Follow Cookwork on Twitter
Follow Cookwork on Facebook

hot Topics

round table

RECIPES FORUM Recipes & Substitutions

Thumb_picture_041 ChefCody 44 posts

I was thinking about following recipes, something of which I rarely do, and I came to a conclusion.  Unless it is a foreign technique to me, I rarely follow a recipe, even the first time.  It seems like I will read a recipe that is interesting to me and if it sparks something in me to cook it, I already have substitutions in my head of what I am going to change in it.  I must be getting more set in my ways.  Do any of you have that issue, too?

I am starting to believe that part of what makes a really good chef is having in your head the substitutions that you like and use.  Dont get me wrong I am not making a qualitative judgement in here.  For example, some chefs swear by Kosher salt.  Or some by Sea Salt.  Or some yet by table salt.  Or even some by pink Himilayan salt.  Or Sel Gris.  We could go on, right? Or uses of varied salts in different situations.  Heck, I have seen salt tasting menus.  I think the same applies to any and all things in the kitchen.  I have heard one chef say that he wont use Yukons for gnocchi and I know one chef who will only use Yukons for gnocchi.  Another example is Strawberries, here in Louisiana, we get amazing strawberries.  They taste totally different than the Driscoll’s.  If you use them in a recipe, most likely they will taste far better than someone using Driscoll’s.  Nothing on Driscoll’s.  Same could be said about Creole tomatoes.  Different results. 

My point is that if you are a chef, most likely you change most recipes according to the ingredients that you have grown accustomed to using and recipes become nothing more than ratios and inspiration to you.  Maybe I am just stating the obvious.

Thumb_img_3790-1 knifethrower 13 posts

Chef Cody,

I think that a good deal of what makes us tick as cooks is that urge to tinker. Who among us either follows a recipe to the letter from a cookbook or makes the EXACT dish on the line that the cook next to them makes? (Ever heard, “Oh, Bob is on the line tonight- his shrimp is awesome.”?)


I think substitutions that are made for the celebration of an ingredient or to enhance another flavor are a sign of genuine care for the dish and diner. Using a flavorless tomato, a commercial egg, a lower cream brie…this all makes for a hollow dish and I doubt anyone would be proud to serve it.


When I cook at home, rarely does a dish come out the same way twice- The basics are there, the ratios are appropriate, but the excitement parts usually differ, often according to season (or temptation).

Icon_missing_thumb Pizzaguy 5 posts

Chefs.. I never follow a recipe unless baking. I do follow the basics set down inside written guideline. There is always more of this..less then that.. Hey if it’s not good I eat it and the costs.. But it does someday become what I want it to be..

Thumb_me%20at%20work daunp 1 post

I use formulas when I am making a new dish the first couple of times just to get the idea in my head, from then on it’s pretty much anything goes. I am a baker, so measurements are sometimes required, but not always. Lately, I have been experimenting with new ways to sweeten dishes without the use of Splenda and other artificial means. It has really been a fun and strange journey but the results are finally comming together.

Thumb_screen%20shot%202009-12-11%20at%202 christian wa... 324 posts

You provide the skill, Cookwork provides the inspiration.

@All Hello Cookwork members!

We invite you to search more recipe inspirations
here at Cookwork and on Kraft Foodservice.  Cookwork is a great place
to store and share all of your recipes and menu inspiration.  We have
included this link so that you may find these resources.  Many of us may not follow recipes to the tee, but the flavor profiles and techniques are tools we need to stay fresh. Stay engaged!

created on: 12/09/10   Kraft Foodservice: For more recipes and menu inspiration

Thumb_6494_1090089054099_1282665243_30237887_257106_n-1 Sunshine Est... 35 posts

Are you serving brains, livers, and kidneys in your restaurant? Read Cookwork’s featured article: Brains, Kidneys And Liver, Oh My! (link) and see if you can work out recipe/s with such ingredients.

Thumb_063 blacksheep 87 posts

For the most part, I look at recipes/dishes for inspiration. I find this more so when I’ve run into a mental block. The dishes I create start at the market, my butchers and my fish guy. Living in Central America can create opsticals from time to time. You cannot always get what you are looking for on a regular basis. However, the things I can get are items not found in the States on a regular basis or at all. Recipes guide me to ideas where I can substitute ingredients and incorporate my style. I find that most recipes I look at have items I would not use in them anyway.


As far as writing recipes, that is a different story. I tend to write a recipe over the course of three preparations on a new dish. Simply for the purpose of having a basic guideline. This allows me to remember what the hell I did and keeps me from straying to far off a dish that works just fine. If I don’t write it, I can sometimes try to fix something that just ain’t broke.

Log in to reply to this topic

RECIPES FORUM Recipes & Substitutions
Spinner Loading