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The movie ‘Burnt’ and the real life inside a Kitchen

A couple of weeks back, I finally saw the movie Burnt. Released in the year 2015, Burnt is about the life of a two-star Michelin chef Adam Jones (played by Bradley Cooper) who is trying to get a 3rd Michelin star to become, as they say in the movie Yoda of the kitchen world.

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Image copyright: https://www.foodism.co.uk/features/marcus-wareing-burnt-cook-like-chefs/

The events in the movie inspired me to write this article today to tell you about my piece of heart, which always stays inside the kitchen. Commercially and critically, this movie did not get that kind of praises what Chef (2014) got. However, from a different angle, I enjoyed the movie more than the Chef. Those who have not seen Chef yet, this movie is about another chef (played by Jon Favreau) who quits his job to start his food truck and eventually comes back to success.

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Chef movie poster

Lot of you would debate on why I think Burnt was better than the Chef. To explain that let me give you the example of the two great boxing movies of my time. Rocky V/S Raging Bull. Now rocky is an inspirational story of an Italian boxer, who despite everything he does is an idealistic husband, a friend, and a gentleman. The crowd loves those idealistic types. On the other hand, the Raging Bull is the story of Jake La Motta who is a great boxer but will never be a heavyweight champion because of his bone structure. The anger he has inside the ring passes on to his social life making him against his girlfriend or best friend. In one of the sequences, he enjoys hitting his best friend, solely, because he throws a better punch. The movie explores the underbelly of boxing similar to what Burnt does for the kitchen.

In simple words, Kitchen means Chaos. Have you ever wondered why they put a ‘do not enter’ sign on the soundproof kitchen doors in every restaurant? Not because the guest might wander inside, but the reason they make those heavy soundproof doors in every restaurant is to stop those beasts with knives coming out. There is nothing charming to the life inside a kitchen. There’s shouting, howling, and swearing and somehow it just becomes part of your life.

Sometimes I do ask myself, why do I do 17 hours shift every day, for 26 days a month, to put food for people I will probably never see in my life? The answer to is that I am not doing this at all for the person who is eating the food. I do this for the person who is standing left or right to me who is somehow showing similar craziness as I am.

I mean, we Kitchen people are seriously crazy. Why would anyone in his right sense of mind do what we do every day?

Why we have to buy meat from the butcher when frozen meat is available? Why we have to peel potatoes the same way since the 1920s?  Why do we have to marinate the meat for exact 12 hours and follow the original recipe, which was created in the 18th century when there was no zip pouch available? There is no reason for all of the madness. The kitchen is full of these stories. These mad people who get cussed by people day in and out and still show their faces the next day. I believe this madness pushes us towards greatness.

I loved the movie Burnt because of the madness portrayed in the script. Minus the food wastage, of course. Throwing food is a cardinal sin. Period. There’s no escape to it. If you screwed the recipe, you have to eat it yourself. There’s no second way out of it. After all, there’s no ‘Sandwich approach’ to feedback inside the Kitchen. I learned this word from my brother who works for a corporate. The sandwich approach means putting a negative feedback between layers of positive feedback. Nope, simply doesn’t work in the Kitchen.

The kitchen works like an Army, and why shouldn’t it be? After all, the kitchen hierarchy was created by a retired French army personal Chef Auguste Escoffier who called it as Brigade de Cuisine for organizing hierarchy in the Kitchen. And boy, he created something. Ever since the inception in the 14th century, every commercial kitchen follows the rule. Respect the Chef is the underlying code of the kitchen. You have to follow his lead and bring justice to his ideas, that’s teamwork for us. This was clearly evident in the film Burnt. Adam Jones, our protagonist, was clearly on a warpath and his comrades were fearlessly following him.

Well, the movie ended with Adam realizing there are bigger things to do than getting a 3rd Michelin star. Becoming a good human being for one. A better leader maybe. As I conclude this article, I look back at my career which started in the year 2007 when I was told to chop 20 Kilos of onion on day 1 for reasons unknown. It was some crazy times and I loved every second of it. I miss those moments dearly and I would do anything to go back to that times again. I would urge each one of you to get to know the chef from your favorite restaurant. Talk to him for once to understand what he goes through every day to do his job and to bring some happy memories for you. Burnt, in my book, is all aces. To conclude, all I would say that to become a great chef in our lives, each one of us in the kitchen did the same struggle Bruce Wayne did when he left his castle to become Batman.

 

Prawn Salt n Pepper Easy Recipe

Cuisine : Chinese

Serves : 2 people

INGREDIENTS:

  • Headless clean Prawns 25 pcs
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Garlic chopped 4 tbsp
  • Onion Chopped 1 pc
  • Green chilly chopped 2 pcs
  • Spring onion chopped 2 tbsp
  • Vegetable oil for frying and cooking
  • Corn flour 50 GMs

METHOD:

  1. Wash the prawns and dust them with corn flour
  2. Take oil in a pan, heat it and then fry the prawns till golden, then keep aside fo straining of oil
  3. Take a thick bottom pan, add oil, chopped garlic, onion and chilli, sauté for 5 min
  4. Then add salt and pepper, after that add the fried prawns into it, toss them well so that prawns get flavour of salt and pepper properly
  5. Serve hot with garnish of spring onion

CHEF TIPS:

  • Cleaning of prawns is very necessary with open water
  • While dusting them with corn flour make sure it covers every part
  • The oil should be hot else the prawns will leave the flour coating
  • Tossing should be simultaneously with the frying so that the prawns remain crispy and hot

Grilled Sole Fish on bed of Spinach Rice Easy Recipe

Cuisine : Continental

Serves : 2 people

INGREDIENTS:

  • Sole Fish Fillet 500 GMs
  • Salt to taste
  • Black Pepper to taste
  • Red Chilli powder 10 GMs
  • Dry Oregano, Dry Basil to taste
  • Chopped Garlic 2 tablespoon
  • Olive oil 3 tablespoon
  • Rice 100 GMs
  • Spinach 200 GMs
  • Cherry Tomato for Garnish
  • Lemon 2 pieces

METHOD:

  1. Marinate the Sole Fillet with salt, black pepper, dry oregano, dry basil, red chilli powder, lemon and olive oil
  2. While you marinate coating of all the ingredients on fish is must, every ingredient should stick to the fish.
  3. Keep aside for 20 min minimum before cooking it
  4. Take a Pan, heat it, add olive oil, then chopped garlic, then start grilling the Fish, it will take around 10-15 min to cook the fish on Slow Flame
  5. For Spinach Rice, take a thick bottom pan, add olive oil, then chopped garlic and then add chopped spinach into it
  6. Add salt, pepper, dry oregano and basil into the pan, when you see it’s cooked add water in the pan. Let the water boil fully then add the Rice.
  7. Keep cooking the rice till it’s fully cooked, check the salt add if required
  8. For the plating, take rice on the plate first, then place the grilled fish on it and serve it with garish on cherry tomatoes
  9. Serve hot

CHEF TIPS:

  • Marinate the fish nicely before grilling
  • While grilling heating of pan is important else fish can stick to the bottom of the Pan
  • You can also serve this with sauté veggies if you don’t wanna eat it with rice
  • You can serve it with Mustard sauce too

Cheesy Malai Broccoli Easy Recipe

Cuisine: Indian Fusion Starter

Serves: 2 pax

INGREDIENTS:

  • Broccoli Medium Size 2 pieces
  • Hung Curd 250 grams
  • Salt to taste
  • White pepper to taste
  • Black pepper powder to taste
  • Cheese Processed or Mozzarella 150 grams
  • Cream 50 grams
  • Garam Masala to taste
  • Ginger & Garlic paste 1 tablespoon

METHOD:

  1. Wash and Cut the Broccoli into big pieces (4 piece of one broccoli).
  2. Then blanch the pieces for 10 min and then soak them in cold water to retain the nice green colour.
  3. Take hung curd in bowl, add salt, pepper, ginger & Garlic paste, garam masala, cream, cheese into it.
  4. Marinate the blanch broccoli for atleast 30 min and maximum 24 hours.
  5. Preheat the oven at 160°C for 15 min.
  6. Then on the baking tray, place the marinated broccoli then add grated cheese on top and bake it for 10 min
  7. Bake till you get golden brown colour.
  8. Serve Hot

CHEF TIPS:

  • Make sure the broccoli pieces don’t break while blanching
  • Blanching is same like boiling just we don’t cook the vegetables fully, 70-80% cooking
  • The hung curd is important so keep the curd on a stainer or Muslin cloth to drain out all the water.
  • Spices you can add according to your taste.

SABUDANA CHEESE BURGER WITH KOTU FRIES

Cuisine : Indian Vrat Food

Serve : 2 Pax

INGREDIENTS:

  • Potato 3-4 pcs
  • Sabudana 100 grams
  • Sendha Namak (Rock Salt) to taste
  • Red Chilli Powder to taste
  • Green Chilli 2-3 pcs
  • Kotu Aataa 50 grams
  • Hung Curd 50 grams
  • Paneer 90-100 grams
  • Tomato 1 pc

METHOD:

  1. Boil the potatoes and grate them
  2. Soak the sabudana for minimum 20 min
  3. Mix the sabudana with boiled potato adding rock salt, chilli powder and chopped green chilli
  4. Shallow fry them after making round patty (like Tikki)
  5. For Kotu Fries. Cut the raw potato into finger shape (Baton Cutting) then dust them with Kotu aata and fry them till crispy
  6. For making the burger, take one sabudana Tikki, put hung curd on the inside, then one slice of paneer, one slice of tomato, add salt and pepper then put another piece of the Tikki to make it like a burger
  7. Serve hot with the fries

CHEF TIPS:

  • Soaking of Sabudana is important so dont miss it
  • Inside of two Tikki you can stuff with veggies and paneer both
  • frying can be deep fry too
  • Use Chips Sona Potato for best results