Pre-Culinary Education Knowledge

So often than not, one asks how I learned to cook . You see, cooking the way I do isn’t just a simple way of doing it. There is more complexity of knowledge required to be able to cook to at least my level of cooking. Without arrogance intended, I am not your normal engineering graduate from a Philippine university in terms of cooking and culinary knowledge. So let me show you a glimpse of how I learned on what I am passionately doing right now!

If you look at my about page, there are four major cuisines that I want to learn with Japanese being my highest priority. That said, I’ll show you how I am learning those four cuisines!

First of all, reading is required. This is true in any kind of profession. If you don’t read, I suggest you start reading now. There are two major forms of media that I read in terms of learning cuisine, one is through books, *look at the front picture*, the other one is through the internet!

Books have wealths of knowledge. One cannot get better quality information other than books! The internet is for the quick and new information that you need. So what books am I reading you might ask. In fundamentals of cooking, professional cooking and French cooking or western cooking I read these!

I believe that French cooking is a good background for foundation in my own culinary arts. You can actually throw modern American cuisine there also!

Sadly, I have little knowledge in terms of Chinese cooking. I only have one book at hand and I recommend you guys buying! This book is all about stir-frying and the use of the wok which I think is the heart of Chinese cooking technique!

Moreover, I am learning from a Chinese chef too! Meet Mr. Lu!

This guy is great in teaching techniques and familiarity of ingredients in all kinds of Chinese cooking. Next time, I’ll try making a Peking duck post I learned from him in the future here. 😀

Lastly, how did I learn from cooking Japanese cuisine? Learned it from a chef in a Japanese grocery store!

Am pretty sure you know New Hatchin for those Japanese food lovers here in Manila. New Hatchin is located in Makati.l I don’t have his picture but his name is Noda Sensei! He had a restaurant in Little Tokyo which I have yet to feature! He taught traditional Japanese cooking 😀 Now, he stopped being New Hatchin’s chef since he is more busy with his two restaurants. 😦

Lastly, how did I learn about the idea of professional cooking and the idea of what’s happening inside a professional kitchen. Anthony Bourdain and Michael Ruhlman need no introductions. 😀

So far, I think I have read about 75% of my books done. Am planning to finish Escoffier, Jacques Pepin’s Complete Techniques and Harold McGee before culinary school 😀

Besides books, how am I learning more? Easy, by watching shows! There are four major shows that I watch, Top Chef, No Reservation, Iron Chef America and Iron Chef Japan. I watch these shows to see more innovative culinary techniques out there and learn more about flavor profile. You would be amazed by the amount of information they give you. Moreover, traveling shows like No Reservation gives you a good glimpse of a particular cuisines’ philosophy and essence and understand why the country’s cuisine is such.

Top chef is my favorite T.V. series

Ofcourse, Bourdain, you either hate him or you like him!

Also, this is pretty basic actually, I cook! This is one, if not the best, way to learn cooking. There is a HUGE difference between reading cookbooks and actual doing it. For one, knife skills! If you are just starting to cook, am pretty plenty of vegetables that you will be cutting will slip out from your hand. There will be times that just making julienned carrots will take you ages to do it! Another one is fire control. Am pretty sure, if you are new to cooking, you burn food along the way. This is what I called cooking as a craft. It is about skills. If you want to cook at least at my caliber, you should not only cook and enjoy food because it is entertaining for you but also it is your passion. It becomes natural to you and it becomes part of you. 😀

Lastly, if there is something I learned recently if I want to learn a cuisine at its finest, I must travel. I repeat, I MUST TRAVEL! And what better way to grasp about Japanese cuisine?

I went to Japan lolz! You’d be surprise, if you know me personally I hate travelling and I traveled alone in Japan before to learn their food and gastronomy. And to be honest, I loved it! I loved it so much that I plan to go back and learn and hone my craft there. 🙂


17 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by sheila's ditsi on December 15, 2009 at 2:36 am

    can i learn from you master hershey?


    • Yes you may, but he doesn’t really teach, makapal lang talaga mukha ko at nagpaturo ako sa kanya :)) Chef Noda doesn’t offer lessons 😀 Mr. Lu doesn’t offer lessons anymore 😦


  2. […] Most people would say that perfection seems unachievable in this industry and I agree with that. You see, cooking is a craft. It is a craftsmanship that one needs to practice on and hone his skills and can never achieve perfection; however, if there is one cuisine that I truly want to hone my skill on it, it would be Japanese and French cuisine. To learn more about my present culinary knowledge, you can read this post. […]


  3. hahahah true that! chong, wait till you have to TOURNE potatoes, if julienned carrots will take a long time, iyak na lang ang tourneing. hahahaha seriously, i dont know if ul learn it in ISCAHM but sa enderun (under alain ducasse formation), we had to tourne and its not pretty. hahaha id rather get burned by fire than to tourne. but yeah, good jab on the post. very true. professional cooking is mighty hard and tiring and HOT, literally hot. but if you love it, then its not gonna be as burdensome as a 9-5 job. HAHAHHa keep it up boi!


    • hmmmmm…. damn, mukhang kailangan ko tuloy ng paring knife :)) hassle naman nun!


      • Posted by alden on January 10, 2010 at 2:31 pm

        actually, u use a tourning knife for that. its like a paring knife but the blade is like that of a scythe. haha im sure ul get a knife set when ur in culinary school na.

      • Me thinks am gonna buy them individually lolz 😀 then, if i have enough money, ill buy the suit case set of Zwilling >:)

  4. Posted by meh on January 23, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Hersh, pahiram nyang book ni Michael Ruhlman. Pleeeease. Hehe 😀


  5. Posted by wishie on June 17, 2010 at 5:07 am

    hi hershey.. im an incoming iscahm student I would likte to ask lng sana, what book would you recommend for me to read since il be starting culinary school… and advice mo na din based on what you learned dyn sa sa school…


    • Hello Wishie 😀 Glad we are going to be schoolmates 😀 anyhow, if you wanna learn about food itself, get McGee, the red book above, if you wanna really know about kitchen culture, read bourdain, the black book above. Reading other professional cookbooks might ‘confuse’ you with the one taught here in ISCAHM if you are new to cooking. So often than not, quizzes in our school are all based on ISCAHM books so there 🙂 so you are batch 13 😉


  6. Posted by wishie on June 17, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    yup… i think batch 13 po ako… i want to learn sana basics about the kitchen, then some techniques that might help me prepare for culinary school… or do i really need to read pa ba or everything po will be learned nman sa iscahm…


    • I think the curriculum in ISCAHM is meant for people who have never cooked before so I think you will be fine without any advance readings. You can go to fullybooked for the books 🙂


  7. Posted by wishie on June 17, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    hey hershey woul like to ask na din san ka nakabili nung making of a chef ans kitchen confidential.. thanks so much!!!


  8. Posted by wishie on June 24, 2010 at 11:21 am

    hi again… i would like to ask po sana kng anu restaurant na nagserve ng best filipino dishes mererecommend mo… may mga balikbayan kasi kame eh,…


  9. Posted by taga ISCAHM din on July 24, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    wow. i’m impressed by your arsenal. that’s what you call passion! i thought i was passionate about food but you take the word “passion” to a whole different level. your posts really intrigue me. good luck with school! lapit na tayo mag graduate! =)


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