Cooking to tell a story

It’s easy to cook from a recipe. Just get what you need, follow the steps and you’re good to go. But telling a story about it is a whole different world of cooking that I have experienced a few times in my cooking career. Let me tell you a time this happened. This is the first time that it had happened to me and got me into cooking in the first place.

 

I remembered it was near my final exam for my first year in culinary school. We have to create a dish that is one of the following proteins. Chicken or salmon. I chose salmon because it was the one that I am most comfortable with. I created my grandma’s famous salmon soup because it’s one of my family’s favorite dishes, fast and practically idiot-proof. It’s also one of the few recipes I know from her before she passed away So I went through the process of recipe development, market list and equipment list. When I was cooking for the first time in school, I was so confident that I could finish it on my first attempt because that’s all I need. I remember my professor saying “This isn’t good enough. I want you to do this again”. And I wasn’t prepared for that. I remembered my professor said “This shouldn’t be the moment that you cook for a good grade. It should be a moment to create the perfect dish and reconnect with your grandma. Since this your family recipe, you want to make it as perfect as you possibly can”. 

 

So I went back to the drawing board do the whole process again. When I was done, I gave it in. A few days later, he told me that I may want to do this one last time. In my head I was like “Don’t do this”. The way he explained to me was “Right now I got a dish. What I don’t have is; what is this, why I created this, this has happened, this is me on a plate, I want to share this to you.” The last time I recreated it was the final lab of the year. I completely remember during that time when I was cooking, I feel like I wasn’t even cooking. I feel like my grandma was guiding me through this recipe that I was trying to recreate. When I showed my chef the final final product, I told him why I chose this, how this dish is a huge pillar in my childhood and dedicating this recipe to my grandma because she was the one that first got me into cooking. That was exactly what he wanted me to experience. It wasn’t just the cooking or the process of creating a dish, but rather experiencing the process through emotion and telling a story about it. 

 

That little story that I told you guys the reason why I want to become a cook and recipe developer. I am so desperate to impress people of what I do and I can do. Not only to cook a beautiful dish, but to also tell a story. All dishes can taste good and look magnificent. But the reason why each dish is different is the story behind it.

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