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What kind of skills do you need to take culinary skills Why do you need to be good at fractions? When is it a good time when you're cooking to use the bathroom? How does the flavor work??

I'm La'akea I'm from Waimea High school. I am really interested in culinary.

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Lynn’s Answer

Question 1:
A fundamental understanding of math concepts is absolutely crucial to a culinary career. When working in a professional kitchen you will need to know how to scale a recipe to either make more than the basic recipe yields, or less. Thus, multiplication and division is key-especially if you pursue the bakery field. All recipes done on a large scale are usually converted to metric measurements because in the chemistry of successful baking (especially bread), measurements are represented as percentages- X% flour: X% oil: X% sugar: X% salt: X% starter/leavening: X% flavoring.

Since most Americans have still not adapted to the metric system you will need a firm understanding of the relationships of volume measurements-3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon, 16 tablespoons=1 cup, 2 cups=1 pint, 2 pints=1 quart, 4 quarts=1 gallon. Additionally, you'll need to have facility with weigh measurements-16 ounces = 1 pound etc, and be able to quickly multiply and divide to achieve the necessary yields.
Switching to metric is easy because everything is measured by some fraction of 10-1 liter (which is roughly 1 quart)=10 deciliters or 100 centiliters or 1000 milliliters, 1 kilogram (roughly 2 pounds)=1000 grams, etc.

You will also need fractions (percentages) when calculating food cost, labor cost, waste, shrink, and gross profit/margin. Accuracy is key to consistency and consistency is key to customer loyalty which is key to business predictability and ultimately profit.

Question 2:
You should think about restroom breaks in terms of the list of tasks that you must accomplish throughout the day and take them after finishing one and before beginning another. Sometimes part of a task requires long, slow cooking (braising, smoking) allowing you to do another task while keeping an eye on the items that needs a lot of time. Whatever you do, DO NOT walk away from a lit stove for any reason unless: a. you can turn off the stove and remove the pot from the heat, or b. ask a coworker to cover your task while you take a bathroom break.

WHATEVER YOU DO!!!!! Do NOT wear your apron into the restroom! Remove the food service gloves you are wearing and throw them away! ALWAYS wash your hands with warm, soapy water for at least 30 seconds (sing "Happy Birthday" song twice), ALWAYS dry your hands with a separate, disposable towel and ALWAYS use that towel to open the bathroom door as you leave and then discard it before you use hand sanitizer and replace your food service gloves. NO EXCEPTIONS!

Question 3:
Flavor, or the "development of flavor" works in a variety of ways. Without getting into a whole chemistry lesson about it, you should get a basic understanding of what is known as the "Maillard reaction." In its simplest terms, flavor is developed by the reaction of carbohydrates to heat as moisture evaporates and then spread around the tastebuds by some form of oil, butter, or cream. This is also known as "browning", whether it's the browning that happens when you saute a piece of meat in a pan, roast it in the oven, or cook it on a grill. No browning=bland flavor. The same holds true in baked goods-the most flavorful part of a piece of bread or a slice of cake is the brown crust. Of course, flavor can be enhanced and elaborated by other flavorings like herbs, spices, and extracts. Nevertheless, without some form of oil in the food, whatever taste you've developed quickly evaporates when eaten unless there is some oil (AKA lipids) (a sweetener is sometimes a cheap substitute) to spread it around the taste buds and help it linger there.
You can learn more about the science of flavor development in food by reading Harold McGee's "On Food and Cooking" or Shirley Corriher's "CookWise" and "BakeWise".

Lynn recommends the following next steps:

Study culinary math concepts
Take the online ServeSafe food safety courses and certifications
Read about food science-"On Food and Cooking" by Harold McGee, "CookWise" and "BakeWise" by Shirley Corriher
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James Constantine’s Answer

Dear La'Akea,

Skills Needed for Culinary Career:

To excel in a culinary career, several essential skills aspiring chefs should possess:

Cooking Techniques: A strong foundation in cooking techniques is crucial. This includes knowledge of various cooking methods such as grilling, sautéing, baking, and braising.

Knife Skills: Precision knife skills are essential for efficiency and safety in the kitchen. Chefs must be able to chop, slice, and dice ingredients accurately.

Creativity: Culinary professionals need to have a creative flair to experiment with flavors, textures, and presentations to create unique dishes.

Time Management: The ability to multitask and manage time effectively is vital in a fast-paced kitchen environment where multiple dishes are prepared simultaneously.

Organization: Keeping a well-organized workspace and being able to prioritize tasks efficiently are key skills for success in the culinary industry.

Palate Development: Developing a refined palate to understand flavor profiles and how ingredients work together is essential for creating harmonious dishes.

Adaptability: Being able to adapt to different situations, handle pressure, and troubleshoot problems quickly is important in the unpredictable world of professional kitchens.

Communication: Effective communication skills are necessary for working well with team members, taking instructions from superiors, and ensuring smooth kitchen operations.

Importance of Fractions in Culinary Skills:

Understanding fractions is crucial in culinary arts for several reasons:

Recipe Scaling: Recipes often need to be scaled up or down based on the number of servings required. Knowledge of fractions helps chefs adjust ingredient quantities accurately.

Ingredient Measurements: Many recipes require precise measurements of ingredients using fractions such as 1/2 cup or 1/4 teaspoon.

Recipe Formulation: When developing new recipes or modifying existing ones, chefs need to calculate ingredient proportions using fractions.

Baking Accuracy: Baking is a science that relies heavily on accurate measurements, where fractions play a significant role in achieving the desired results.

Menu Planning: Chefs need to calculate food costs, portion sizes, and recipe yields using fractions when planning menus for restaurants or events.

Timing Bathroom Breaks While Cooking:

Finding the right time to take a bathroom break while cooking can be challenging but ideally should be done during downtimes such as:

Preparation Stage: Before starting the actual cooking process when ingredients are being prepped and organized.

Simmering or Baking Periods: During times when dishes are simmering on low heat or baking in the oven, allowing for a quick break without compromising the cooking process.

Transitions Between Courses: When transitioning between courses or waiting for dishes to finish cooking before plating and serving.

Team Coordination: Communicating with team members to cover your station briefly while you step away can also be an option during busy service times.

How Flavor Works:

Flavor perception involves a complex interplay of taste, aroma, texture, temperature, and presentation:

Taste Sensations: The five basic tastes - sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami - are detected by taste buds on the tongue which send signals to the brain for interpretation.

Aroma Influence: A significant part of flavor comes from aromas perceived through the nose while eating; these aromas combine with taste sensations to create overall flavor profiles.

Texture Contribution: The texture of food affects flavor perception; factors like crunchiness or creaminess can influence how flavors are experienced.

Temperature Impact: Temperature plays a role in flavor perception; certain flavors may be more pronounced at specific temperatures (e.g., cold vs hot).

Presentation Enhancements: Visual presentation can enhance flavor perception by influencing expectations and creating anticipation before tasting food items.

Top 3 Authoritative Sources Used:

Culinary Institute of America (CIA): The CIA is renowned for its culinary education programs and provides valuable insights into the skills required for success in the culinary industry.

Food Network: As a leading source of culinary information and inspiration, Food Network offers expert advice on various aspects of cooking skills and techniques.

American Culinary Federation (ACF): ACF sets industry standards for culinary excellence and provides resources on professional development in the culinary field.

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Aisha’s Answer

Essential Skills for Aspiring Chefs

1. Business Acumen: Understanding budgeting and effective management are key.
2. Hygiene: Prioritize cleanliness, health, and food safety through sanitary practices.
3. Creativity: Enhance your presentation and recipe creation skills.
4. Culinary Proficiency: Select the right ingredients and hone your knife skills.
5. Organization: Plan and multitask efficiently.
6. Teamwork: Learn to collaborate effectively.
7. Precision: Pay attention to detail, especially in measuring.

For any aspiring chef, it's crucial to master these foundational culinary skills:

1. Knife Skills: Learn to chop, dice, and slice like a pro.
2. Palate Training: Develop your taste buds to identify and combine flavors.
3. Perfect Stocks: Master the art of making the perfect stock.
4. Sauce Mastery: Learn to create a variety of sauces to enhance your dishes.
5. Plating and Presentation: Develop your presentation skills to make your dishes visually appealing.
6. Molecular Gastronomy: Understand the science behind cooking.
7. Food Trends: Stay updated with the latest food trends.
8. Kitchen Confidence: Be creative and confident in your cooking abilities.
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Michelle’s Answer

Hello, La'akea !

It is so marvelous to know that you have such an interest in a career in the culinary arts ! I hope I can shed some light on things with some advice.

In Culinary School, you will learn the science behind how food changes when it is cooked, purchasing food and ingredients, the latest ideas in cooking, how to use various cooking devices, how to create and balance flavors and many other skills. Proper measuring is vital in cooking. You will get to the point where you can sight measure at some point, however you do need to know both the United States customary unit system as well as the metric system. You will need to know this because some recipes may be in metric and you'll be expected to quickly prepare the recipe. You also may be expected to know how to measure temperature in both Fahrenheit and Celsius. There is also Kelvin, but I don't know if chefs use that in preparing food. You will definitely get used to the various systems of measure. Fractions should pose no special problem for you as you already use them to measure things on a regular basis. Measuring ingredients and weighing food and ingredients is something you will be doing a lot of. So fractions will become your new best friend !

I am not sure what you mean by "how does the flavor work". Flavor is a sensory perception of a food or substance. There are many ways you will learn to enhance, tone down and balance flavors while you are in culinary school. There are a multitude of tips and tricks to create different flavors. These are easily researched by a simple search on line. The IFT website has an article about how flavor "works" but there is so much more information you can discover about it in books and on other websites as well. I left a link to the IFT article which addresses flavor below.

Breaks, using the restroom or stepping out time will always be under the discretion of your professors or employer. You would be informed in school or at the time of your employment under which circumstances you may step away and whether or not someone can stand in for you at your stove until you return.

I hope that this has been of some help and I wish you all the best with your time in culinary school !

Michelle recommends the following next steps:
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Roney’s Answer

One very important skill in culinary is measurements. You will need to understands how to use measuring tools in order to get the adequate amount of ingredients into whatever mean you are preparing, Because if you aren't at least close to the proper measurement you may end up ruining your whole dish in which case it will already to late to start from scratch.
In connecting to the previous point fractions are also a big part of measurements, It's best to understand fractions when using certain measuring tools such as measuring cups and spoons. Fractions also matter when you're cutting or portioning food based on the amount of food that will be served, It's best to keep accurately portion food so every person being served can get the appropriate amount.
When it comes to the bathroom it is really just dependent on what you are doing at the time. When you are using the oven or stove or anything that needs your attention it's best to keep track of it before going, but if you are in the process of preparing the food then that would be an optimal time to go to the bathroom, In either case though it's best to make sure someone else is in the kitchen when you decide to go as to not let the kitchen unoccupied and leave things unattended.
Finale, Flavoring is entirely dependent on the ingredients you use and the amount you put into the dish. Everyone has their own individual taste but it is just best to think about they type of food you are cooking, for example, Most desserts are sweet so it probably wouldn't hurt to avoid salty or savory spices, or you could be making a soup, in which case you could go some where in the middle, in order to avoid leaning too much on either side (Unless it requires spice haha!) but ultimately it wouldn't hurt to try it yourself or as any of your other co workers to try and see what they thing. I hope this helps and I wish you the best in your endeavors!