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  • Writer's pictureJorge Martinez

Tip: Recipe Following 101


“Stop following recipes. Recipes don’t teach you anything. You can read them to understand what they’re trying to get at, but then forget what you read and go do it yourself.”

-Erez Komarovsky, 1Saveur Issue No. 193 Winter 2018 - Chef, Iconoclast, Hell-Raiser, Baker; Pg. 33,

You may be surprised to learn that in some restaurants chef’s institute recipes for dishes that they have created for one simple reason. Consistency. Like fast food restaurants, consistency is what will keep customers coming back. In a restaurant, if you are blown away by a certain dish that was on the menu, you want to have the same experience the next time you go back, because if it’s different, chances are you may not want to go back.

Recipes are a tricky thing. Home cooks will use them and follow them to the tee and sometimes for some reason it doesn't come out as they were expecting. Others may use it more as a guide to see what ingredients are needed and then go from there. So what's the deal?

One thing that we are taught in culinary school is that there is can be a multitude of factors that can make the recipe come out differently than it did for the original author. These factors can be things like cooking equipment, the type, brand, or quality of ingredients used, the list goes on.

When it comes down to it what you need to take into account when trying to recreate a recipe is this. All of our palettes differ. Some cooks may tend to prefer things more salty that others, or use a particular spice more heavily. It's for this particular reason why chefs establish recipes in restaurants.Chefs train and demonstrate to their cooks how they prefer to season things so that the dishes will be replicated the same way their customers have grown to appreciate their food. Despite that though there is always a risk that without the use of recipes for certain things it may not turn out the same. Which can be disastrous for chefs and their restaurants.

It's understandable if it's something you've never made before, this is what I do. First, I make it as described. Then I go from there. That's how I developed my signature sourdough bread. I started with a base recipe, tried it and then made it my own. It took some months to develop and lots of bread sampling, but in the end I ended up with a bread that was perfect for me and my clients that have enjoyed it at their dinners.

Don't be afraid to stray from the recipe

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