For home cooks, trying to prepare a meal that looks like it came out of a restaurant kitchen can be an exercise in futility. This isn’t because restaurant chefs went to cooking school and home cooks didn’t, or because of the presentation. The reason is that restaurant kitchens are completely different than home kitchens. Different and much better equipped.
Reasons Why Restaurant Kitchens are Better than Yours (Slideshow)
Take a peek behind the swinging doors next time you’re out to dinner, and you’ll see right away that there’s a whole lot more going on in there than you might have realized. There are different cooks at different stations, responsible for different dishes (or different components of the same dish); there are high-powered industrial ovens and ranges; there’s an expeditor whose job it is to ensure that everything makes its way to the customer at the exact moment it’s hot and ready. The general atmosphere is one of controlled chaos.
While the general atmosphere in your home kitchen might be one of controlled (or not-so-controlled) chaos as well, odds are it’s not run anything like a restaurant kitchen. And that’s perfectly acceptable; home kitchens aren’t supposed to be run like restaurant kitchens. But there’s another important difference between professional kitchens and even the most upscale home kitchen: hardware.
The tools of the trade are completely different when the goal is to turn out expertly crafted dishes on an industrial scale. The knives are sharper, the fires are hotter, and there are trained professionals around whose job it is to fine tune the cooking, plating, and delivery processes. Plus, professional cooks always have the right tool for the job, be it an immersion circulator or a pair of tweezers. So don’t fret when your home cooked dish doesn’t look like it came out of a professional kitchen. Read on to learn all the reasons you can relax about your less-than-photo-worthy meals, because in so many ways, restaurant kitchens are just better than yours.
They Have a Salamander
A salamander (some cooks call it a “sally” for short) is essentially a high-powered industrial broiler, and it’s one of the most important tools in a restaurant kitchen with no real counterpart in home kitchens. What makes salamanders different from oven broilers? Well, they get ripping hot, and because food is able to be placed just inches from the heat source, it browns perfectly in seconds. Essential for making everything from melted cheeseto seared steaks, the salamander is a vital and standard component of restaurant kitchens.
The Knives are Sharper
Dull knives don’t just cut food poorly; they’re also a lot more dangerous, because ’they're more likely to slip while you’re cutting, which could leave you in major trouble. When was the last time you sent your knives out to be professionally sharpened? Most restaurants have their knives sharpened at least once a week.