Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Appreciating the artistry that is classical cooking
And, a chef his knife.
Chef Tony Marano revealed, perhaps unwittingly, the artistry in his chosen profession and in himself today in class at the California Culinary Academy. Chef Tony lectured on knife quality, and as he did, he showed that a knife is more than a kitchen tool. He showed it to be an extension of the chef.
Much of his lecture was about what makes a good knife -- type of steel and its hardness, quality of the tang, the balance between blade and handle.
Yet, he returned near lecture's end to the principle use for a good knife: to help in the preparation of good food.
Those who appreciate good paintings don't think much about the brushes, and those listening to a soprano don't much consider what she has done to protect her voice.
Just as we who eat good food well prepared in restaurants don't wonder at the brand of knife the chef used or what the knife's steel hardness was. Yet without the knife, the meal could not have been created as it came to us for our appreciation and nourishment, if it could have been created at all.
The recognition of the knife as an extension of the artistic chef was implicit in Chef Tony's lecture today. And it made the practical lesson that followed -- to julienne and brunoise carrots -- all the more meaningful and important.