts still discuss its words as literal or implied. Can there ever be something similar created by an individual chef which is a literal description of who they are in the food they put on a plate?

If you want to help or have any thoughts feel free to send me your comments.

John Reed
Chef John Reed, CEC, CCA
John Reed is a professional chef with over 30 years experience. John has extensive knowledge of culinary techniques, ethnic cuisines, food history and more!

Call us for a free consultation
(847) 287-3604

What’s stopping your operation?

Tell us what’s in your way. We’re happy to provide a free consultation—zero strings attached.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

©2019 Customized Culinary Solutions · Chicago, IL · (847) 287-3604 · Site by nuphoriq

Get my software spreadsheet

Find the right software with my handy spreadsheet! Enter your email below and I'll send you the link. -John

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.