Author Topic: Professional chef turned EE  (Read 790 times)

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Offline hvna

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Professional chef turned EE
« on: February 07, 2021, 07:31:16 pm »
Hi everyone, I'm a former professional chef (10 years in industry, classically french trained) with multiple years experience in Michelin restaurants. Last year I decided to get out and I've been in school for electrical engineering since then. I am still currently the executive chef here at a restaurant in Ireland, but due to Covid I'll be moving to a different country soon. Regardless, I'm always here for cooking questions. It isn't my passion but I do have quite a bit of knowledge. I can only hope all of you return the favor!
 
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Offline Halcyon

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Re: Professional chef turned EE
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2021, 11:44:27 pm »
Welcome! It's always interesting to see people from all different backgrounds and professions here. Everyone has a story to tell.

Will you share with us your "signature dish" (at least one we can make at home)? ;-)

Or perhaps you can tell us, how do you cook the perfect steak? I can cook all manner of things, but steak is just something I keep getting wrong.

 

Online themadhippy

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Re: Professional chef turned EE
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2021, 12:43:54 am »
Quote
, how do you cook the perfect steak
put a heavy non nonstick pan on the heat
wait
when the smoke detector goes off open window to let smoke escape,reset alarm
wait another five minutes
if pan starts glowing/melting turn down the heat a tiny bit
drop steak into pan
1 to 2 minutes later turn steak
cook for another minute or 2
serve

 

Offline nctnico

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Re: Professional chef turned EE
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2021, 12:53:40 am »
Nice to have a professional chef on board. I think I have a pretty neat way to cook steaks though. The trick is to keep the moisture in.

I use olive oil, thyme, salt, pepper and garlic powder as seasoning.

I use a frying pan with a thick bottom which I let heat up on high fire until the olive oil (+ salt) starts to fume a bit. Then I put the steaks in and let them fry for 50 seconds per cm for each side. Nice and crusty with lots of smoke. For really thick steaks (over 3cm) I set the heat a bit lower and go to 60 seconds per cm. Then I take them out of the pan (turn the heat off & cover the pan) and wrap the steaks into aluminium after after sprinkling the pepper, garlic and thyme on top. Let that sit for 5 to 6 minutes. After that put the steaks back into the pan which has cooled down and let the residual heat do the rest. The steaks shouldn't 'sizzle'. It takes some practise to get it right; if there is a lot of moisture coming from the steaks then you are making them too hot and you are literally cooking the tenderness out of the meat. 3 minutes 'after cooking' for medium rare, 6 minutes for medium. This trick also works well with pork but you may want different seasoning.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2021, 12:56:02 am by nctnico »
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Offline rhodges

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Re: Professional chef turned EE
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2021, 01:07:48 am »
Hi, hvna. I would like a cookbook. There are probably thousands or more of "cookbooks". But they are bad. Some say "to taste". How the hell do I know what that means? What is the start, and how do I add "to taste"? Some (or many) have ingredients that are not really needed. Why not tell me? Why?

I would like to buy a cookbook that starts with the minimum ingredients to make it. Then, it tells how to make it better. And it explains WHY the new ingredients are better. Then, it tells how to make it excellent. One, two, three. Basic, good, excellent. Can I buy this cookbook?

On a similar note, I want to make my own "pizza sausage" and pepperoni. I have a decent "pizza sausage" spice recipe (no thanks to the Internet). But I have no good recipe for making pepperoni. Yes, there are many "recipes". But when so much is garbage, why should I spend my time on worthless (or prank?) recipes?
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Offline bob91343

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Re: Professional chef turned EE
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2021, 02:22:03 am »
I recall charcoal grilling top sirloin steaks.  One of my guests, watching me, said hey the steak is on fire!  I ignored him.  The steak had flames curling around it and he wouldn't shut up.  Later, we were eating and he looked at me and said wow this steak is perfect!

I haven't eaten a steak in years; I look at the meat and all I can think is that it's a dead cow.
 
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Offline Halcyon

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Re: Professional chef turned EE
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2021, 02:22:10 am »
I use a frying pan with a thick bottom which I let heat up on high fire until the olive oil (+ salt) starts to fume a bit.

Once olive oil starts to smoke, it's dead. Tastes horrible and shouldn't be used. If I'm using oil at high temperatures, I usually go for either rice bran or peanut oil. I'm sure those who have actual qualifications in the industry will let me know if I'm wrong.
 

Online Zero999

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Re: Professional chef turned EE
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2021, 11:15:35 am »
I use a frying pan with a thick bottom which I let heat up on high fire until the olive oil (+ salt) starts to fume a bit.

Once olive oil starts to smoke, it's dead. Tastes horrible and shouldn't be used. If I'm using oil at high temperatures, I usually go for either rice bran or peanut oil. I'm sure those who have actual qualifications in the industry will let me know if I'm wrong.
Yes, that's true. Olive oil shouldn't be allowed to smoke. I use rapeseed oil for high temperatures, which seems to be the most common cooking oil in the UK.
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: Professional chef turned EE
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2021, 07:53:55 pm »
I use a frying pan with a thick bottom which I let heat up on high fire until the olive oil (+ salt) starts to fume a bit.

Once olive oil starts to smoke, it's dead. Tastes horrible and shouldn't be used. If I'm using oil at high temperatures, I usually go for either rice bran or peanut oil. I'm sure those who have actual qualifications in the industry will let me know if I'm wrong.
There are several grades of olive oil, including ones for frying / wok ;D
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline edavid

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Re: Professional chef turned EE
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2021, 08:43:45 pm »
I wonder if OP will come back, but here is my entry in the steak sweepstakes.

1. preheat nonstick frypan (not your favorite one) in oven to 400F; use an oven thermometer!

2. trim external fat from steak, season with salt and pepper; if steak is very lean, rub one side with olive oil

3. when oven reaches temperature, put steak in frypan

4. for 1.5" boneless steak, cook first side for about 8 minutes; for thinner steak, reduce time; for bone-in, add time

5. reduce oven temp to 350F and flip steak

6. cook for another 6-8 minutes depending on preferrred doneness

I generally cook a 2 person size steak, so I can feel free to cut it in half and see how it's doing; or if that's not possible I cut my own portion in half.  I find this essential to get the steak cooked exactly right.

 

Online langwadt

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Re: Professional chef turned EE
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2021, 10:46:18 pm »
I use a frying pan with a thick bottom which I let heat up on high fire until the olive oil (+ salt) starts to fume a bit.

Once olive oil starts to smoke, it's dead. Tastes horrible and shouldn't be used. If I'm using oil at high temperatures, I usually go for either rice bran or peanut oil. I'm sure those who have actual qualifications in the industry will let me know if I'm wrong.
Yes, that's true. Olive oil shouldn't be allowed to smoke. I use rapeseed oil for high temperatures, which seems to be the most common cooking oil in the UK.

to me hot  rapeseed oil  smells kinda fishy, apparently not everyone can smell it

I've heard avocado oil should be great for high temperatures


 

Offline tszaboo

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Re: Professional chef turned EE
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2021, 11:19:23 pm »
Hi. Congrats. I know you probably felt like a kitchen was a stressful environment, because the pasta was 1 minute late, or the Crème brûlée caught on fire. So get ready for the real stress to begin, where the million EUR project is months late when your last prototype board is on on fire.

Or perhaps you can tell us, how do you cook the perfect steak? I can cook all manner of things, but steak is just something I keep getting wrong.
Sous vide. Its the engineer's way of making steak. By slow cooking it for about two hours (depends on the part of the cow) at 57 degrees (that's how I like it, you may go anywhere between 54 for raw to 60 to well done) and then using the Maillard reaction making a crispy crust in about 30 seconds per side.
There is no guesswork, once the procedure is set and tried, it is reliably producing the same result.
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Offline hvna

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Re: Professional chef turned EE
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2021, 06:52:00 pm »
Welcome! It's always interesting to see people from all different backgrounds and professions here. Everyone has a story to tell.

Will you share with us your "signature dish" (at least one we can make at home)? ;-)

Or perhaps you can tell us, how do you cook the perfect steak? I can cook all manner of things, but steak is just something I keep getting wrong.

I definitely do not have a signature dish, that's for sure. I have worked in every style of cuisine imaginable, and have a favorite from each one.

As far as the steak goes, you guys are engineers, and I won't dumb anything down. I will give you the genuinely perfect steak:

First of all, the cut of steak is up to you, if you like something a little more lean (why would you?) then go for a filet, of a trimmed up strip. Otherwise, go for a real steak, like an untrimmed Ny strip, a ribeye, or even flank or hangar (not your traditional steaks, but surely good enough for all intents and purposes.). This recipe will be for a NY strip.

You should go to your local butcher for a strip, not the super market. That way you can specify exactly which side of the loin you'd like the steak cut from and the thickness. Never get the steak from the sirloin end, as it has a long strip of relatively tough fat and sinew that is difficult to soften during cooking. I would shoot for a 10oz ideally, should be 2~ cm thick.

This recipe will be utilizing sous vide (you asked for the perfect steak, remember?). You want to rub roughly cracked black pepper, fresh thyme (on the stem still) and sliced shallots all over the steak. Use a bit of olive oil to cover the whole thing and then seal it very tightly in a vacuum bag, no air left at all. Then, hopefully you have a thermometer of some sort, you want to pierce through to the center of the steak and seal the spot on the bag with duct tape, which will prevent air from leaking out. If this is tricky, then you can use a bit of foam to hold the seal between the duct tape and the thermometer.

Now, bring a sous vide bath up to about 85C and drop the bag in. Wait fifteen minutes and drop the temperature down to 54C. This is just for sterilization. Drop the sous vide controller down to 54C. Keep a good watch on your thermometer and wait until it hits about 52C internal. At that point, you can let the steak cook for another hour at that temp.

After the hour is up, you can pull the bag out of the tank and shock it in ice water if you wont be eating the steak soon, or you can start heating up a pan. Season the steak heavily with salt and pepper. For the pan, cast iron is great, but anything else should work, just not teflon coating. The best oil for high heat searing is clarified butter, and you'll want to put the steak in as soon as it smokes.

Let the steak sear on each side until when you drag your fingernail over the surface, you can hear an audible scratching sound. That's a good sear.

If you want to bring it up to a temperature other than rare/med rare, put it in a low temp oven (275F) and cook until the center is just warm and that's a medium. You should be able to find steak temp charts online. Let the steak rest at minimum 15 minutes.

That is a perfect steak.
 
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