The 4-Hour Chef
I know a lot of people aren't very interested in cooking but a lot of people are interested in drinking. (audience laughing) So, I will use this as the gateway drug into all of this. Which is actually kinda how I approach things. So we have a very special guest, a very special guest. A good friend of mine, founder of CreativeLive, Chase Jarvis (applause) Alright.
Also known as your drinkin' buddy.
Also known as my drinking buddy.
He said do you want any, will you doing a segment with me? I'm like, is it a drinking segment?
Yeah, yeah, exactly. I said it will be short. He goes, "I'll just stay, I'll stay, I'll hang around".
First of all, I just pulled a muscle.
Oh yeah? (laughing)
Tryin' to pick your book up.
Pulled your hamstring trying to pick up the book?
Oh. I didn't use the proper technique that I learned yesterday.
Yeah, exactly. Kelly technique. It's a beast.
Nice moves, dude.
I really appreciate it, thanks. He gave me a signed copy and I'm...
gonna put that on my shelf. And, smokin' cool that we're able to package it, is it not, package it with the deal. It was nice.
I'm psyched now.
I'm just gonna put this over here.
So we're gonna do a little, a little drinky drink. And start off with looking at the flavors of two different wines. So we have, we have a white here. Yeah, we covered up the label.
But what I would like to start with is smelling. So let's do that.
Sounds good, do I need to smell it in here or can I smell it out of there?
Uh, in the bottle. Because that's another illustration that we're doing.
Exactly, then here's...
Cheers, yeah. This is usually what we do but we're out of, we don't have enough time to chug bottles.
Alright, cool. So what I would love for you to do is to have a swill of either of these, both of them, one at a time and just share your notes. You do have some vocabulary that a lot of people lack.
This is the sweet one.
But to just tell us about your, your impressions of both wines.
Sure, well the first thing I do, I'm not much of a, like, a wine freak, but I know just enough to be dangerous, and the first thing I do is I like to look at the color.
And, usually against something white. So there's a little bit of white there. And I can, my gut is this is pretty young, most white wines are pretty young, and looks a little sugary but smells great. Did you know that people smell better out of one nostril than the other.
I learned that, some smart wine guy told me that. So my right nostril happens to be better than my left one. So if you ever want to fool me, serve me dinner on this side instead of this side.
And there are some people who have said that it actually switches.
Oh, yeah, like every
Like, like dolphins
10 minutes or something?
sleeping, their hemispheres of their brain. Switching activity.
Mm, that smells good. Am I about to drink this?
No, drink it, please, you're killing me.
Alright. (audience laughter)
When do I get to drink more?
You get to drink more right now, this second. And I'm very interested in not only your initial impressions, but also the contrast.
So do you want me to talk about my initial impressions immediately?
Let's do, let's do both afterwards.
Okay. That is very young, bright, jammy. That's grape juice.
It's not grape juice.
No, it's very, it's, yeah, but I would drink a lot of that very fast.
So how would, what would you say are the (laughs) (audience laughter) Well, I think I know what you're trying to say. We do have two open bottles.
So what do you say, of these two wines, what are the primary differences? Any of the subtleties you can pick out.
Well, one is white and one is red, and I've also heard in taste tests that some people, even with really refined palates, miss the difference of those two things, which is really, really surprising. They taste very young and simple, they're not complex wines. This one has, is it was jammy, is what I would call it. So, like, really fruit forward. It goes down pretty easy. Not very tannic. Like I said, it's more grape juicy, it tastes really...
And it might actually be grape juice.
I'm ready to be fun...
So here's, so these are actually both white wine, and this just has a few drops of food coloring in it. Now, I don't want Chase to feel badly, though. I want to make a point. So, this exact, a very similar test was actually done with wine students in Bourdeau studying to be master sommeliers, and almost all of them failed. Okay, to distinguish that...
I think that, I think I did say they taste very similar, didn't I?
Yeah, young, simple. (audience laughter)
Similar. So, can I ask you a couple questions?
So, one of the things that, the color is really, really unsophisticated.
Like, there's no, there's no, that was the thing to me that made it seem like this is not the bottle that it says it is, is that there is a very uniform color, and usually there's, like, a little it's denser in the middle and lighter on the outside.
Food coloring does that,
I'm going to... (audience laughter)
Is this where you kick me offstage now?
This is where I kick you offstage. But...
Happy to be his mule, anytime. Just as a note, the last time I had him on my show, I, in the middle of the building a photo set, said, okay, your first subject, and a woman about six foot tall in a bikini came out for his first photograph.
My first photo experience ever! Supermodel, go!
This is somewhat,
I feel punked, but this is great. Thank you very much. Could I drink, take both these?
I think we might have, we actually might use that for some of our friends here.
Alright, I'll have, leave both of them for you.
Yeah, my pleasure, buddy.
Alright, man, thanks. (applause) The kitchen is a really fascinating dojo, in a way, for experimenting with human potential, because you get to use all of your senses. And another experiment that you can do, if you want to identify the connection between sight, smell, and taste. Jellybeans, pinch your nose, close your eyes, try two different flavored jellybeans, as long as they're not too spicy, try to tell them apart. Most people won't be able to. And that's because you have effectively, and this is a page in the book, but you have effectively, anybody know how many, how many tastes there are? Anybody? I didn't.
Five, right. So, you have sweet, okay, table sugar, et cetera. You have sour. If you wanted to actually learn that, in terms of isolating the basics, you could use something called citric acid, or sour salt, but lemon juice, vinegar will also work. Bitter. Tonic water, quinine. Everybody's had that experience. Salty, we know salt, we'll talk about that in seconds. Umami. This is one that a lot of people miss. Alright, so this was isolated by a professor named Ikeda in Japan. Umami. Very common in breast milk, that's where I usually get it. Okay, I don't do it, not drinking breast milk. (audience laughter) But it is that sort of meaty, brothy flavor that was then turned into MSG. Alright, so if you look at, let's say, Parmegiano-Reggiano cheese, it's called Italian MSG, because, literally, those white crystals that you sometimes see on the outside? Pure monosodium glutamate. Okay? And, so those are the tastes. Five. Now, in terms of odors, smells? 10,000 plus that you can distinguish. So, this is a huge part of learning to taste, and collecting flavors. So, the story I like to tell is (laughs) I had a really tough time, oh, here's the guy who learns, you know, thousands of vocabulary words, still, I could not remember basil. Basil. So, I have a girlfriend who's a great cook, but I was, "Is this basil?" "No." "Is this basil?" "No." "Is this basil?" "No." (laughs) "What is this?" She'd be, like, "You know this." I'm, like, "No I don't." "Basil." I was, like, "Oh!" Like 20 times, I could not remember flavors. I just couldn't anchor them. I couldn't associate them. And so I began to do a few things, because to cook, to create, and we talked about the connection between creativity in the kitchen and creativity elsewhere, you need to have a certain, at least minimal, vocabulary, right? So this is really 80/20 cooking. That's what I'm gonna cover here. And I'll give you just a couple of tools. But the first thing is collecting flavors and sensations. So, flavor sensations would be, like, astringencies. So, think of, like, tannins. Really overbrewed black tea, you get that kind of, (lips smacking) cottonmouth feel? Get astringency. Hotness, like Anaheim peppers, or, let's say, jalapeño, habanero, which I made the mistake of eating one time when I was at Peter Thiel's house at a party. Bunch of billionaires, fancy cars. I rolled up in my, like, 2004 used Golf. I'm, like, "What's up, buzz?" Like, confused the security guards, went in. And I was really starving, so I bought these pickled vegetables on the way there, and I'm just eating, talking, talking, and then I ate one and was, like, "I don't feel so hot." It was an entire habanero pepper. So, I ran into the kitchen, I'm like, "Help, help, help!" You do not want to use water. So, capsaicin is fat-soluble. It bonds to fat. So, I actually drank cream in the refrigerator, (laughs) and that fixed it. So, like, whole-fat milk. Alright, so, let's, let's take a look at a few things here. Learning how to taste, and this is something, even if you never make a dish, it will improve your experience of food a million-fold. So, the first time I ever enjoyed chicken liver, because I hate chicken liver, I hated chicken liver, was at ABC Kitchen in New York City. And Chef Dan Kluger has a great dish, which is toasted buttered bread, chicken pâté, and then a sage leaf. This isn't, this isn't fried, but he had a fried sage leaf on top. So, typically, you would just go ahead and eat that, good, bad, hot, cold, whatever it might be. What I encourage you to do is, number one, get into the habit of smelling your food like a dog, and we were kidding at one point, because, let's get there. So, smell food like a dog. So, food like a dog sounds like a grunge band out of Seattle. And the first album, I think, was Take My Risk Away, or take your...
And so, first of all, learning to smell your food really intensely before you eat it. 'Cause again, 10,000 different, differentiated smells, five tastes, right? Really utilize smell. And then deconstructing it. So what I started to do, at that meal at ABC Kitchen, is I would have a little bit of the sage leaf first, and then I'd put that aside and I'd scoop, using a spoon, a little bit of the chicken liver, try that separately. Then I'd try the two together. Then I'd try the bread separately. The butter alone. And layer it like that, learn to deconstruct your food. And by doing that, I was able to identify certain flavors and anchor them, like cloves, anchor them to a meal. So I was like, cloves, ah. So, like, kinda Christmas tea. That's my anchor, right? Encoding, we were talking about this. A few other things I want to talk about. Leveraging non-tongue taste. This was a huge one for me. And I had help from researchers, I think it was at the Monell Sense Institute, research institute, but Monell, M-O-N-E-L-L. And they sent, a number of PhDs there, sent me a few papers indicating this isn't the only place that you distinguish flavors, tastes. You actually have taste receptors in your throat, your stomach, as far down as your small intestine. So there are certain flavors I just could not hit. I was in Calcutta, studying Bengali cuisine, where, by the way, the top chef, the highest-rated restaurant in all of India, uses a $20 Victorinox knife, that you could buy at Walmart for 20 bucks. So, we'll get to equipment in a second. But what I ended up doing then was taking, let's say, we have a number of herbs here, different things, probably cumin, and I would take just a small pinch, put it in a small container like this, could be a shot glass, could be a tea glass, doesn't matter. Pour hot water in, let it steep like a tea. Thank you. Swirl it around. That looks really hot. So... (laughs) I'll make the point. Steep it, swirl it, and then exactly as you would (slurping wine) taste wine, you taste this flavor. And then you swallow it. And what was wild about that is there are these flavors that had eluded me. I wasn't able to acquire, but as soon as I started actually swishing it and swallowing it, I pegged these flavors. It was amazing. So, leverage full-body tasting. It's not just the tongue. You have to go past that if you really want to learn quickly. Alright, we already talked about the basics, i.e. the basic flavors and whatnot. Another approach you can take when learning flavors, again, is not to use familiar flavors. So, if you're like a cheeseburger, I've had 1000 cheeseburgers, they all start to blend together. So here we have mango, right? You can use unusual flavor combinations. So, in this case we have mango with nothing on it, we have mango with sea salt on it, and then we have mango with a little bit of cayenne pepper and sea salt on it. And we will pass these around, if someone will help me pass these around. And you'll see that they're incredibly different. So just take one from each, and we can this now or we can do this afterwards. It's not a big rush. Okay.
I can jump up if you want to pass them around.
Yeah, sure. Here, I'll just pass it over. And you can see pretty clearly, there you go, which is which. And if you need any additional cayenne pepper, here, I'll hand this to you as well. Alright, go light on the pepper, we don't have any cream to feed you. Alright. (audience laughing) So, ingredients. People get really caught up in collecting ingredients. I guess I can go through these, I think we've done most of them. Alright, great, we'll get to that in a minute. Oh, I can't go back! It's okay. That will be a tantalizing teaser. Now it's back. That's okay, I'll leave it there. So, let's focus on what's in front of us here. So we have the kitchen. People get very concerned with having a spice rack. I don't know about anybody else, but, like, I have, I (laughs) spice rack, again, got, sort of, with my knives from my Mom when I graduated from college. And I only threw out that spice rack, like, a year ago. (laughter) I mean, it's such a dude move, but, like, tarragon that's 10 years old, because it looked so pretty, and there's a label. I'm like, I don't know what they are, but they look nice. Get rid of all that stuff. Alright, people get very confused and overwhelmed like I did with herbs and spices. It's, it can be very intimidating. New words, you don't remember them, you get frustrated. Skip that failure point. Again, doing one behavior at a time. You can create meals that are incredible without ever using any herbs or spices. Alright, so here are a few necessary items. You need to understand salt, okay? Salt is the most under-utilized element in the kitchen, the most important ingredient in the kitchen, and most chefs will say this. The workhorses. So, this is the typical, sort of, Morton iodized salt. Then you have the real workhorses which I would recommend, we don't have them here right now, would be Kosher, Diamond Kosher salt. And that is the workhorse salt. That is cooking salt. So, there's cooking salt and then finishing salt. I'll explain that. Cooking salt is what you use before cooking, during cooking. That's the good stuff, but still cheaper. And then you have Maldon sea salt. Maldon sea salt, M-A-L-D-O-N, can change your life. I know that sounds really nuts, but I know some of the highest-level chefs, who, like, in their breaks will go down to, like, the basement, or they'll go to the walk-in freezer, and they'll take really good tomatoes or avocados, and just sprinkle on Maldon, and eat, and eat, and eat. It is delicious. They're more like snowflakes, they're really incredible. That's a finishing salt, you put it on right before you serve your food. Okay, if you want to try something really fun, avocado cut in half, Malton sea salt and a little bit of vinegar, like balsamic, I'll get to balsamic, in the middle, and try that. It's incredible. Alright, tamari. This is basically liquid salt. Okay? Tamari, think of it as gluten-free soy sauce. In this case, it is gluten-free, not all versions are gluten-free, so this is slow carb compliant. If you don't care about slow carb diet? Go crazy with soy sauce. But it can knock you out of your fat-loss zone really easily. Alright, tamari, for any type of Asian flavor pairings, or just using it like liquid salt, that's the one you're gonna use. So let's talk about olive oil. Everybody uses olive oil. I actually don't use it that much. You can use it, if you use olive oil think of it like your salt. You have a working olive oil, which could be something big like this, and then you might have a finishing olive oil, like En Situ, from Chile, is amazing. E-N, next word S-I-T-U. Or, I think it's McEvoy, which is actually from California. Incredible for finishing, so you'd put that on a salad before you serve it. You can even put it on top of meat or fish before you serve it. Okay? My preference, because we're talking about learning, my preference is grapeseed oil. It's a very neutral oil. Because if you have heavily flavored olive oil, and you're trying to learn the vocabulary of flavors, it's gonna screw you up. This is very neutral, it also has a very high smoke point. So you can use it for everything. This will smoke, cause a mess really easily. Grapeseed oil is my go-to when you're learning. Another go-to instead of butter. Butter's delicious. Butter is delicious, love butter. Problem is, it burns really easily because of the milk solids and the sugars. It's also not slow carb compliant. Milk is, has a very high insulinogenic factor. This is ghee. So, ghee is clarified butter. The milk solids have been removed. Slow carb compliant. It is the butteriest butter you will ever use, and it doesn't burn very easily. So I use this all the time in place of butter when recipes call for it. Virgin coconut oil, one more. You don't have to use all of these. When in doubt, grapeseed oil. But coconut oil can be used for almost everything. You can use it for your hair, you can use it for moisturizer. I kid you not. You can use it to correct fatty acid deficiencies. I had a myristic acid deficiency. I did blood tests through WellnessFX.com, found out I had a myristic acid deficiency. Sperm whale oil, didn't have it on hand. Coconut oil, on the other hand. (audience laughter) One or two tablespoons a day, my morning fatigue, gone. No more coffee in the mornings. Really amazing stuff. So here we have that. A few others. People talk about balsamic vinegar, alright? How many people here have owned or tried balsamic vinegar before? Everybody, right? Alright, I would guess maybe two of you have actually had balsamic vinegar. They're all imposters. Real balsamic vinegar is, it's aged and distilled like fine alcohol. It comes in a tiny little, almost perfume-like bottle. The rest are all fake. And so what I would actually recommend is using two different vinegars. These are very, very common in restaurants. Sherry vinegar, also for anything that you don't mind staining, like meat for instance. Amazing stuff. If the flavors in the food aren't popping, vegetables, meats, otherwise, it's probably lacking acid. Okay? So a lot of chefs say "I use lemon like I use salt." Put on your finishing salt, put on a little bit of lemon. Couple of tricks real fast with lemon. Roll it out before you cut it. You'll get at least twice as much juice. And when you squeeze it over something, do it over your hand so you catch the seeds, and the juice goes through your fingers. Okay. Then we have champagne vinegar. This is for anything you don't want to stain, like cauliflower, whatever. Okay? Really easy, and again, what I like about this pantry setup, aside from the lemons, there's nothing here that will go bad. Right? One of the frustrating parts for me is I would buy all this stuff, basil, blah, blah, blah, to cook. Uh-oh, gotta, have to go on a trip, have to go away for the weekend. Come back, rotten food, wasted food. Demoralizing, depressing, and I quit. You can leave this stuff for months, you'll be fine. Nothing goes bad, which is great. Okay, a few other things real fast. If you wanna cheat, this is a cheat. These are sliced almonds. These look like wafers, cross-sections, okay. So you have this right here. Can't see it from where you are, basically looks like gazpacho. This is actually San Marzano tomatoes, which are my favorites for use in meals. And right here, this looks like crap. This looks like a disgusting, disgusting, just bowl of tomato juice, okay? Then you do this. Oh, oh! Right, right? Get a little creative. Bring out your, your internal Jackson Pollock, boom! $35 entree. Alright, I mean, like, seriously. All you do, it's, and you can do some really easy stuff like this. There are a lot of tricks from restaurants. For instance, if you take a coffee cup, cut it in half, you use the top half, put it on top of a plate, and just press down the food inside of it. Like ceviche, something like that, make your food tall, pull it off, people are, like, "Oh my God! "It's amazing!" Half a disposable coffee cup. Pretty amazing. Alright, moving on. I do like mustard for a lot of things. You have to be very careful, this is more of a warning than anything else, Dijon mustard, they always sneak sugar into it. So just be aware, okay? Otherwise, this is very versatile, almost like miso paste. You can use this to coat a steak, for instance, cook the whole thing in mustard, it's amazing. Garlic we won't spend a lot of time on. These are just standards that I have on hand for the slow carb diet, of course, so beans, lentils, et cetera. Want to talk about a few things that people probably have not seen. We're gonna get into the gear. Everybody likes gear. And then I'll give a very fast tutorial on things. Okay. So, not going to go into great detail here, but if you want to make the best coffee of your life, even if you're stuck, let's say, on a airplane meal tray. You can make better coffee than you could buy probably almost anywhere outside. Here's how you do it. Fresh coffee. Portable coffee grinder, okay? This is from Hario. It's also Porlex. These are just hand grinders, put it on, boom. Grind it up, okay? Go to the one mark, you get 12 grams. Alright, let's see where this is going. So you have 12 grams of ground coffee. Okay? Electronic scale, okay? You need 200 grams of hot water. 12 to 200, that's what you want. This is an AeroPress, okay? Super, it fits right into your, your check-on. It looks kinda like a pipe bomb, so you probably will have to show it to TSA. (laughter) And you put in 12 grams in here, 200 grams of water, mix it up, do that. Put it on top of a coffee cup, boom, push it out, you're done. And the key, the key, the key is this right here. You might have trouble with this pointy thing. There are ways to get around it. You want to aim for about 180 degrees or 175 degrees of water temperature. Because different aspects of the coffee come out at higher temperatures. Usually that's expressed in a bitterness that you don't want, alright? And that's over-extraction. And that's it. Okay, this is also the key to the kingdom for never undercooking or overcooking anything ever again. Forget about times. Stick this in the middle of a steak, let's say. 135 degrees, okay? Cook it at 200 degrees, just leave it until it goes off. Sear it afterwards if you like. Best steak you've ever had. Be perfectly cooked through. Alright, a few other things gear-wise and then we will move on. This is pretty much all you need. You do not need a 12 pot set of anything. Alright, this is cast iron. And what I like is actually a variation of this by Lodge, which has the Dutch oven, and then a skillet that acts as the cover, but you can also use them separately. Costs, like, 20, 30 bucks, you're done. You don't need anything else. You have people who use really expensive, like Francis Mallmann of Argentina, an amazing chef, studied in France, yeah. Seven-ply, $500 copper pots, blah, blah, blah. He still prefers cast iron. Nothing heats as evenly. Okay, let's talk about a few other things that intimidate people. As a side note, vegetable glycerine. You can use it for putting moisture into different foods, like brownies. It's also can be used as a sweetener. From a athletic performance, you can actually also use it to hyper-hydrate. That's how I used to rehydrate after weigh-ins for fights. Chocolate? Everybody loves chocolate. I'll just give those out, we won't get into the chocolate right now. Alright, gear-wise. So, you have knives, lots of knives, right? When people think knives, they think something, perhaps, like this, which is my baby. This is my baby. You do, and it's beautiful, Japanese, gorgeous knife. Okay, right? You don't need this. You don't. To make amazing food, 10 times better than anything I could ever produce, you don't need something that fancy at all. In fact, the knife I recommend, I recommend two knives. These two. Okay, many of you probably have not seen this. You can't learn proper knife skills with a butter knife. It's not the right shape. This is a lettuce knife. Okay? And part of the way you make progress as quickly as possible is through substitution. I call it no-stakes practice. Here, you're worried about cutting yourself. Here, doesn't matter. Doesn't matter. Okay? And you have this bolster here. The right way to hold a knife, we're not gonna have a lot of time to go into a lot of details, you can get really proficient at knife in a day. Most people hold a knife like this. Okay, when you want to hold a knife for proper knife skills, you hold it like a golf club. Alright, so a golf club's like this, that type of hand position. Same thing, three fingers, and then you're gonna pinch the blade like that. What's nice about this knife is you can actually see your hand position. See that on the other side? (audience laughs) Pretty cool, right? So you have three fingers and then you choke up and pinch the blade, and you'll notice that is the hand position. So that the pressure is right here. There's no space, you're not holding it like that. Three, pinch, boom. And then, instead of being loosey goosey, you can use your whole arm to move, okay? The knife you want to get, so I'll just tell people exactly what you want to get. I've tested dozens, probably hundreds of knives, this is the one you want to get for knife skills. It's maybe six to nine dollars on Amazon. "Buy the best knife you can afford!" Bullshit. No, you will have buyer's remorse, and you will quit. Don't buy something really expensive. Get this. And you'll notice a few things. This is effectively a cleaver, has a rounded edge. It's not sharp, it's not pointy. Can't stab yourself. This is sharp, okay? And this is, moreover, the proper shape to practice the proper position. Alright? Jujutsu, right, position before submission? Position before motion in lifting? Same thing, you need the proper position before you can work on the actual motion. Alright. Few other things, and then I'm actually going to have to skip a few of the recipes. Osso Buco, five minutes. Can make these amazing anti-griddle peppermint patty pops using dry ice and the back of a baking sheet, for instance. Like four or five minutes. I will explain one really quick dish. If you're gonna get a peeler, get one of these. Don't get some, like, weird, sideways nonsense, okay? So these are Kuhn Rikon peelers, you can get three of them for, like, 10 bucks. They make short work of almost anything, and you can do double-duty. I don't have a zucchini here right now, but if you take this, this is how you usually do it, flip this upside-down, cut the zucchini, and you can shave off slices, use it upside-down. So it's a mandolin. Pretty cool. Yeah, so these are about eight bucks. Alright, now, as a bonus, and then we're gonna move on, I'll explain one really quick dish that I actually learned from a friend, David Garland. And this is healthy Butterfinger. So, I like Butterfinger, I don't know if you guys like Butterfinger. People always say, "I don't have enough time for a healthy meal." Okay, here's the meal, ready? Sweet potato. The more orange in color the better, because Butterfingers are orange, right? Okay, sweet potato. This is, this is a slowly-digested carb. Chocolate whey protein of some type, okay? Peanut butter. Those are the ingredients. Here's what you do, take this, throw it in the microwave, high for six minutes. Okay, comes out, it's all mushy, great. Scrape out all the insides into a bowl. Whey protein, one or two scoops of chocolate whey protein. One tablespoon, heaping tablespoon, of really good peanut butter. Mix it all together, and eat. That's it. (laughs) High protein, high good fat. I actually prefer to use almond butter. And cooking need not be complicated. You can learn all of the skills necessary in literally four hours or less. And that's the goal in the cooking section of the Four-Hour Chef, is taking all the principal tools and techniques, the most powerful techniques of culinary school, two-year culinary school, compressing them into 15 meals that take an average of nine minutes to make.