I was in a pointless but rather fun discussion with a couple of friends of mine the other night. We somehow started debating the idea of 1). restaurant cooking as a sport and 2). physical ratings for cooks - whether or not there is such a thing as physical advantages that make a cook better than another of equal skill level. The hypothetical discussion was really centered on some different examples. For instance, take a physically bigger cook: does he naturally have a physical advantage with butchering that makes him better than a smaller cook with the same experience level? Other examples that we argued included a cook with longer nimble fingers who could be assumed to be “naturally” better at making dumplings/dough shapes.
I’m sure repetition and experience is the ultimate development of talent, but I’m thoroughly convinced that no matter how much time I put in, my hand paws could never put the fine touches on making dumplings like my grandmother’s longer thinner fingers could. Like I said, it was really a pointless conversation, but I thought it’d be kind of fun to make a ratings guide or judging game for cooks. And if you play an EA Sports type game like Madden, you might recognize some of the categories… onwards:
Speed: The basic judge of how fast you can consistently go in a kitchen when it comes to prep, cleaning, mis-en-place, etc..
Endurance: How long you can maintain your speed.
Accuracy: Going fast means nothing, if your cuts look like you were using a hacksaw. Oh yeah, the salmon tastes like cardboard.
Power/Strength: Are you the puny guy that can’t lift the deep hotel pan alone or are you the beefcake that pours out the hot oil every other night?
Agility: How well you juggle multiple pans, navigate behind other cooks/chefs and avoid hot pans running right at you while ducking back and forth in your own station
The Finer Points:
Hands: How well you do peel, cut, catch, mold, press, position and handle items, e.g. the skills to make dumplings, samosas, pinch pie crusts, stretch out pizza
Coordination: Naturally clumsy people are not very useful in the kitchen obviously. Fumbling eggs are bad, fumbling hot trays are worse.
Palate: You might think it tastes right, but too bad everyone else is scraping their tongue over the garbage can.
Touch: No more obvious than the difference between medium and medium rare.
Teamwork: Are you the disgruntled guy watching everyone burn or are you trying to save someone from the weeds?
Awareness: Do you even know who’s in the weeds? Stop leaning on your station, wipe something.
Toughness: Ouch, it burns… or… ouch, it burns so good baby?
Coaching: The ability to coach and the ability to learn and be coached.
Chemistry: Look around - if you don’t like anyone, then in all likeliness, nobody likes you either.
Clutch: When it comes to being on top of your shit during game time, are you the rock or are you the sand? The difference between the guy who walks away when he’s done cleaning or the guy helping everyone else finish at the same time.
Equipment: Your tools, your clothes.
Professionalism: Work is work, play is play. Learn to keep it in the pants buddy.
Appearance: I don’t want to eat the fleas of your pube-y looking beard or your blood stained apron.
Cleanliness: Nails, hands, hair, bodily fluids – the less the better.
Attitude: Go Big or Go Home.
To make a fun profile, tally up your scores on a rating of (1-100) for each category and then divide everything by 2 to get your overall. What do you think your rating is?