Is professional cooking suppose to be genetic?

No matter how hard I try, I can't seem to get the taste and flavor of the pros. I by the best ingredients I can, I measure, I take each step slowly and carefully but it never comes out awesome, fantastic, great. Why?

Am I fated to being just another wife that cooks okay?



susan G. July 16, 2012
I gather from your question that you are following recipes to the letter. Think of the picture of the beloved mother in the kitchen, making meals her family adores -- she doesn't measure, just puts ingredients in by the pinch or handful. I've often read (in cookbooks) about following such a role model around in the kitchen, trying to get specific quantities measured as the dish is made to put into a conventional recipe. The point here is, trust your instincts -- your senses of taste and smell and the overall impression that the food presents. I remember watching Julia Child in her original TV shows as I held her cookbook on my lap, pencil in hand. Her recipes are extremely specific (good learning tool!), but when she cooked she took many liberties as I took many notes. You've asked a good question, and there is a lot of good advice in these answers, but I have to add -- trust yourself, let your innate sense of what tastes good steer you in the right direction for your taste and your family's. Enjoy and relax!

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Kristen W. July 16, 2012
The pros also have the opportunity to cook the same dish or dish components MANY times in a short time span. The learning curve, I would think, is a lot faster than it is for a home cook, who simply cannot generate the volume of meals that a pro can. I have frustration with this myself, but I keep cooking and reading about cooking, and over time I definitely can tell that I'm improving. But judging yourself dish-by-dish can be self-defeating for a home cook who learns by a comparatively slow process of trial and error.
bigpan July 15, 2012
I was told by more than one chef that they use salt "liberally", and that gives the impression of flavor.
I don't use salt at all in the cooking process,but add as a top-dressing - and that works fine without in increasing your blood pressure.
ATG117 July 15, 2012
If you are buying good ingredients and using good recipes, I'd suggest making sure you are salting properly. Salt makes a huge difference in both sweet and savory preparations. You might also look into buying Michael Rhulman's books, which discuss the main principles of cooking.
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