15 Key Points to Being a Successful Cook

15 Key Points to Being a Successful Cook


Sorgule has years of experience working as a line cook, chef and now educator and his straight to the point advice is perfect for anyone working in a kitchen. 


There are 15 points listed by Sorgule, 15 points to success that all line cooks should consider while working. 


The kitchen profession is one of constant progression and it’s nice to have some of the key factors in sight when planning your career. 



Start with the end game – “I want to eventually be an Executive Chef in a 4-diamonf hotel”, or my goal is to “Own and operate a small restaurant with a focus on traditional American cooking”. This is the carrot, this is where your dream position resides, this is your happy place. Now the question is how to get there.



Once the end is defined, it will become essential to understand what skills and aptitudes, necessary of those positions, are lacking in your repertoire. It may be technical cooking skills and/or the ability to manage a business, lead people, or build a concept, etc. Knowing what you don’t know is likely the most important part of building your roadmap.



What is the absolute best way for you to acquire those skills or aptitudes? Who are the best people to learn from? What is the progression that must be followed to ensure that those skills sink in? How will you know when those skills have become an integral part of your personal brand? It may be classes or even a degree, or it might simply be a strategic plan to work at various restaurants, with certain chefs or managers, and specific environments that are known for mastery of that skill.



Ego without substance is the kiss of death for a chef. Don’t ever give up on your roadmap, but once a skill is mastered know that there is still so much more to learn. You aren’t there yet.



This may be the most important component of your roadmap. Identify the chef, manager, or other professional in the business that cares enough to push you, provide honest critique, help you to adjust and stay the course, and most importantly is there to be an honest coach who will take no prisoners when you stray from the defined course.



Read, study, visit, network, and find those businesses and people whom you admire and whom you want to emulate. What is it about these individuals or businesses that sets them apart? Learn everything you can about them and build their methods into your roadmap.



Great chefs are people of principle. Great chefs have a philosophy about food that is essential in building a brand and setting themselves apart from others. It will be your “stakes in the ground” that make you interesting and help to push your career forward. Your philosophy is part of your signature as a chef.



Sorry, if you really want to stay true to your roadmap then you need to commit beyond your posted schedule. Volunteer to help on special events where you might pick up a new skill, sign up to participate in cooking competitions, attend conferences and workshops, offer to come in on your day off to help the chef with inventory, read cook books and management books, and make the commitment to constantly improve. This is an investment in your future!



Everyone who works in a restaurant has something to offer. Watch how they work, what unique methods they use, how they interact with others, how they organize their station. It all counts! Every observation will help you solve a problem or complete a task at some point in your career.



This should be your daily objective. Even the smallest detail builds on your marketability. How a person holds a knife, how he or she peels a vegetable, organizes a work station, and prioritizes work; how a server opens a bottle of wine, how the porter holds a mop when washing the floor – every day, learn something new.



The team that you want to build in the future is the same as the team that you choose to support today as a cook. Be the team player that you want others to be in your kitchen.



Mistakes are inevitable, frustrating, and sometimes embarrassing. It’s ok to make them – just don’t make them again. Learn how to prevent the same mistakes in the future and then prepare to teach others when you hold that position of chef.



As I have stated in other articles – the sign of a great chef goes beyond the quality of food that he or she is responsible for. The sign of a great chef is one who gives back to cooks, owners, patrons, peers, the industry as a whole, and those who may be less fortunate. Define how you want others to perceive you by being generous.



Your resume is an outline of your brand. Your brand is how others view you and define why anyone would want to hire you, promote you, support you, buy your food, or work in your kitchen. Know how you want to be viewed and work to build this brand through your daily actions.



Being realistic means remaining patient. If you want that carrot (the chefs position) then know that it will take time and dedication.


People are not born a chef. The skills necessary to hold the position are acquired through hard work, patience, and exceptional planning. If you really want to become a chef – you can.






6 Sauce Recipes You Should Know

6 Sauce Recipes You Should Know

Sauces are one of the key foundations to great cooking and having a good grasp of the five basic mother sauces[1] is something that’s still taught in most culinary classes.

The best thing about sauces is that you really can go anywhere with them and this collection of videos from ChefSteps [2]shows some good examples.

The videos cover a number of different sauces: a wonderful BBQ sauce, a quick pan sauce, red wine sauce, piccata sauce, a cheese sauce and a romesco sauce.

There are instructions on how to create each recipe at home and for those wanting to jump in and learn more, there’s a whole heap of wonderful resources over on ChefSteps.[3]

Cheese Sauce

Piccata Sauce

Romesco Sauce

Quick Pan Sauce

Red Wine Sauce


  1. ^ five basic mother sauces (
  2. ^ ChefSteps (
  3. ^ wonderful resources over on ChefSteps. (

The Week in Bites <br> 29 May 2016

The Week in Bites <br> 29 May 2016

This week we kicked things off with a special announcement: Italian chef Andrea Miacola won the Benelux semi-final in the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016[1].

This prestigious contest is a global talent search to find the best young chef in the world.

Learn all about Miacola's winning signature dish and who he battled for the win. Take a look[2].

The Buzz About Bees

Have you ever heard of the terms 'bee ambassador' or 'bee enthusiast'? Neither had we until we participated in a special event held in India dedicated to beekeepers from around the world.

It was a fun occasion to sample honey from different parts of the subcontinent and discover hidden gems from exotic locales that span the globe.

Read all about our sweet adventure[3].

In the blog

This week in the blog we brought you 7 tasty uses for stale bread[4], 49 drinks to try during your travels[5] and a peek inside a newly opened French cheese store[6] in NYC.


  1. ^ S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 (
  2. ^ Take a look (
  3. ^ Read all about our sweet adventure (
  4. ^ 7 tasty uses for stale bread (
  5. ^ 49 drinks to try during your travels (
  6. ^ French cheese store (

Mendoza Wine Tour: 6 Wineries to Try

Argentina may have lost the world cup final but they are well and truly winning when it comes to wine, and Mendoza is continuing to make it’s mark in some exciting new ways.

From the classic malbec to the resurgence of cabernet franc and the bonarda grape, both new and old school wineries are at the forefront of a new boom in premium winemaking, and there is no better place than the foothills of the Andes to explore the wonderful world of wine, but with so many good bodegas to choose from (over 1200), it can be hard to know where to start…

Av Belgrano 1194, 5500.

Wine is complex beast, altitude, age of vine, type of oak barrel and grade of toast, the soil, yield, blend, climate, and the humble grape, all contribute to give each wine it’s own character and identity. If like me you know a good wine when you taste it, but you don’t know what makes a wine great, then your first stop should be the Vines of Mendoza tasting room, where you can sample an array of excellent wines and learn some insider tips from the experts.

As Emilcé, my wine guide explains, whilst pouring the first glass of torrontés (a varietal of wine solely produced in Argentina) from their Recuerdo range. “It’s all about memory”…

Mendoza Wine Tour: 6 Wineries to Try

“When you smell and taste a wine it stirs memories, the smell of yeast might remind you of your grandmother baking bread, or if your a horseman (or a belt fanatic), you might detect hints of leather, It’s all about personal association."

The torrontés has hints of melon, honey, pineapple, peaches and jasmine. It’s fragrant, smooth and citrusy. It reminds me of sitting by a river on a summers day.

We glide through a malbec: Petit Fleur 2010, produced by Monteviejo and world renowned winemaker Marcelo Pelleriti, (with hints of blackberries, overripe black olives and a touch of spice, gained from 12 months in French oak). A Las Perdices 2011 Bonarda Reserva (with oaky smokiness, higher tannins, dark caramel chocolate, and dare i say, a hint of leather?). A 2010 Gran Cabernet Franc. (Lots of red and green pepperiness, not as full bodied as the malbec, earthy, with a dash of cloves and a long, smooth, aftertaste. It reminds me of christmas). And a 2011 Gran Pinot Noir from Pulenta wines (half way between a torrontés and a malbec, fresh and lighter bodied, with a hint of sweet chocolate).

Achaval Ferrer - Calle Cobos 2601, Pedriel (5509)

Mendoza Wine Tour: 6 Wineries to Try

Taste buds prepped it’s time to explore the terroir. Achaval Ferrer, located in Luján de Cuyo, 45 minutes drive from Mendoza through stretching vineyards, is, in relative terms, the new boy on the block. The winery started in 1998 and has quickly established itself as a leader in the new wave of Argentinean winemakers, under the guide of winemakers Roberto Cipresso and Santiago Achaval.

Oozing elegance and sophistication they specialise in 4 distinct Malbecs and their Quimera blend, (a blend of malbec, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and a splash of petit verdon) all of which have received high ratings from renowned wine connoisseur; Robert Parker.

“To us the plant is 90% of the wine, the age of the vines are key to the process”, Felipe, my guide tells me. (They only use old vines, 90-114 years old, the older the vines, the more terroir you taste).

“We cut our clusters a lot (up to 80%, the norm is no more than 50%) in order to create wines that have more depth and a unique expression, malbec needs to suffer, to stress, to feel the heat, the cold. It has to work hard to pull the nutrients and water from the ground, so you can taste the roughness of the soil, the terroir, the clay”.

Wines to try: Quimera 2009, Finca Mirador 2011, Finca Altimira 2009.

Nieto Senetiner - Guardia Vieja, Mendoza

Mendoza Wine Tour: 6 Wineries to Try

A short drive from Achaval Ferrer in Vistalba, Nieto Senetiner is a picturesque colonial vineyard, and one of the oldest and most well known wineries in Argentina.

Established by Italian immigrants in 1888, they now produce an immense 16 million litres of wine a year, and in the past 10 years have turned their attention to creating some interesting sparkling wines, made from pinot noir, (a grape usually reserved for reds, which gives their bubbly a slightly sweeter and less stringent taste than some of the more traditional chardonnay bubbly,) and it's one of the only vineyards where you can taste a malbec rosé, made in acacia barrels.

It’s also not too shabby a place to stop and enjoy a lunchtime assado or some traditional empanadas Argentinas along with your favourite wine, made by their excellent in house chef, and served on the veranda of the elegant Villa Blanca, overlooking the grounds of their ripening vineyards.

Wines to try: Brut Nature Extra Brut, Gran Cuve Extra Brut, Malbec Rose.

Carmelo Patti - San Martin 2614, Mayor Drummond, Lujan de Cuyo

Mendoza Wine Tour: 6 Wineries to Try

Google "Carmelo Patti" and the word legend appears a lot, and as soon as you arrive at his charming little bodega, located in the garage of his home in the small town of Mayor Drummond you’ll see why. Carmelo’s passion for this work is infectious, and his reputation as an expert winemaker is second to none.

“Hola Como Estas, entrar por favour!” He shouts with a big smile. Carmelo personally greets and shows all his guests around himself, and is as well known for his hospitality and love of life as his excellent wines.

He is a traditional grass-roots, old school, winemaker, everything is natural, there is no management of temperature or humidity. "There’s no need to change the temperature in my garage, everything is perfecto!” he says, and once you taste his wines, you’ll tend to agree.

His converted garage has 6 concrete fermenting tanks and 2 manual presses, paint is pealing off the walls, there is wine on the floor, and it’s cluttered with hoses and barrels. It’s untidy, simple, and like his wines, authentically perfect.

Wines to try: Cabernet Sauvignon, Gran Assemblage, Malbec

Diamandes - Clodomiro Silva S/N Vista Flores Tunuyan

Mendoza Wine Tour: 6 Wineries to Try

The newly built Diamandes (a pun on the words Diamond and Andes) winery would make the perfect setting for the next bond villain’s hideout. “Designed with a minimalist concept” by architects Mario Yanzón and Eliana and set a stones throw from the Andean mountains in Valle de Uco, it’s a place where attention to detail is everything.

From the steel diamond sculpture that points to the centre of winery overlooking the King Arthuresque round table in the heart of the bottling room, and lights that project diamonds on the floor of the sparkling steel fermenting tanks, a tour through this modern, gadget filled, wine fortress won't fail to impress.

Run by the French Bonnie family the focus is to produce “Argentinian wines with a french touch”. With a philosophy to build something from the ground up, the first vines were planted in 1999. This is a fresh, a high-tech, modern bodega, with an eye on the future, though they are already producing wines of note, with their Gran Reserve 2008 Vintage receiving 92 points from Robert Parker.

Wine to try: Viernes, Gran Reserve 2008 Vintage, Perlita Malbec 2010.

Gimenez Rilli

Mendoza Wine Tour: 6 Wineries to Try

1200 metres above sea level and 12 mins drive west of Diamandes is the boutique bodega of the Gimenez Riili brothers, who come from 3 generations of Mendoza winemakers, dating back to when their grandfather planted the first family vineyard in 1945.

Pablo (Gimenez Rilli), who is also one half of the Vines of Mendoza project tells me; “My family started out producing table wines but when the crash of 1980 came we moved from Maipu to Valle de Uco and began making premium, low yield, high concentration wines… We have young vines but because of the terroir and the altitude we get great complexity from them”.

This is a quintessentially classic bodega, set amongst barren, rocky vineyards overlooking the Valle de Uco. Jeff Lewis, my personal guide takes me on an encyclopaedic journey through some of their finest grapes, trying them in three stages; in tank fermentation (they harvested 2 weeks ago) and barrelled, before retiring to the veranda to sample the finished product. “It’s like a person, you can meet them at one stage in their life, but if you meet them at three different stages of their life you understand them much better”. How very true.

Wines to try: Syrah, Cabernet Franc (straight from the Barrel) Malbec 2011, Cabernet Franc 2012.


How To Use Turmeric To Flavor Your Foods

Common in India and the Middle East, turmeric[1] still remains a mystery spice to many cooks in the West. Knowing how to use turmeric can be tricky at first but there's really nothing to be intimidated about.

The main thing you need to know about turmeric is that it loves fat. That's because curcumin, the active ingredient responsible for this spice's antiseptic, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties, is only soluble in fat - not water. So if you want to get the most out of turmeric you'll have to blend it with a fat such as oil, butter or dairy.

Turmeric may be purchased fresh (more on that here[2]) or in powder form. Just remember that the dried spice is three times more potent than the fresh version so adapt recipes accordingly, and learn how to use turmeric in everyday dishes so you can enjoy its myriad of health benefits.

In Indian dishes, this spice is added at the beginning of the cooking process so it has time to cook and release its essential oils. A little goes a long way so a teaspoon will often suffice when cooking for 4 to 6 people.

Add it to the pot when sautéing aromatics such as onions, garlic and ginger in some oil. It is delicious in stews, soups and rice and meat dishes such as these chicken tikka patties[3].

How To Use Turmeric To Flavor Your Foods

You can also use turmeric when blanching vegetables to give them a golden color, as is the case in this cauliflower and pea recipe[4].

How To Use Turmeric To Flavor Your Foods

Another popular use for turmeric is to make golden milk. This anti-inflammatory elixir is easy to make and great for people with arthritis. Here's a great recipe from Nutrition Stripped[5]- it contains black pepper which helps the body absorb curcumin. 

You can add turmeric to virtually any dish, from veggie stir fries to soups, stews and meat dishes. In Latin cooking, turmeric makes a great substitute for artificial colorings in yellow rice. Try it and let us know how you like it.

Follow Fine Dining Lovers on Facebook[6]


  1. ^ turmeric (
  2. ^ here (
  3. ^ chicken tikka patties (
  4. ^ cauliflower and pea recipe (
  5. ^ Nutrition Stripped (
  6. ^ Follow Fine Dining Lovers on Facebook (