Nov 16, 2017160 views

Q&A with a Professional Chef

Helloooooo Massdrop!
Specifically you foodies and cooking enthusiasts...
I'm partnering with Massdrop and opening this thread to offer to this community what I pose to anyone who takes a cooking class, dines at one of my tasting menu dinners, or even interacts on social media with me: If you've ever had anything you're curious about how the "restaurants" do it, if you've ever been curious about techniques (how to achieve a result) , gear (demystifying a purchase decision), or even basics (how to season, timing, organization) I want to make myself and my 8+ years of Michelin restaurant experience available to you to help however I can :)
Comment at me, use this as a resource, I look forward to hearing from you!
To answer some questions right off the bat:

-Justin Khanna
ltopper, kstokley, and 5 others

Dope to see you on here bro!
Justin - it's nice to make your acquaintance! Thanks for coming onto this forum. I do have a question.... well two, and they're unrelated.
#1: KNIVES: Ok so I have friends who boast about their knives, the cost, all of it. Am I missing out by not owning a high end set of Wüsthof or JA Henckels? What do you look for in a good kitchen knife?
#2: I have the opportunity to go to Michelin rated Costes in Budapest on Thursday. I've never been to a Michelin rated restaurant before! Is there anything I should specifically be on the lookout for that establishes a Michelin restaurant from the others? (on the aggregate of course). In your opinion, are Michelin restaurants worth the experience?
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I agree that it is how you look after your knife that is more important than anything. I am blessed to be married to someone who is obsessed with the sharpness of our knives (should I be worried 😆) and my favourite knife to use is $10 from the grocery store. Our friends beg him to sharpen their knives once they experience what it is like to work with a knife that can shave the hair on your arm and these are people who have spent hundreds of dollars on their knives and haven’t even touched them with a steel let alone a Japanese water stone. You can teach yourself from YouTube and you will never saw with a stick again. Have fun!
It's definitely the classic "a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp one" advice! Pray for all of us that have had the experience of getting cut with a dull knife...sooooo painful and takes forever to heal.
Do you have any tips for professional or home cooks on how to keep from getting in the weeds?
Side question: How do you take such great photographs?!
Ha! Great industry lingo ;) but it's all about starting small and training a muscle. The biggest mistake I see is the inability to walk away from a project that feels half finished. If you "prep" out a dish, and walk away, then you can "prep" out another dish, and then when it's time to eat, "pickup" everything in a logical order. For example:
If you want to have hot cheesy garlic bread, with spaghetti and red sauce, make the bread ready by spreading garlic butter on the bread, putting the cheese on it, and just setting it aside. Don't toast it right away. In the mean time, start boiling your water and heating up your sauce. Things all start coming together when you achieve maximum multi tasking, but that doesn't happen overnight! It's like a muscle you need to flex and train and slowly improve.
Also I've been taking photos since waaaay back in the day with film ;) it's always been a passion of mine. Thanks for the kind words!