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Open Office Hours

Barton Seaver - Open Office Hours

This event was on Tuesday, August 30, 2022 at 11:00 am Pacific, 2:00 pm Eastern

Join Chef Barton Seaver in his virtual office as he welcomes all of your questions. This event was created for you and we encourage you to ask anything – from cooking techniques to c… Read More.

Recorded

Question:

Can you give me some practical advice on batch cooking? I understand the concept, but am struggling with ways to make it happen. Any tips or guidance? Thanks!

— Mitch Miglis

Answer:

You know off the top I would say that there's a really great book on batch cooking by Victor Gielisse g i e l i s s e Victor Gielisse. He is one of the Deans of Vice President. I believe it's Culinary Institute of America. He was one of my Deans when I was teaching there a great man a certified Master Chef in the ACF program in just a hell of a cook. He is a really great book on bash cooking for the professional chef that has a lot of great lessons for for anybody interested in food. So I would first suggest that but you asked me and what You know what tips and advice that I have I well first of all, it depends on how big of a batch. And also how complex the cooking is. So for example, I recently cooked a dinner for about 300 people that had Ratatouille on the menu. No attitude is actually a fairly complex culinary creation. In terms of just the mechanisms of bringing it all together sure. You can just take all your vegetables and throw them in a pot and saute them which is basically gonna steam them more than anything else if you're using too much. And you're not really ever going to develop flavors and basically at the end of it you have okay, so it taste less steamed vegetable melange great. That's not that's not Ratatouille to me. Ready to eat to me in a batch cooking. I'll say okay. What am I trying to get here? Well, I'm trying to get a little bit of color on the onions to really develop that sweetness. I'm trying to get those zucchini and the yellow squash to release their juices, but not to make them soggy sodden, you know mush, right? I still want them to be a little on al dente the eggplant. What am I trying to do the eggplant? Well, I want it to really suck up that olive oil and really to suck up all of the juices from the other ingredients so that it becomes sort of the binder or the mesh between them all the Tomato the spices whatever else I'm putting in there. What is that supposed to be? Well, I don't want the Tomato to be Raw. Okay. So those are sort of the considerations right? And that's one of the things that I think in batch cooking is so important. For your finished dish. What are the considerations that you you want to take into account, right? If you're just looking at like say basmati rice pilaf or something like that. There's not a whole lot of considerations. Right is it cooked properly is it cooked evenly and as it season evenly, okay, but with something like gratitude that's more complex or say even beef stew Etc anything like this you then have to apply your individual strategies to individual ingredients. And this is where batch cooking I think becomes a little more Progressive and interesting is that you're cooking your onion separate and solo maybe even in small batches as we did for this party of 300. You know, how much onions did I have? I had this much onions that's not all gonna fit in one saute pan. So I did two matches of that right in order to get them exactly where I wanted them to be. And so I did that with each Progressive ingredient and then with the pan left over a bagel Rondo pan. I took more olive oil. I added in some smoked paprika. I added a little bit of coriander. I added in some slivered almonds and I got all of this toasted till the spices were aromatic and abuelians and beautiful. Then I threw in the tomatoes the tomatoes then simmer down so they no longer had that raw flavor to them, but that they were still kind of Juicy and then Everything else went into the pan everything else got mixed and everything met together at just the right time so that within 10 minutes of simmering. Bam there it was everything brought to perfection in the same way as though I was cooking a one-pot, you know, well one small one pot dish for five or eight people Etc. So with that cooking I think that's that's really the takeaway lesson is really considered each ingredient and where that ingredient needs to get to either in a sort of three or four steps on before you mix it with the others or you know, however, whatever you need to do to get that ingredient where it needs to be to the point where you mix them in together and I'll apologize a little bit for some of the plane noise, but there's somebody who's trying to learn how to land a pontoon plane on the just by the dock down there. And I don't think they'd get quite gotten their nerves up to do it and I wish them all the best. But in the meantime, they're just kind of circling the house. So apologies not much I can do about that other than just wish them. Well, right. All right Mitch. Thanks so much for your questions. I appreciate that and Mitch. I believe you might have sent me an email about doing a chillies event coming up sometime soon, maybe a different Mitch, but I'll give you a credit for it. Great idea, you know, we're gonna take that and consideration and we will do a chillies event coming up because I love me some chillies. And yeah, cool. Thanks next appreciate you.
Barton Seaver

Barton Seaver

Chef, Educator, Author

@bartonseaver