I love this gorgeous Disney tale of a rat who loves to cook. It is a charming movie that features valuable lessons about cooking in a professional restaurant. The art of a French Brigade style kitchen is beautifully illustrated. This stunning movie teaches us that “anyone can cook”. An encouraging message after a set back or loss in the kitchen. And that night-time Paris scene, oh my!
Julie and Julia
A story of two women from different era’s and their shared obsession with cooking. In this movie based on a hit novel, Julie attempts to cook her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The challenge, to cook 524 recipes in 365 days. This movie will inspire you to jump into the kitchen and start cooking the best way – the French way.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
A magical documentary that is full of the wisdom and passion of Japan’s master of sushi Jiro Ono. Jiro teaches us about dedication to an art, dedication to the highest quality ingredients and dedication to a lifelong study of your craft.
Jiro also gives us an excuse to spend our pay checks on fine dining and beautiful food, saying “in order to make delicious food you must eat delicious food”. Jiro shows us what hard work, passion and talent can lead to.
A very French film, Haute Cuisine gives as a peep into the kitchen of the former President of France, President Francois Mitterand. The value of this film is the food. Watch the cooking scenes and fall in love with French Cuisine. The film itself is a little odd, like many French films but trust me this film will make you hungry! It will also teach you about the tough world of French brigade-style cooking, this is our heritage as cooks. Appreciating where the modern kitchen has come from can only serve to elevate our own food.
This documentary makes us consider where our food comes from and asks us to question the ethics surrounding food production and consumption. Food Inc. is important because chefs and food lovers need to ponder the ethics of their food practices and, if any practice is found to be questionable, take action to change it. This can be difficult for an apprentice chef as it is unwise and disrespectful to question the way a Head Chef runs their kitchen. But you can start by paying attention – where is waste going? Where is the food coming from? Is it sustainable? What would you do differently? Take note of these things. One day, if you work hard enough, you will have the opportunity to do things a little differently. In the mean time you can make a difference with small steps like saving all your scraps to make stock. Food, Inc. highlights the important responsibility chefs have to serve ethical food to their customers.
What food movies are you obsessed with?
I’m on plating and salads tonight. It’s my first time at the pass, it’s Friday night and I’m nervous. Chef is explaining the rules to me. Have all your mise en place ready. Know exactly where everything is. Maintain a clean and organised station. Chef shows me how to do salads. A basic roquette (arugula), walnut and parmesan salad with a creamy but tart vinaigrette – yum! It was my job to make this simple, delightful salad.
It was fun. I love working in the kitchen once I’ve grasped a concept. It is a time of inspiration and I find joy in it. The hours fly by. I watch from the pass of our open kitchen while I make salads. There are customers eating and drinking delicious food in a warm, beautiful old pub. There are candles flickering and the atrium dining area, full of exotic plants, is packed. The music is loud and the people are warm with beer and steak. It’s awesome. A part of me longs to be one of them. The other part of me is enjoying contributing to the warmth and joy in a small, salady kind of way.
I look at the guys – professionals in the kitchen. All sweating, swearing and scrambling to get the food out to the people at lightening speed. It really feels like a pirate ship on a Friday night. These are the nights I love my new job.
In Jiro Dreams of Sushi Jiro Ono, the 85 year-old sushi master, tells us “In order to make delicious food you must eat delicious food”.
What can I say? If Jiro insists, then I must oblige!
My boyfriend and I recently went to Melbourne’s MoVida Aqui to celebrate his birthday. We had a wonderful night. The restaurant, sister to the original MoVida, offers modern Spanish cuisine and it is to die for. The place buzzes with activity, the open kitchen is packed with chefs and cooks knocking out impeccable tapas without missing a beat. One day I hope to be cooking at this level.
This time round we decide to order every tapa on the menu. My highlight? The Anchoa – an anchovy and smoked tomato sorbet tapa. The mix of salty anchovy and cold smoky tomato ice cream is refreshing and delicious. I also love the Cordoniz, a half quail wrapped in brik pastry, wild mushrooms and morcilla (Spanish blood sausage).
As we munch away I think, this is what Jiro is saying – we need to taste good food in order to know good food in order to cook good food. I need to taste food that I don’t normally taste. Food that is different. That challenges my palate and teaches it new food combinations. I have always shied away from anchovies. I thought they were gross, little, oily fishies murdering my otherwise delicious pizza. How wrong I was. Anchovies, done right, are incredible!
I’m excited to continue my journey of eating delicious food. Where to next? I can’t wait to find out!
William Zinsser is talking about his craft of writing, of course, but one can easily extrapolate this quote and apply it to any craft. Even to the craft of say, cooking? Absolutely!
Being an apprentice chef can be frustrating and sometimes we lack inspiration. As a new apprentice, you are learning the basics in the kitchen. You are still learning who is of authority, what the unwritten rules are and what is expected of you. You are still adapting to the long hours and the aches in your body. Sometimes you don’t know what the fuck you are doing. In the kitchen, it is natural to lack inspiration sometimes.
But this is your craft. You must push through the times you lack inspiration. The times when you want to give up. These are the times you are really learning your craft, your trade. If you love something you will do it, with a smile, even when your body and mind are screaming at you to sit down and have a beer and a cigarette.
The nice thing about the kitchen is that you know your shift will end. No matter how deep in the weeds you are, service will end, you will clean up and then you can go home and have that beer. The stress stays in the kitchen and the exhaustion at the end of the shift is a satisfying exhaustion. You pushed through and you feel amazing!