Cooking Great Food Starts with Great Kitchen Design

by Owen Sechrist

  My first career was in the restaurant business.  I started bussing tables, doing dishes and waiting on customers behind the counter at age 8 in my parent's victorian style ice cream parlor.  As a teenager I began working at a family style restaurant cooking basic American fare with a Pennsylvania Dutch twist.  I also cooked a lot of breakfasts.   After working for a few upscale eateries I opened my own upscale restaurant and bar with two partners.  I was the chef. Poached Quail Eggs   If you want to understand how food cooks, cook eggs.  Several thousand.  It really starts to make sense.  However, the real key to flavor, the key to understanding how to produce intense flavors in savory foods, comes down to one thing:  caramelization.   One of the greatest differences between gourmet restaurant cooking and typical home cooking comes down to heat.  Restaurant kitchens are scorching, almost every piece of cooking equipment is cranked to it's highest setting.  The convection ovens are set to 500 degrees.  The char-broiler is on high.  There are slope sided pans(a real saute pan has straight sides) stacked on burners to preheat so they can be brought up to a screaming hot tuna-searing inferno in just a few short minutes.   All this extreme heat accomplishes something:  it caramelizes the sugars in the foods, both on the outside of the food and on the pan.  It's the same concept as making gravy, it just happens a lot faster than the roast's drippings that caramelize in the oven over the course of hours.  Chilean Sea Bass and Rissotto   Seared Sea Scallop with Froth & Caviar salmon-entree             Many home cooks would be shocked at how rich and dark a broth or sauce can be made just by caramelizing seafood and some vegetables, then deglazing the pan and reducing the liquids.   nuts-about-mushrooms-ii    Homeowners who foray into gourmet cooking often find it difficult to reproduce these kinds of results in their home kitchen.  Make no mistake about it, the equipment is a significant part of the equation.  A gourmet cook needs cooking equipment that can put out the amount of heat needed to sear foods properly.  Searing foods hard also gets messy, and good kitchen design can make a huge difference in your willingness and ability to have saute pans spitting a fine mist of oil in a radius of 3 feet.     If you find yourself developing a passion for cooking great food it might be time to look at putting a kitchen that cooks in your home. grapefruit-salad fruit-tart-brulee

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