Hello reddit, Chef Mike here. I'm here to answer your questions about cutlery, culinary, and more! To help demonstrate some techniques, we will be responding to your questions with short video examples. The good people at J.L. Hufford are helping me answer as many questions as I can.


My Proof: http://imgur.com/oYQSFuC


EDIT: I'll be live at 11 AM EST, looking forward to answering your questions!

EDIT: Thanks so much for all your questions, I had a blast!

Comments: 669 • Responses: 22  • Date: 

frehsprints461 karma

If you were trapped on an island with former America's Funniest Home Video hosts Bob Saget and Tom Bergeron, and the island is overrun with dinosaurs, and they were going to hunt and you had to cook - and you had a $500 budget for cookware - what would you buy?

Empigee235 karma

What is your opinion of Anthony Bourdain and his writings? Do they reflect the culinary world accurately in your opinion?

MG1814309 karma

Yes, absolutely, at least in my experience.

Xynga177 karma

I was given a free Wustof pairing knife with a purchase at a local kitchen store.

My question is, what the hell should I be doing with this knife?

Scottzilla39159 karma

I have some cheap old kitchen knives from back in my college days that I don't know how to dispose of. What is the safest way to get rid of them?

MG1814277 karma

That's a really good question. Goodwill, women's shelters, habitat for humanity should all take them as donations. If not, you can always take them to your local recycling center. Be responsible, don't throw them in a trashbag and hope for the best.

Ayesawws151 karma

Hi there, sous chef here based out of Boston. The kitchen is obviously a high stress place with the long hours and constant vigilance. What are some techniques you've used to avoid burn out?

MG1814185 karma

One of the best things now is to work out, obviously I don't work out as much as i should but it's one of the best ways to relieve stress and get out of the kitchen. Also, have a hobby. Do something outside of the kitchen and get your mind active. In the kitchen your'e pretty sedentary. It's a totally different kind of tired than if your're riding your bike or going for long walks. So be active, especially in the Boston area, you have a lot of options there.

askeeve106 karma

What is your opinion of pull through sharpeners?

Bieberkinz84 karma

I've been wondering this question all this time and been wanting to ask someone like you...

Is a hotdog a sandwich?

MG1814154 karma

Anything between two pieces of bread is a sandwich.

trexxed79 karma

What is your favorite dish to make?

MG1814487 karma

My favorite dish to make is whatever I'm making for my family tonight. I know it sounds cheesy but it's true. If I'm making something for myself, it's probably barbecue because it takes hours and you get to drink beer the whole time.

steelpan75 karma

How do you finely chop your onions?

shirebrew64 karma

Love my Wustof block set, can you recommend or suggest proper way to sharpen and hone, and when or how often I should do either?

MG181471 karma

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WM6slX_BS5k Wusthof.com also has Knife Skill Academy, which has plenty of videos, and 12 more on the way!

Bill_Casbay61 karma

I only buy Wustof knives so thank you. What is your favorite 3 ingredient recipe?

MG1814161 karma

My favorite three ingredient recipe would probably be tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella. My backup answer is peanut butter and jelly.

djnotnice358 karma

Hey Chef Mike, it's great to have you here! I have a couple of questions I hope you can answer.

  1. As a financially struggling college student, what would be the bare minimum( utensils & ingredients) one should have in his kitchen?

  2. What inspired your love for cooking? When did you know you wanted to be a Chef?

  3. What's ur favorite dish?

MG1814103 karma

1) You're gonna need a chef's knife or something you're comfortable with. Food wise you're gonna want pasta. It's inexpensive, and everyone can have pasta.

2) The first thing I cooked I remember my mom was taking a nap and I was 4 years old. I made a fried egg. I'll never forget it it was really good but was a little crunchy and salty. When I was five I remember I made peanut butter for the first time on my own. The only mistake I made was I put flour in it, because my grandmother put flour in everything. I was a hungry chubby kid that wanted to cut out the middle man. I love food, I love to eat, and I just wanted to be able to do it for myself.

3) Barbecue, but I look to do seasonal cooking and use what's in season. This time of year everybody starts packing on the carbs. Lots of stews and soups. I kinda like to make what people are looking for and what people want to eat. You get a kinda satisfaction when you make 60 of something and you sell out.

emmelinefoxley46 karma

What is an unconventional food item you like to use?

MG181492 karma

I'm a conventional guy, I'm from the Midwest. I like to use some of the sustainable fish that most people would throw back. There's a lot of things you can do with "rough fish". A lot of people say all you can do with blue fish is smoke it, or use it for fertilizer, but when prepared correctly and handled right, it's an awesome fish.

Theer's a lot of fish out there that don't get the attention they should that are way more sustainable than a lot of the big sea food items that most people are familiar with.

eskimoexplosion44 karma

It seems the key to success in the culinary industry is to work your way up then work out of it. Become an exec for a few years, become a sales rep, write a cookbook, get on tv, or get in with a company that provides other services for the industry like for instance a cutlery company. Even highly renowned chef owned restaurants will close or admit to poor profits. It seems kind of disheartening to think that the ultimate aim of my career is to make 60k a year working 80 hours a week, 6 days a week as your average exec or 30-40k a year as your average sous working 50-60hrs a week. Do you agree with this sentiment?

MG1814100 karma

You hit it right on the head. You either love it, or get out. A lot of the older chefs sell food and produce, I said I would never do that. I ended up partnering with Wusthof. I still look at myself more as an educator instead of a coach, even though I work with sales now. If people buying is a byproduct of my education, then I guess you can call me a salesperson, but I don't look at it that way.

Blamo_Whamo36 karma

Looking for professional advice here:

I'm a young chef working at a very nice fine dining restaurant located in a hotel and have been for about 3 years. This was my first job out of culinary school and I've enjoyed a large majority of my stay. I have learned countless things under the chefs who have been willing to teach and lead me.

Currently though the hotel was bought out by a different management company who seems devoted to eliminating the independent feel of the restaurant and implementing a very corporate structure. I can't help but feel this will dampen my creative drive and overall motivation to produce high quality cuisine. In your experiences, is it best to cut the cord and start fresh or adapt to the new environment?

MG181474 karma

For me, I always try to stay at least a year and a half, learn as much as you can. I would target places like hotels to get hotel experiencing, learn as much as you can. Chef's that have been around expect this and know this, and will pass their good chefs on to learn more. If you feel like you're being pulled back, you probably are and it's probably time to cut. Find a place that you want to work and and set up an interview. Let them know you're passionate, show them you want more than a paycheck. Give them your 5 year plan. When you have a plan, you're gonna have better results in the end.

tried_to_animate34 karma


MG1814104 karma

Gosh that's a long time ago...the go to drunk meal is when you open up the refrigerator door and you just start creating. Sometimes great flavor come together that you've never even thought of. Usually a collaborative effort is even better because if you like it it's all you, and if you don't it's their fault.

miATC31 karma

I need a new knife set. If I were to get a block of knives for general kitchen use, what are the must haves?

MG181442 karma

I would probably start with the 7 piece block set. You're gonna get the three essential knifes for the kitchen. You're gonna get the chef's knife, bread knife, and a paring knife. It also comes with a utility knife, a honing steel, and a kitchen shear.

larsonguy30 karma

What's the best way to avoid injury while cutting? I recently bought my mother a new chef's knife after years of using tiny knives to chop up everything. However, she's terrified of the thing so safety is very important to her!

mrgoober133719 karma

What's your favorite breakfast?

MG181434 karma

I'm old right now it's yogurt and fruit, but really my favorite breakfast has always been sausage, eggs, hash browns, pancakes, french toast, the whole bit.

gggjennings11 karma

Any tips or tricks to sharpen your knives? I have an electric sharpener that I try to avoid because it shaves off too much steel, but I'm not great with my whetstones.

MG181414 karma

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WM6slX_BS5k Wusthof.com also has Knife Skill Academy, which has plenty of videos, and 12 more on the way!

Todrick4 karma

My son Aiden, a High School sophomore in the Culinary program at the Orange County School of the Arts absolutely loves and swears by the Wustof Classic Ikon, so thank you for that!

What Advice would you give to a young person with aspirations in the Culinary Arts?

MG18148 karma

You're gonna have to do a mix of school and book work, but more importantly it's repetition repetition repetition. Most importantly though, find a chef that is willing to mentor you, that can encourage you and spur you on and kind of keep you on the right road.

e363 karma

What's your preferred method for keeping your knives sharp, and how often do you sharpen them?

MG18145 karma

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WM6slX_BS5k Wusthof.com also has Knife Skill Academy, which has plenty of videos, and 12 more on the way!