'kitchen apprentice' on Serious Eats

Kitchen Apprentice: 'Spaghetti'

Cooking is about adapting, an exercise in observation, utilizing all your senses. Every pasta comes with its own set of rules, finicky things to look out for. For the most part, I enjoy learning about each pasta's characteristics and familiarizing myself with their quirks. But I cannot even pretend to like "spaghetti." More

Kitchen Apprentice: Midterm

For a while now, Jeff has been telling me that he would eventually administer an aptitude test of sorts—a pasta practical—to see how far I've come. I would be in charge the entire day, from checking inventory to determining the day's checklist and driving production. I remember laughing the first time he mentioned it: Me, in charge? Surely, you jest. More

Kitchen Apprentice: Getting the Hang of Cavatelli

Even though my triceps and forearms were ready to fall off after coaxing flour into eight batches of cavatelli, it's still one of my favorite things to do in the pasta station. Kneading each batch took me longer than I liked—by the time I wrapped up the last batch for resting, the first was ready to get rolled out—about two hours. More

Kitchen Apprentice: Waste Not

No matter how fabulous the establishment, at the end of a day, a restaurant is a business. In order to maximize profit margins, waste has to be kept at a minimum. At The Restaurant, the sous chefs in charge of ordering take care to purchase the freshest, highest quality produce, whether that entails personal trips to the farmer's market or sourcing dried pastas from Italy. More

Kitchen Apprentice: To Erica

I practically clung to Erica's apron the first day I trailed. She was on the hot station, and was responsible for any fried sides or appetizers that went out with an order. I was sandwiched between her and Mark on garde manger. Those two stations alone commanded more surface area and lowboys than the entire kitchen at the restaurant I'd worked at previously. More

Kitchen Apprentice: Badass Ladies on the Line

Every woman in my family cooks. When I think of my maternal grandmother, I think of the boiled amaranth greens she'd put on top of congee, the iron from their roots bleeding across our bowls. My paternal grandmother was famous for her shizitou, a fist-sized meatball skirted by mushrooms and baby bok choy. More

Kitchen Apprentice: Trial by Lack of Fire

"Behind! Hot!" He set the pot down onto a stovetop at the back of the kitchen and turned to me. "Do you remember how to make this? You better—I'm serious." I couldn't see what was in the rondeau from where I was standing but he spoke with such conviction, it could have been filled with rocks and shoe leather and I wouldn't have dared to say no. More

Kitchen Apprentice: The Sunday Brunch Crunch

Of course, any service can be rough, but several factors can turn Sunday brunch into a minefield for cooks. Parties are usually smaller at brunch so the turnover time for a table can be much shorter than one for dinner. The increase in potential diners, coupled with the fact that brunch is longer than dinner, turns a typically busy (300 covers) service into a marathon where cooks find themselves sprinting (350-430 covers) the entire way. More

Kitchen Apprentice: Becoming a Better Home Cook

Before my apprenticeship, besides baking the occasional birthday cake or roasting turkey for Thanksgiving, the primary use for my oven was for storing muffin pans and a multi-tier steamer. Now, almost everything I cook gets roasted or flashed in the oven at some point. My pasta water gets more salt than it ever used to, and my attempts at fresh ravioli are increasing in frequency. More

Kitchen Apprentice: A Brief Tour of the Kitchen

The organism that is the kitchen cannot perform at its peak when its contributing parts are not performing at theirs; there is nobody in the kitchen who is superfluous during service (with myself being a rare exception), and everyone needs to be moving, searing, boiling, frying, plating to the beat of the same drum. More

New Column: Meet the Kitchen Apprentice

Please welcome our new Kitchen Apprentice columnist "Chris P. Beycon." He (or is it a she? muhaha) is keeping his identity and that of the restaurant confidential, but will be sharing kitchen escapades with us each week. Read more about the experiences of a newbie with a chef's knife. More

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