The free-est chef is the chef who needs very few tools.
The free-est chef is the chef who knows technique.
The free-est chef is the chef who enjoys being skillful.
The free-est chef is the chef who only needs fresh ingredients.
The free-est chef has a few good tricks and bits of knowledge up her or his sleeve!
The free chef makes her / his own pasta AND can do something with it!
A classic of the 'pasta cuisine' is tortellini ... a simple pillow of pasta, made from one sheet, with a prepared filling. We have a contract for next week to prepare dinner for 80 or so members of the South Riverdale Community in Toronto, and we have proposed the following menu: Tortellini da Zucca, a Caesar salad with house croutons and a dessert of choice. (The client does not have a dessert preference, and Chef just got a great deal on a heap of Meyer lemons, so we're making semifreddo for 80!)
The big skill to be learnt is making tortellini ... after my students have the skill to do this, they can change the filing any way they want, and mess around with the size, and invent sauces ... no limits to a good young chef who has skills and techniques and imagination!
Here are the steps being demonstrated:
Prepare the filling of choice (in this case acorn squash with nutmeg and a tiny amount of pepper and even less crushed leaves of kasoori methi
Make long sheets of pasta
Use a piping bag to put 'spots' of filling along the pasta-sheets, one dot every 5 cm or so
We have to make about 600 tortellini, so we've practiced working as one big machine, each young chef doing one function and the whole brigade just going like blazes. It works!