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What chopsticks to buy? Asian people help prease. - Page 13

post #181 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by SField View Post


Well, the basics are sort of changing. When so much is getting cooked sous vide, then ya, the guys running the grill and saute stations aren't going to have as much experience banging out really consistently, perfectly prepared stuff as well as a commis would have done 20 years ago. I don't think this is as much of an issue at the really great places, but because of the star, ego-centric mentality of most kids going into food today, it is true that most people aren't willing to acquire the same skill set for the terrible pay of a commis like people were willing to do 20-30 years ago.

Keep in mind, people now are expected to do more things and be familiar with more styles, and really fantastic cooks are actually in abundance, but there are less people willing to kind of soldier through service without recognition as there was before. No matter what though, I really do think food has gotten better... but we might disagree on that point.

No, I agree with you. Food has gotten better. More than anything, raw material quality, at the high end, has gotten a lot better. I also like sous vide. I don't prefer it for everything, but for most things it is great. I am more bitching about the fact that if a 2* restaurant is going to garnish something with a brunoise of something or other, they should at least be able to cut it well enough so that it isn't atrocious.
post #182 of 191
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by iammatt View Post


No, I agree with you. Food has gotten better. More than anything, raw material quality, at the high end, has gotten a lot better. I also like sous vide. I don't prefer it for everything, but for most things it is great. I am more bitching about the fact that if a 2* restaurant is going to garnish something with a brunoise of something or other, they should at least be able to cut it well enough so that it isn't atrocious.

O yea, that is true. I remember a meal at Boka which has really phenomenal food... one of my favorite dishes was this grilled octopus (best octopus I had in my life), over diced russet and inca potatoes... really rough dice... and they weren't trying to be "rustic". Also I must complain about some of the meat cutting I've seen... I wonder why this is because frankly, these are only hard to do when you're starting out... a brunoise is "hard" but it isn't brain surgery... if you've done it for a few weeks you should be able to do it very evenly and cleanly.

I guess I really have to agree with you on this. I have to partially blame california for this... ingredient worship is sort of the culprit here, which has benefited us in some ways and cursed us in others. That and the fact that everything gets fucking pureed now. Not a bad way to showcase a product at all, but it does get your legumier out of having to do a lot of shit they had to do years ago. In fact I don't think one sees many intact starchy vegetables anymore.. almost never in fact. At least we're getting out of that phase where people want to barely cook every fucking vegetable.
post #183 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by SField View Post


sorry, not consistent with many of the meals I had in japan. Maybe my dining experience has been for nothing, but I know a good chef when I see one.

The original discussion was about Japanese knife skills, and I would be surprised if you didn't encounter knife skills as good or better than what you saw with Morimoto when you visited Japan.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SField View Post

Morimoto's style is quite likely to offend many asian palettes, I get that.

Actually, you don't get it. Not many are offended by his "style." They just don't think he is that great skill-wise. There is a whole genre of Japanese food similar to Morimoto's style. It is called "Sosaku Washoku" in Japanese. There are millions of restaurants that do sosaku, so I doubt Japanese are offended by the style itself.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SField View Post

I never said that I'm a massive fan of his restaurants. But, the guy is extremely inventive and does things that I know many people couldn't.

I agree and already pointed that out many times. His strength is that he is extremely inventive.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SField View Post

The point is, until you've actually seen someone work and cook in front of your eyes, you really have no ability to comment on how good they themselves are. You have no idea how many things can get in the way of someone's creativity and vision (barriers they themselves can put up, of course.)

I agree, it is totally different having someone cook for you 1-on-1 (like at a counter), and eating in a restaurant with just the menu sort of produced by the chef. We all get that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SField View Post

I don't care about stupid little ribbons of veg. But fish butchering is actually quite hard, and I feel like I've seen some of the best do it.

Daikon veggie ribbons are one of the main techniques used for comparison when you talk about Japanese knife skills. Japanese chefs (and housewives) practice this from the beginning, and it is easy for someone who knows what they are looking at to tell the difference between bad, average, or great. No Japanese chef would dismiss them as "stupid veggie ribbons," and I doubt a good Japanese chef would look at that thickness and unevenness and think his knife skills are "incredible."
Quote:
Originally Posted by SField View Post

So there it is, take from that what you will. I'm still very sorry, but being a commoner in a place with great food doesn't mean you know anything. It just means you know more about it than a commoner in say, America. But just being from Japan and seeing it, never doing it, or having any real deep knowledge of the subject does not mean your opinion should be taken seriously.

Maybe being an artist can help, but you don't have to be an artist to appreciate art. "Commoners" have to acquire the taste for knife skills too, because a large part of Japanese food happens to be about knife skills. If you don't know what you are eating (not just the taste), you can't appreciate it. Japanese and foreigners are often disappointed after having a good meal, because they don't know how to taste the art yet. Why do you think Japanese chefs cook at the counter (like kappo style)? A big part of it is to show off their skills, and obviously most of the customers are not chefs.

Going back to Morimoto, he says this is the reason he started the American-fusion thing. His customers couldn't taste Japanese food, so there was no point in making it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SField View Post

What interests me is that you want videos as evidence of "skill", but my question is, how the fuck would you know what to even look for? There are many intricacies to cleaning and portioning a fish, intricacies that change based on the product. The minute distance between skin and flesh for instance, and all sorts of proportions and angles that a poissonnier can execute, but unless you were one or had pretty intimate knowledge of fish butchering, you wouldn't notice the difference between a great one or a common line cook. All you notice is the fact that they both look like they know what they're doing and work fast. I mean, how the hell would you even know what's good? That's what really interests me.

I know you didn't get it, but that's why I asked about the monkfish video. Yes, obviously he knows what he's doing, but aside from that what was so incredible about it? That's the standard way of butchering a monkfish for a Japanese chef (tsurushigiri), and I am sure any Japanese chef with experience butchering one could do it just as good. When in season, you could probably see guys at the fishmarket do the same thing for show (similar to what Fang was referring to with the whole tuna butchering).


Quote:
Originally Posted by SField View Post

Also keep in mind that to me food is food. Cultural context matters but I also don't get dogmatic about it... when italians start saying "No, a puttanesca has to have A B C D, this has A B C E" and that kind of shit... I mean tradition is fine, but to me food is food and if an alien from outer space came, not knowing what is traditional and had no cultural context, would they enjoy a "fusion" dish, yes or no?

It's quite difficult to really enjoy Japanese food without the cultural context though. For things like kaiseki, or kappo it is almost more about various cultural context than the actual taste of the food.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fang66 View Post

The guy can obviously wield a knife but there are thousands of otaku slicers and dicers in Japan that would blow him into the dust as far as knife skills are concerned because that's all they do and have done every hour of every day of their professional lives but who cares that's what kitchen staff are for.

Exactly.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SField View Post


+1... cooking isn't just about knife skills, but the fact that a guy can still do something that he hasn't done in 20+ years cannot be said of many amazing chefs today. He has kept the skills of a line cook (and as you say, a lot of those guys, who are a dime a dozen, can do even better.) But that isn't the point... he can do what they do and then a lot more. Those kinds of technical skills are great, but you can teach most people to do that with repetition and good instruction. Being a great chef you cannot teach.

I agree, but with Japanese cooking you kind of have to be good technically, because a lot of the difference between good and bad Japanese food is technical.
post #184 of 191
Thread Starter 
Dragon;

Most of the people with great displays of knife technique that you've seen do nothing but that all day. They're low paid drones who are rarely called up to make decisions or be creative in any way. For a man that hasn't really been a subordinate in 20 years, his skills are pretty admirable. It's a physical skill that has to be maintained and he really hasn't done a bad job in keeping it up.

I also don't think I only talked about his knife skills, but really his skills as a chef.
post #185 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by SField View Post

Dragon;

Most of the people with great displays of knife technique that you've seen do nothing but that all day. They're low paid drones who are rarely called up to make decisions or be creative in any way. For a man that hasn't really been a subordinate in 20 years, his skills are pretty admirable. It's a physical skill that has to be maintained and he really hasn't done a bad job in keeping it up.

I also don't think I only talked about his knife skills, but really his skills as a chef.

As a chef you probably get the chance to see more drones than I have. You just don't get the opportunity to see them much as a customer.
post #186 of 191
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon View Post


As a chef you probably get the chance to see more drones than I have. You just don't get the opportunity to see them much as a customer.

No, not living in Japan I don't. If you go to some sushi places however, you get to see guys that are really amazing with a knife. I should have been more clear on this, but Morimoto, as far as his knife skills go, would be like if Pat Riley during a practice, took the ball from Lebron and dunked from the free throw line.

Now, there are plenty of guys in the NBA who can do that, even people in NCAA that are capable of it. But Pat Riley is old, hasn't played in forever, and doesn't really practice the game as that is not really part of his job anymore.

Every great chef I've seen does retain a lot of great skill, but a lot of the nitty gritty (as far as knife work), definitely blunts over time... speed and accuracy go. They know exactly what to do, but it isn't smooth. I mean the three or four times I went to the big fish market in Japan in that huge room where they bring the tuna, and seeing those very working class guys hack at those tuna with a precision that isn't pretty in and of itself, was pretty amazing. But, that's all the do, day in day out. Trust me when I say that Morimoto's basic level of workmanship would put to shame a lot of chefs of his age and of similar or even greater fame/importance.

Having seen him work, I know he can do everything the poissonier at essex or louis xv can do... not as quickly to be sure but it's not exactly like they're running an empire and have a slew of TV appearances.
post #187 of 191

Don't buy the disposable ones.  They're supposedly laced with lead or something- also bad for the environment.

 

The shiny Korean ones are nice to look at but sometimes hard to use- esp if you're white.

post #188 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jdeansmith11 View Post

Don't buy the disposable ones.  They're supposedly laced with lead or something- also bad for the environment.

 

The shiny Korean ones are nice to look at but sometimes hard to use- esp if you're white.


Why do you need to necropost? I'm sure there are many new threads on topics that you know nothing about in which you can display your ignorance.
post #189 of 191
Guy is right though, white people suck at Korean chopsticks.
post #190 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by impolyt_one View Post

Guy is right though, white people suck at Korean chopsticks.


and disposable chopsticks are laced with lead.
post #191 of 191
Korean chopsticks are the metal ones right? How are they good to look at? Ugly and useless (with noodles).
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