If you learn a recipe, you learn how to make that dish. However, if you learn technique, and acquire skill – then you have a larger repertoire to choose from. Recipes are merely a guideline. They are there to help you along the journey. Like a traveler who wants to explore the country as a tourist by riding on public transportation and taking the back roads, so does a chef cook without his “map”.
When I first started cooking, I felt confined to the recipes in my cookbooks. I felt uninspired. After learning the techniques through school and in the field – I realized that I was learning the right way to cook. Well, at least what felt right to me. You start immersing yourself in the ingredients and flavors and you can taste things in your mind and feel your way through with your heart.
I have cooked now for more than 15 years, and while there is plenty more to learn along my travels, I can safely say that I have found what works best to create culinary creations. It does take time, but it’s worth understanding the concept of cooking. Think of it as an equation where you just “plug in” the ingredients. It will soon become second nature to you.