If you had only one knife to bring to work

Proper user technique and care is essential to enjoying these high performance knives to their fullest while keeping edge damage to a minimum. Learn how here.
User avatar
lsboogy
Posts: 1260
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2018 1:23 pm
Location: Minneapolis
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 9 times

Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by lsboogy »

Finally got home. Spent some time with mom after I got done, but had an amazing experience today. Was given the salmon duty early afternoon - short staffed due to blizzard yesterday (not a real blizzard, only got 6" or snow, but that's now reason to stay home - I drive rear wheel drive car and get places without problems). Anyway, I took a Kono 240 HD2, my "new" (to me) 270 HD Ultimatum, and my line knife. Did my onions, broccoli, zucchini, and carrots with the 240, and made some mayonnaise and started some chicken stock. After lunch I got to enjoy (I don't know if that's quite the word - thing is spectacular on big stuff) my new 270 on 6 15-17lb salmon. A big blade makes for much quicker work on these things - the extra size makes it easier to follow when fileting and skinning. I think if you work with salmon (whole ones especially) a bigger knife is much easier - gives you some blade movement for both operations, and portioning is just a quick slice as well. I rarely pull out 270 or bigger blades, but my experience today may well change that.
I got to plate at the house tonight as well getting better at saucing plates with a spoon and I don't get tagged for not having the edge of the plate clean as often now - Rick and Jeff don't need to check my work as much - I feel like I'm starting to learn some presentation skills now - in a fast moving environment it's intimidating. Use of a line knife is now becoming faster - last minute duties seem to be getting more habit now. And Rick just hired a ne lady - her first real,job since culinary school (Chicago lady, went to some school there as well) - and she is amazingly good compared to me. I guess I'll continue as lowest person for a while.

User avatar
ronnie_suburban
Posts: 120
Joined: Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:43 am
Location: Chicago
Has thanked: 9 times
Been thanked: 4 times
Contact:

Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by ronnie_suburban »

lsboogy wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 8:44 pm
And Rick just hired a ne lady - her first real,job since culinary school (Chicago lady, went to some school there as well) - and she is amazingly good compared to me. I guess I'll continue as lowest person for a while.
I always enjoy reading your posts as you gear up for your post-retirement vision quest. But above and beyond that, this is just really encouraging. Perhaps it's not entirely attributable to her schooling but anyone coming out of school actually prepared for their first professional gig is a great thing, especially in this field where there are plenty of stories from the other side.

User avatar
lsboogy
Posts: 1260
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2018 1:23 pm
Location: Minneapolis
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 9 times

Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by lsboogy »

She went to Morris according to Rick. Apparently a pretty darn good school. Rick went to Cordon Bleu in Paris, but has two on his staff from Morris. Whatever they teach there, Liz is very very good. Watching her plate is amazing - she is far better than most of us in both speed and appearance. She did mostly sauces yesterday morning - and watching her make stuff for 200+ is stunning as well - she was running 4 pans at a time for the most part - tasting and going like mad. Her knife skills are very good (much better than mine), almost on par with Rick and Jeff, but certainly better than the rest of us. Watching her is fun - I'm still learning, and it shows I have little real background, but my skills are definitely improving, I am much better than I was a year ago and I thought I was a pretty darn good home cook then - now I realize I'm just starting and lacking many skills for both food and presentation. I thought I was good, now I am just humble. But my onion and veg skills (especially even cuts) are getting very good - and I'm happy to learn from these folk. Chef skills are amazing, and I'm still on the first rung or two watching real ones. But I'm glad I am starting to be trusted to do things with little supervision now - I get a note with veg and cuts when I walk in - just fill bins and rarely get checked on my work any more. My line skills took a psychological hit yesterday watching Liz plate, but thinking about it this morning while making breakfast, I took a bit more care with omelettes and toast (SO is visiting parents and siblings - had neighbors over for late breakfast) - and I'm doing some chicken for my mom tonight, and I'm going to try some sweet corn pesto on her plate. Learned it yesterday - basil, corn, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper - excellent choice for chicken thighs with a similar crust.

Hikari
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2020 3:38 pm
Has thanked: 1 time

Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by Hikari »

Loved reading all these posts. Worked in a kitchen for 6 months or so awhile back. It was my first time doing it and I really didn’t cook at home all that much before it. You learn extremely quickly because you have to, even with smaller kitchens it’s almost always a rush.

Never even considered bringing my own knife to work (place was a disaster and wouldn’t want to anyway. One coworker had never touched a knife before being hired) but reading this reminded me of my first day on the job. Saw some guy going around the whole place ranting about not being able to find his knives. Later on he came into the break room with two knives in his hand and exclaimed “someone threw my knives!! No one touches my knives!!!”. Every time I saw him that day he still had his knives nearby and looked ready to snap at you if you even looked at them wrong. He was the first person who’s name I never forgot lol.

User avatar
lsboogy
Posts: 1260
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2018 1:23 pm
Location: Minneapolis
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 9 times

Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by lsboogy »

Hikary, I love posting this stuff. I'm an old aerospace guy who loves to cook, with a SO who also loves food (she's a Yelp elite lady). I ride bikes with Rick and have for years, and when he started helping Jen and I in a homeless shelter (we do meals at a place with women and kids in St Paul), I learned his skills with food were so far above mine it's not funny. He knew my retirement goals, and knew I was probably going to culinary school in retirement, and offered me a "job" (no pay) to learn in a high end kitchen. I show up 3-4 times a month, work as the lowest cook in the kitchen, and learn about how to cook for 80-300. Much better than going to school, free, and learning from a guy who has had a Michelin star. He is not easy on me, and I get the shit jobs for the most part, but I am learning how to do meals for large groups and what is needed to do it. My knife skills are nothing like his, but after hundreds of boxes of onions, I am starting to feel like I can eventually get to a reasonable point. I try different knives to figure out what works best for me, and as I keep improving, my knife tastes are changing, and I am learning that cooks are some of the least appreciated folk in this country. My ability to slice zucchini evenly and to the right thickness allows a few large pans of veg to cook evenly, and the repetitive nature of what I get tasked with is allowing me to get some "muscle memory" that translates quickly to home use as well. I did a few pounds of onions last night for Genovese sauce, and Jen told me i did a better job than a mandolin on them. I love my new CHII blade, and the thing just does what I want it to. I am starting to become a reasonable beginner line cook.
BTW, a knife is personal - my taste in profile, grind, weight, and balance point will not translate to most folk. I have great blades (thanks Mark and Susan) and am learning which I like for which task. But I am learning that there is no "knife to rule them all" - and I am beginning to appreciate a good spoon for saucing plates at present. Food is a wonderful journey, and excellent food is a wonder all to its own. Eat well, help others eat well, and have fun in this world. I feel great when I get done serving meals - can't buy skills or presentation. Nothing better than giving a homeless person a beautiful meal and some narcan. And nothing helps more than the ability to show love through food

User avatar
lsboogy
Posts: 1260
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2018 1:23 pm
Location: Minneapolis
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 9 times

Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by lsboogy »

End of a very long day. Small dinner tonight, but Rick has 5 catering jobs tomorrow that I spent my day doing prep for. More onions and carrots than I've ever done in a day, and lots of othe veg went on ice for tomorrow. For some reason, I have agreed to coming in tomorrow at 2 to do lots of chicken and trout - bringing just a honesuki and a small knife tomorrow - probably my Chris Reeves job - I'm still really fast with trout, so Rick is tasking me with 115 rainbows tomorrow (I learned to be quick living in Montana - seem to be the fastest gun in the kitchen with trout) - and still use a pocket knife on them for the most part. Maybe I'll pull out a short knife, but I doubt it given the pressure I'll be under. I can still do trout without thinking for the most part - slit the gut, hit the chin and pull - life lesson I'll never be without. Remember tying to get stuff done with a wolverine crossing the stream coming at me - courage under fire and all that. Cool critter, but I ran like a scared rabbit.
Big thing I learned today was onions - slices (1mm) and fine dice are quick and easy with a very thin knife. 2 boxes each, and my CHII 52100 was just the thing. I think I am beginning to see each knife with a purpose rather than as a general thing, and each day brings a new thought on things. I'm still the lowest prep/line cook in the kitchen, but I would never try to do this stuff with a single knife again - 240 and 270 blades allow quick work, but a tall 210 is great on diagonal carrot slices my ideas going into this were very amateur, but I'm learning why so many have large numbers of knives in their rolls. I'm given the advantage of knowing what I'll be doing on a given day, but someone who works in a 3 or less kitchen will be doing much more varied duty. I'm getting to the point I like one knife for onions and another for carrots for gosh sakes

dAviD
Posts: 592
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2017 7:03 pm
Location: ATX
Has thanked: 1 time
Contact:

Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by dAviD »

It's awesome hearing about your journey!

pcavaliere
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2020 12:23 pm
Has thanked: 28 times
Been thanked: 3 times

Re: If you had only one knife to bring to work

Post by pcavaliere »

Interesting to hear about your experiences. Thanks for sharing. I’m a home cook but always thought about working in a kitchen. I’m getting older now and may not have the stamina anymore.

Post Reply