Thursday, February 11, 2010

The wit and wisdom of Chef Dan

A good teacher does more than impart knowledge; a good teacher imparts inspiration.

Chef Dan Fluharty inspired us from the first day of class in early November, and he did so every day for 12 weeks after, in Culinary Foundations II right through today's final class in Culinary Foundations III.

Chef told us as we prepared to depart his classroom kitchen at day's end today: "In a few years, I'll come into a restaurant and see one of your names on the menu as chef. ... "

That's an inspirational thought in and of itself.

In his honor, here are select inspirational, motivational and just plain funny moments from Chef Dan Fluharty in the last 12 weeks.

"The fish always stinks from the head down."
-- Explaining that if there's a problem with food in a restaurant, it starts at the top.
"It's about learning the basics. Today: more basics."
-- Responding to students asking if they could alter, add to or otherwise make more complex the techniques and recipes he was teaching to us.

"Your daily challenge will be: timing, correct mise en place, plate presentation."
-- Spelling out the keys to success in class.

"Chuck got shanked in the ribs over a plate of loins. But he was flanked by his friends, sirloin and round."
-- Chef's way of helping us remember the subprimal cuts on a half of beef.

"For the fryer, where's the magic spot? There's a magic place on the flame. Find it."
-- Admonishing us to pay attention to the deep fryer's oil temperature. We often had it too high or too low, resulting in inadequate cooking.

"Remember, eight weeks ago, you couldn't rub two sticks together."
-- After seeing our collective reaction to his spelling out the elements of a rather daunting final competency exam.

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