Learn to cook fish like a pro
With a little knowledge and a bit of care, all fish and shellfish can be transformed into tempting dishes. According to all the professionals we’ve talked to, when it comes down to it there are just two things you need to remember – (1) Choosing the freshest fish your fishmonger can provide, (2) Trusting your ingredients and not over-complicating things.
CHEF DE PARTIE – FISH
In order to be given responsibility for preparing fish in a professional kitchen, you need to have gained the title “Chef de partie”, or “section chef” in English. In practice the position means being in charge of the team on the kitchen’s fish station. The work is organized on military lines and as Chef de partie you are responsible for every single bit of fish that leaves the kitchen. On these pages you’ll find everything a section chef on a fish station needs to know – and maybe a bit more. Large restaurant kitchens have specialists who are responsible for everything that is going to be grilled, fried, deep-fried, cold dishes, starters, sauces, etc. We’ve brought a lot of their expertise together here too.
How should you use these pages?
That’s up to you. Read from start to finish and learn it all off by heart, or use them as one of your natural tools in the kitchen, like a chef’s knife. If you want to develop your theoretical and practical skills, we’d recommend the latter.
Risking failure in the kitchen is absolutely permitted – especially when you’re learning to handle a delicate ingredient like fish. Making mistakes is the quickest and most reliable way of learning anything, and that’s still true when you’re building up the practical skills you need to call yourself Chef de partie in a professional kitchen.
Once you have the crucial skills at your fingertips, you’ll gain self-confidence, and self-confidence leads to experimentation and creativity – which in turn makes successful cooking with fish even more fun.