Wednesday, September 22, 2010

About Those Tongs.........

I'm guessing over 95% of all professional cooks in this country use "white trash tongs". Most of the cooks in this country don't have the luxury of having a battalion of chefs hunched over plates making them "wonderful" (and room temperature). Professional cooks are faced with a challenge every day and they want to get it done as easily as possible. The tool of choice for a long time has been the cook's tongs. They come in varying lengths, styles and thickness. It is an indispensable tool in my opinion. It seems the fresh crop of chef's have been taught it's a mid-evil instrument that will ruin the food and it should be banished from the kitchen! I say, learn how to use it, then decide for yourself if it's the right tool.

When my mentor Claus Bienek first came to this country he would scoff at my use of the tongs. It took him three months to accept the fact they were a useful tool. You have to know how to use them and respect the product. To ban them is ignorant.

Cooks have a fondness for their tongs. In just about every kitchen I've worked in guys had their favorite tongs. Some were heavier duty, some were longer, some locked, some spread wide while others didn't open as much. Some guys would hide their tongs at the end of the night just to make sure they would be able to use them next shift. Hey, whatever makes you comfortable.

I've used the term "pussy tongs" referring to cheap flimsy tongs or real long ones to keep your arms away from the heat but that's not the same as disrespecting the majority of professional cooks in this country. Cooking is cooking whether it's in some trendy joint in New York or a supper club in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Nothing makes one better than the other.