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Do cakes have to be from-scratch to qualify as gourmet? - Page 2

post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnieCahill

For example, I know there are people in my area who think that Red Lobster or Outback Steakhouse is fine dining.



Remarkable. I would put those two establishments no higher than Marie Callender's or Mimi's (and probably lower).

But at the same time, I would assert that strict dress codes do not make a restaurant "fine dining," and that snooty, snobbish, snot-nosed wait-staff can ruin a restaurant.

What makes a restaurant fine dining, as I see it, is good food, wait-staff that respect the customers, and kitchen staff that understand and respect the food.

Sadly, on more than one occasion, I've gone into a restaurant, ordered a plate of prime rib, medium, and received something with grill marks. That shows absolutely no understanding of the most basic thing that makes prime rib prime rib: it is a roast, not a steak.It should taste like a roast, not a steak. If I'd wanted a steak, I'd have ordered a steak.

And if I walk into a restaurant, and choose to wash down my dinner with a glass of water (no lemon), and a glass of milk (preferably arriving within a couple of minutes of when the entree arrives), rather than with wine (I'm a teetotaler), I expect my beverage order to be taken care of without any question other than maybe "whole, skim, or low-fat." I don't expect a snot-nosed snob looking at me as if I were from another planet. And if I ask for my meat "medium," it does not mean "medium rare," and it certainly doesn't mean "black-and-blue."

At any rate, though, the closest I've gotten to baking a cake from scratch is one I baked, a long time ago, from a recipe on the back of the Bisquick box. I find that decent quality mixes taste pretty good to begin with, and can work very well as a starting point for something more ambitious (e.g., my strawberry marble cake).

James H. H. Lampert
Professional Dilettante

Web site: http://www.hbquik.com/jamesl

Flickr "baked goods" set http://flic.kr/s/aHsjvZvdTh

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James H. H. Lampert
Professional Dilettante

Web site: http://www.hbquik.com/jamesl

Flickr "baked goods" set http://flic.kr/s/aHsjvZvdTh

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post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by hbquikcomjamesl

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnieCahill

For example, I know there are people in my area who think that Red Lobster or Outback Steakhouse is fine dining.



Remarkable. I would put those two establishments no higher than Marie Callender's or Mimi's (and probably lower).

But at the same time, I would assert that strict dress codes do not make a restaurant "fine dining," and that snooty, snobbish, snot-nosed wait-staff can ruin a restaurant.

What makes a restaurant fine dining, as I see it, is good food, wait-staff that respect the customers, and kitchen staff that understand and respect the food.

Sadly, on more than one occasion, I've gone into a restaurant, ordered a plate of prime rib, medium, and received something with grill marks. That shows absolutely no understanding of the most basic thing that makes prime rib prime rib: it is a roast, not a steak.It should taste like a roast, not a steak. If I'd wanted a steak, I'd have ordered a steak.

And if I walk into a restaurant, and choose to wash down my dinner with a glass of water (no lemon), and a glass of milk (preferably arriving within a couple of minutes of when the entree arrives), rather than with wine (I'm a teetotaler), I expect my beverage order to be taken care of without any question other than maybe "whole, skim, or low-fat." I don't expect a snot-nosed snob looking at me as if I were from another planet. And if I ask for my meat "medium," it does not mean "medium rare," and it certainly doesn't mean "black-and-blue."

At any rate, though, the closest I've gotten to baking a cake from scratch is one I baked, a long time ago, from a recipe on the back of the Bisquick box. I find that decent quality mixes taste pretty good to begin with, and can work very well as a starting point for something more ambitious (e.g., my strawberry marble cake).




I like your style, James. I love a tall glass of milk with my meal, and and despise snobbery. I also use a mix icon_wink.gif
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Beginners, be sure to parrot advice and get your post count up as fast as you can. After all, it's not what you know, it's what people THINK you know.
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post #18 of 22
First off gourmet is a very subjective term and you won't get a truthful answer because there is no right answer at all. That being said though, I think scratch baking does deserve a more refined title above people using box mixes, not that there is anything wrong with that! But people who bake from scratch go through multiple recipes, spend money from their own pockets to test them out, can easily manipulate specific ingredients in the recipe, hold the opportunity to use high quality ingredients, and most importantly my motto as a pastry chef is that "there is perfection in imperfection" meaning that people pay more for things that are made with flaws because there is beauty in mistakes. It gives your product a sense of emotion.

I always get asked this about the restaurant business. 90% of restaurants in my city that call their services "fine dining" or "gourmet" use premade food for most of their dishes and desserts. Sauces from powder mixes, desserts already made ready to bake, it is ridiculous and OFFENSIVE to those people who hold the integrity of food high and proud by using high quality ingredients and passion into their cooking.
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by vgcea

DISCLAIMER: This is not a scratch vs mix thread please.

I'm in pastry school, and I overheard a fellow classmate describing her future plans for a fancy, gourmet cupcake shop. Then she says, "I don't want to bake from scratch though, baking from scratch is so ugh, too much trouble."



Too bad she used the TV shows as her source of bakery information instead of a month's internship in a real bakery.

On TV it looks so quick...just as the CSI shows make the lab chemistry look so simple...but in real life you have to spend years acquiring the manual skills and the mindset to do the repetitive work carefully and efficiently.

I know that culinary schools admit based on your high school transcript but really, they should REQUIRE a month of internship in their program before admission.
post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene

Quote:
Originally Posted by vgcea

DISCLAIMER: This is not a scratch vs mix thread please.

I'm in pastry school, and I overheard a fellow classmate describing her future plans for a fancy, gourmet cupcake shop. Then she says, "I don't want to bake from scratch though, baking from scratch is so ugh, too much trouble."



Too bad she used the TV shows as her source of bakery information instead of a month's internship in a real bakery.

On TV it looks so quick...just as the CSI shows make the lab chemistry look so simple...but in real life you have to spend years acquiring the manual skills and the mindset to do the repetitive work carefully and efficiently.

I know that culinary schools admit based on your high school transcript but really, they should REQUIRE a month of internship in their program before admission.



I think the CIA - Culinary Institute of America requires I think 6 months of previous work in your desired field in order to apply.
post #21 of 22
Hmm... I always thought the definition of "gourmet" was "expensive."
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post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by BabyGerald

Hmm... I always thought the definition of "gourmet" was "expensive."



Haha! I think you're right!
Beginners, be sure to parrot advice and get your post count up as fast as you can. After all, it's not what you know, it's what people THINK you know.
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Beginners, be sure to parrot advice and get your post count up as fast as you can. After all, it's not what you know, it's what people THINK you know.
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