Skip navigation
Gary Brautigam director of dining services Gettysburg College Pennsylvania
<p>Gary Brautigam, director of dining services, Gettysburg College, Pennsylvania.</p>

Mise en Place: Training truths, kitchen science and tofu know-how

Kitchen techniques, science, training, technology &amp; magic

“For me, some training instruction remains the same since I started my culinary career in 1982. But some of that training wouldn’t be accepted today. Early on in my learning days, the single most-needed tool for training was a notebook and pen—never mind a knife. I was trained to write down every task assigned to me. I still think those are the No. 1 tools for training.

We were trained by repeating tasks, assigned to a position such as vegetable prep. You were released from that position when you accomplished all the basic, classic vegetable preparation, about two months. We were constantly stopped and instructed on doing tasks correctly.

Back then, we were trained to handle food safely; we knew what cross-contamination was and we always had a rag stuck in our apron to wipe things down, but at that time we weren’t required to keep that rag in sanitizer. Today, training in food safety is first and foremost thanks to ServeSafe. No more rags in your apron—ever!

One thing that’s stayed the same: the trainer has to come across as someone who will not accept anything less than what’s being taught and expects it to be done correctly and with care.”

Photo: United Soybean Board

Tofu Know-How: Grilling
If you want to grill tofu and end up with a crisp crust and a tender interior, grab the firm tofu, not silken.

And let’s face it, tofu isn’t known for having a lot of—or any—flavor, so the bigger, the bolder, the more acidic your marinade, the better. Make sure the marinade isn’t too watery, and add sugar, which will help with the browning process on the grill.

Now’s the time for a nonstick pan and high heat. Tofu must crisp up on the outside, so don’t be afraid of some serious fire.

Source: United Soybean Board and

Kitchen Science
Next time you fly, get that drink ticket ready and order a bloody mary. Recent research from Cornell University food scientists has found that the flavor of glutamates in tomato juice tastes better in noisy situations—like an airplane ride.

“In an environment of loud noise, our sense of taste is compromised…specific to sweet and umami tastes, with sweet taste inhibited and umami taste significantly enhanced,” Robin Dando, assistant professor of food science, told

What's the deal with butter chicken?

(Continued from page 1)

Butter chicken: It sounds bland, or greasy. Actually, it’s neither. Butter Chicken turns up everywhere it seems, being something The New York Times’ Sam Sifton has called “the General Tso’s of Indian food, a great, ever-evolving cross-continental dish found in Delhi, London, New York, Perth…”

And Cleveland. Butter Chicken is on the menu at the Naan station of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Cookbook author and Indian food teacher/chef Raghavan Iyer collaborates regularly with Bon Appétit Management Co., and his recipe for Butter Chicken makes the most of ingredients like turmeric, lemon juice, garlic, onions, ginger, cumin and, yes, butter. But it’s not buttery to the point of being greasy. Next time you’re in Delhi—or Cleveland—give this dish a try.

Photo: Sumners Graphics Inc./Thinkstock

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.