Fancy Gets You Nowhere

Feb 9, 2018 | Cooking Tips

When it comes to cooking, leave the fancy to the professionals. A lot of people get caught up in thinking that they should be able to cook like tv chef’s at home. They watch the food network or other cooking shows and think, “Hey! They make that look so easy. I can do that.” If the show is intentionally demonstrating a recipe for you to recreate that’s fine. It’s when you start thinking that you can cook exactly like the people on “Top Chef” that you begin to have an issue. I’m all for trying new things and experimenting with different techniques or ingredients. What I don’t like is when people set themselves up for failure.

Comparing yourself and your cooking abilities to those Chefs you see on tv or in restaurants will lead you nowhere good. These people have trained for years to be in that position and to have the skills that they do. When you start thinking, “I can do that.” or, “She makes it look so easy, it must be” you’re building yourself up to something you can’t live up to. You’re trying to get fancy.

Setting realistic goals and being aware of where your skill level actually falls on the scale will serve you much better than pretending you’re Gordon Ramsay when you can’t even boil water. Being aware of your skills in the kitchen will allow you to consistently grow and develop your abilities.

The reality of cooking is that anyone can do it. Literally, anyone can be taught to cook. Just because anyone can do it, does not mean that anyone can be great at it. You need to decided at what level are you going to be comfortable with your cooking abilities? It might be right now. You may already be fully happy with your culinary abilities and you’re just reading this hoping there is a sweet recipe at the end (there isn’t). If you are reading this because you’re hoping to get better, perfect! I have some advice for you.

Telling yourself that you want to be a better cook is awesome, but what does the journey look like and how will you know when you get there? I think that having open ended goals like this is good. It means that you are always striving to be better. The problem is that they are very difficult to measure. I am a big fan of setting an open ended goal like “I want to be a better cook.” but build that goal on the foundation of much smaller goals. Setting some smaller, more measurable goals will help define both the journey and the outcome. For example, if you say “I want to learn how to make butter chicken.” You can do it. It won’t take you a tonne of time, maybe you’ll have to make it a few times to get it perfect, but you can do it. Once you finally make that butter chicken, you have not only completed your smaller goal, but you have worked towards your major goal of becoming a better cook. In reality you have completed both your goals. You have made the butter chicken, and you have become a better cook.

I think the important part of all of this is to set yourself up for success. Setting actionable smaller goals that align with your skill level, and fall within the framework of your bigger goal, will actually lead somewhere. Imagine that every smaller goal, every small success, is a paving stone that you are using to building a path forward. You can definitely get to the end without them, but the path is going to be muddy, difficult, and treacherous.

If you want to be a better cook, become better at cooking specific things and you will become a better cook overtime. Don’t worry about trying to cook like they do on tv, that is not what home cooking is or should be. Cook things that you want to eat, stay away from the fancy, and set realistic goals that will lead you to becoming a better cook in the end.

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