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Stella Culinary School

Oct 9, 2018

I'm back with two in-depth questions regarding the F-STEP Curriculum to answer.

The first one from Dave:

"I’ve been through your book, and I love the idea that I might be able to learn to cook without using recipes, something I hate doing and something that stresses me out in the kitchen. I had already decided that recipes don’t work for me, and I realized I am still missing steps, but I had only added the prep stage to my process, not the F-STEP steps, so your book has expanded my thinking, which is good.

However, everything I’ve read is all theory and as you know, its not possible to learn anything from just theory. I am wondering why there are no practical examples, or run-throughs to demonstrate how the entire process works in stages, and in particular how your worksheet is supposed to function. It looks like something you would give your in-class students along with an explanation, you’ve included it in your book, but I couldn’t find the explanation.

Is this some sort of homework? Do I have to figure this out for myself? It’s like my old math teacher telling me there is a great formula to calculate something, but then not showing me how it works using real numbers.

It would be good to have some real examples of these “childhood” favorites, and other popular dishes, what their flavor profiles are and then run them through your F-STEP stages of technique, execution etc…, following your worksheet, to show how they are completed, the whole process beginning to end but in practical demo mode.

To be honest I’m slightly disappointed and not sure what to do next. I can see its the answer to my cooking problems, but how do I implement it?

By the way, I understand that I am not in your normal group of people who already love cooking and are looking for a different approach. I hate cooking, I think recipes are the most illogical thing ever invented, which is why I am looking for an alternative. There are many people like me, but all my friends who love cooking, and love reading recipe books don’t understand the problem, so as a professional chef I might be a new breed you’ve yet to meet. To let you know how much research and thinking I’ve done, I am halfway through building an AI driven voice chatbot to talk to me, as a guide, step by step as I am cooking. I can see that I have missed some vital steps as I mentioned before. So one of the reasons I would like to understand your worksheet better, is because I am wondering if I could include the theme of it in my chatbot, and make the process more complete. Let me know if you are interested, because right now it is a personal project, but who knows. I am a professional chatbot developer, so this is not a hobby :-)"

Second question is from Cher:

"I've now watched and read the sections of flavour + sauces. I have question regarding to how it might improve a sauce I make frequently- it's a lentil tomato sauce.
In my opinion it's a reduction type sauce, according to your description of modern sauces.

These are the main ingredients PASTA SAUCE:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (3 cloves yield ~1 1/2 Tbsp)
  • 1/4 cup carrots (very finely diced)
  • 1/4 cup diced tomatoes (optional)
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce*
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 pinch sea salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes (divided)
  • 1 Tbsp dried or fresh oregano
  • 1 Tbsp dried or fresh basil
  • 1-2 Tbsp sweetener of choice
  • 1 Tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup dry red lentils (rinsed in cool water for 1 minute)- cooked in 2 cups water

As you can see, there's no stock, and also there isn't a deglazing step in the recipe.  According to your video on sauces, a tomato sauce base should have tomatoes + stock + roux. 

  • So my question is, would it be better/ appropriate to add a stock, deglazing step, and roux to the recipe?
  • If so, what kind of stock base should it be?
  • Veggie, chicken? When should I deglaze?
  • I would assume that it would be after frying the aromatics? (onions, garlic, carrots etc)
  • What should I deglaze with? When should I add the stock and roux?
  • Would it be after adding the tomato sauce?"