What Makes A Good Cook?

Jun 27, 2015

This week, The Food Guys are wondering what makes a good cook. Greg's got criteria. If you can reproduce a tasty dish reliably, so that you leave your guests wanting more,  you rate.

"I can taste the end result; I know what I'm after and I do my best to get that result. You have to learn about taste and what good taste is." 

For novice cooks, Greg recommends finding a good cookbook and following its recipes to the letter. With experience comes the ability to adapt a recipe, in order to emphasize a spice or minimize a bad flavor. 

Jon thinks empathy, imagination, the ability to absorb information and willingness to experiment, as well as a reliable memory are all assets to the would-be good cook.

If he were hiring a restaurant chef, which tasks would Greg assign to the candidates, in order to test their skills?

1. Roast a chicken. Its skin should be crispy, its flesh tender on leg, thigh, and breast.
2. Bake a knockout pie pastry, flaky and tender.
3. Whip up a souffle.

Jon observes: "Have you ever noticed that almost all the good cooks you know are dissatisfied with what they just cooked?" "They should listen to Julia Child: never apologize," says Greg.

(Broadcast: "The Food Guys," 6/21/15 and 6/25/15. Listen weekly on the radio at 11:50 a.m. Sundays and again at 4:54 p.m. Thursdays, or via podcast.)