Monday, July 20, 2009

Good To Great

Supposedly there is a really great book on management by the same title as this post. I have not read it. I'm not one cut out for corporate management. Big shock I know.

The title came to mind however when talking to a friend about what makes great chefs great. I'm sure there are many, many things, but one big thing is taking something and making it a little bit better.

Yesterdays lunch will serve as a good example. I should note that I do not consider myself great or even a chef. I just learn from them.

Here is a classic American lunch:

Note that it is a notch above a regular quesadilla in that I am using Tillamook cheese. No, this is not the pinnacle of cheddar, but it is one of the biggest bangs for your buck in the food world. Even with the Tillamook we have a simple food. A good food. But what does it take to make this better? How difficult is it? Not very.

Here is the same quesadilla. Within 5 minutes I had picked, cleaned, and/or cut everything here. Pork (from dinner a week ago), chives, cilantro, a bit of thyme, freshly ground black pepper, some chipotle chilies (leftover from the chili), and basil.

Now, I know you might not have an herb garden. My point is not to show off what I have, but to spurn you on to always ask what else you could add to make the dish pop. Even if it is only a small pop. Think of leftovers not as gross things you should probably eat to save a few bucks, but rather:

A) ready made dishes for improvising on.
B) ingredient sources for new dishes.

Push thy self.

The quesadilla was great by the way.


  1. We would like to humbly protest that Tillamook isn't the pinnacle of cheddar. However, having said that, we loved seeing the waxy orange packaging sitting behind your tortilla and very much appreciated you pointing out that it's a big bang for your buck. And, of course, we're extremely biased.
    We wanted to let you know that we made your entry our Post of the Day at Stop by and check it out if you get the chance.
    Jake Ten Pas
    Tillamook Cheese Fan Club

  2. Jake,

    Humble protest received. We should get together and have a tasting...I'll blog it.

    I rep Tillamook more than almost any mainstay in our kitchen and my kids are addicted big time. We are never without at least one loaf of medium goodness.

    Thanks in a HUGE way for making my blog the post of the day. It made my day, week, and month. Very, very cool.