There is a great book that I recommend for some light reading while traveling or vacationing. “Kitchen Confidential” by Anthony Bourdain. He describes in detail how “the line” is taught and learned while working the kitchen. Tough job, but it can be mastered. Hundreds of things going on at the same time. Orders coming in and flavors being mixed and arranged into a rainbow of dishes.
What most people don’t get about professional level cooking is that is not all about the best recipe, the most innovative presentation, the most creative marriage of ingredients, flavors and textures; that, presumably, was all arranged long before you sat down to dinner. Line cooking – the real business of preparing the food you eat- is more about consistency, about mindless, unvarying repetition, the same series of tasks performed over and over and over again in exactly the same way. The last thing a chef wants in a line cook is an innovator, somebody with ideas of their own that is going to mess around with the chef’s recipes and presentations. Chef’s require blind, near-fanatical loyalty, a strong back and an automaton-like consistency of execution under battlefield conditions.
Folks like Seth Godin, Scoble, Chris Brogan and many others are working the line and taking us along for the ride. Tools such as qik.com are allowing us to peek at what is going on in Davos right now.
But twitter. That’s where you cut your teeth and make the line. Follow the right folks and you will be a master chef in no time. Follow my tweets if you want – I will reciprocate.