HANDY Man

The best feeling in the world is to be the expert. When you are the expert in your chosen vocation, the non-experts treat you with an amazing amount of deference and respect. When taken to the extreme, you’re looked upon as an awe-inspiring figure, one whose opinions—even in matters outside your field—are treated with reverence.

My favorite example of this happens frequently with actors. Why do we value the opinions of actors in any subject outside of their field of expertise, pretending to be somebody else (btw, this is what little children do for fun)? It’s completely ridiculous to value an actor’s opinion on medicine just because they played a doctor on TV.

People in modern society have become so super-specialized that we never seem to have the time to become proficient in other fields. This is especially true with chefs. The long hours, the grueling physical demands, and the immense variety of both foodstuffs and ways to prepare them can be all-consuming. As for me, if I can’t be 100 percent into a project, then I’m just not interested in attempting it. After all, one of the foundations of professional cooking is that repetition leads to proficiency.

This is the reason why many chefs are not handy at home. If they get only one shot at a project, the likelihood of a proficient result is very slim. When things break in the house, we call a repairman. I don’t expect an electrician to be a great cook, and vice versa.

Through most of my career, this was a non-issue until I became a business owner. I’m in the process of trying to open a small savory bakery in a very old building. The place, though quaint and attractive, really needs some love in the form of minor repairs and cosmetics. Little projects that would be no big deal for a professional are huge issues for me.

Fixing a couple of loose, broken floor tiles is simple enough, right? Well, not on the first try. On the second try, it was a little easier; by the third attempt, the result was acceptable, though I still wanted to tear them up and try again. And covering holes in the walls: a little touch-up painting just doesn’t do the trick. Now I have to learn how to spackle, URGH! It goes on and on. I find it to be quite unsatisfying. After all, I’m used to being the expert—it’s frustrating to not be one. This little lavosh recipe will be one of the items I’ll offer at my new place, assuming I finish my handyman projects.
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Chef Bill’s  Lavosh Crackers
Ingredients:

  • 16 Oz. semolina
  • 13-1/3 Oz. all-purpose flour
  • 16 Oz. water
  • Pinch salt

Directions:

  1. Mix flour and salt in a food processer.
  2. With the machine running slowly, add the water. Mix until a dough ball forms.
  3. Turn out and knead for several minutes.
  4. Cover and let rest.
  5. Roll out with a pasta machine.
  6. Place on a silicon mat lined sheet pan, brush with olive oil and garnish as desired.
  7. Bake at 400°F until light brown and crispy.
  8. Break apart and serve.

Until we cook again,
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Contact Chef Bill Thompson, owner of Amelia Island Culinary Academy, at [email protected] to find inspiration and get you Cheffed Up!

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