The basis for any education is proper technique. It’s only after the fundamentals have been grasped that mastery can be obtained. Each new skill serves as the building block for the skills that follow. As each brick is placed, the foundation of knowledge grows and a fully-rounded education emerges.
One avenue for learning basic techniques is to attend culinary school. Each new culinary skill prepares students that aspire to someday be professional chefs for a lifetime of continued learning in the culinary arts. Upon graduation from any culinary program students are prepared to begin entry level positions cooking in Atlanta or anywhere their careers may take them.
If you are thinking about becoming a chef in Georgia it is important to obtain a solid grounding in the fundamentals of classical French cooking techniques. Let’s examine a few of them more closely
- Basic Knife Skills – One of the most important skills a chef must learn. From preparing fruits and vegetables to cutting correct fillets knife skills are a must. Making the transition from prep cook to line cook to Georgia chef won’t happen without knowing which knife to use when and how to use it.
- French Cooking Terminology – The French codified the language of the kitchen. Even in kitchens that don’t serve French food, the executive chef will want you to know your beure blanc from your mirepoix.
- Preparation of Stocks and Sauces – Whether creating stocks for soups or sauces for garnishes and finishing a plate, every up and coming chef must master the skills necessary for stocks and soups. Many restaurants throughout your entire culinary career will require knowledge of creating at least one stock or sauce. The four mother sauces of French cuisine are béchamel, espagnole, veloute, allemande. Know them and you can create nearly all of the remaining sauces of classical cuisine.
If you plan to become a professional chef, these techniques—among others—are required learning. If cooking is not your thing, but you love to bake there are many skills worth learning too.
Pâtisserie & Baking
French pastry is synonymous with fine cuisine the world over. Delicate pastries, flavorful tarts, and robust breads are the hallmark of fine French pastry cooking. If this is where your passion lies in the kitchen, know that here are many opportunities to learn these skills online, from a book or at a school. No matter the skill you are trying to learn it is always best to learn the fundamentals first. Some of the basic baking techniques worth exploring are:
- Food Chemistry and Baking Ingredients – Believe it not, most of baking is about chemistry. From understanding the difference between baking soda and baking powder to knowing how the protein structure of wheat gluten affects cakes, breads and pastries, you must master some basic chemistry principles before becoming a great professional pastry chef.
- Preparation – Most of the art of patisserie includes making additions to the basic bread, pastry, or cake being baked. These include syrups, creams, icings, and fillings that add delicious flavor and texture to your pastries. All up and coming pastry chefs must master these preparations as they will spend much of their early careers creating them.
- Puff Pastry – This is what separates the pros from the wannabes. The thin flaky layers of puff pastry can be very tricky to produce. The folding and layering of dough and butter is labor intensive and very unforgiving if not done properly. If done properly, however, the pastry chef is rewarded with a light flaky crust that is a delight to behold … and taste!
These baking techniques can turn your passion for pastries and baking into mouth-watering delights your friends and family will absolutely love.
This article is presented by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Atlanta. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Atlanta offers Le Cordon Bleu culinary education classes and culinary training programs in Atlanta, Georgia. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/locations/atlanta for more information.