Sunday, January 30, 2011

Leaving for London

Here's the cake i made this week, for a colleague of a friend who's leaving for London.
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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Culinary State of Turkey

When i realized i am now able to clearly define the situation, i imimediately wanted to share it with everyone who listens. It's about the lack of acceptance of culinary work as an art form. Sadly in Turkey, a chef is just some underdog prepping the food in the kitchen... Although there's been some change in this perception in the last couple of years, it's still the restaurant owner who gets the main focus and in most cases is mistakenly referred to as the chef. Yes, we do start to hear more about chef's restaurants and quality food. We are beginning to learn more about what the perfect form we are to expect in a plate is. But, this improvement is not actually (not for all cases, but most) the result of enhanced knowledge, but of the guidance of trends. It's now trendy to go eat at a classy restaurant and know the chef's name. But, what actually happens is that, the names we know are not the chef's names. And this becomes more shameful, when the one making this mistake is a food magazine. Restaurant owners are included under articles like Istanbul's best chefs, among real chefs who've spent their years in this art... ( This is my actual observation that got the MSA executive chef to immediately like me:) )

Anyways i could complain for hours about the subject, but you all got the point. So, let's improve it..

First must-know:

There's a strict distinction between a baker and a pastry chef. In Turkey we see this distinctions only in Hotels or Hotel restaurants. Everyone else is a baker except hotel chefs. Chef, actually, is not as cheap a term as we use it in here...

If we say a chef is the scientist, then a baker is the industrial partner. Industrial partner has to make his main product better, while chef develops the new methods for him to do so...

To simply explain; a pastry chef has to think of presentation ten times harder, while a baker has done his job when he's got the flavor just perfect. A pastry chef has to come up with new techniques and have a variety of them on hand, while the baker needs to have the highest experience on his technique to make the specific product on the spot each time...

These examples do not propose any less respect for either occupation, but merely defines the distinction inbetween. A perfect product by a baker takes us to our childhood, while a perfect product by a pastry chef takes us to a whole new world. And either is as much valuable yet different for me. I sincerely hope we- as a culture insanely based on food unlike any other culture- will get to this same level of almost-worldwide knowledge in culinary arts...

So, a decision awaits... Will i be a pastry chef, or a baker?!

Getting Ready

listening to Beirut and working on my new post at a starbucks.... priceless:D Don't really know why, but i absolutely love this activity..


as the school is getting closer, i'm working on getting all the necessary documents together. I've had my tests for elisa, hepatit b and c, and had that unaviodable 'whatif?!' panic until the results came:D Clean as a sheet... Then my college diploma fulfilled its duty by getting copied. Life's big joke on my mom, an econ grad's diploma copied for a culinary school application:) Got my photos taken, a hundred copies- this time, for the first time, i actually look normal. Beautiful is not a concern, normal is just enough; because all the passport-like photos i have look like i'm either about to get slapped or got slapped seconds ago...
Couplo more things to go and i'm ready:)


What i expect to get from this education:

I want to learn the chemistry of food, not just 'how-to's of main things. I want to be able to work without recipes- by which i mean not memorizing the recipe, but almost never needing one..

I want to be able to work out something from the weird combos of ingredients on hand. I want to be able to turn a cocktail into a cupcake like in Top Chef:Just Desserts, know all the flavor affinities, and -eventually- match up recipes with moods?!:)

Will i get what i expect from it? Probably not... But as long as it's not set on memorizing like our terrible school system, i know i'll get good basics for working on my expectations from then on...