You should never serve burnt garlic. When you allow your garlic to burn in a saute dish, it will pretty much ruin your dish.
Tonight I was working solo in the kitchen at the restaurant. On slower nights during the off season, it is not uncommon for me to be alone working in the kitchen, working the hot line, pantry and dish altogether.
Tonight was one of those nights, but it got busier than we anticipated. A walk-in 6-top when you already have a deuce and 4-top down can do that when you are solo in the kitchen. While 12 covers coming in at once is usually no problem in the kitchen, when you are alone it can get a big crazy for a few minutes, running from saute to the fryer, checking the doneness of your lamb in the oven while putting out a caesar salad… and then back to check your saute pans. You get the idea.
So that is what happened tonight. I got 4 or 5 saute pans going. One working mushroom risotto, another searing off a chicken breast. Two others with some veg and garnishes. Once they were all going I jumped over to pantry to put out some salads and apps. By the time I got back to saute, the garlic in my mushroom risotto pan had burned.
Not a lot. Just a little. But it was definitely darker than I wanted.
At this point all the tickets on my board were fired and I just wanted to get food out. It was tempting to just finish the risotto and send it out. It probably would taste fine, but it wouldn’t be right. I would yell at one of my line guys if they tried to send that out. But it was tempting… everything was timed together and to re-start the risotto was going to throw everything off. Plus I had more tickets coming in.
Then I remembered something one of my culinary mentors Chef Denise always used to tell me: “if you compromise on quality and excellence even once, it will become a habit.”
I made the risotto over. Ditched the the burnt garlic. And everything went out fine.
But reflecting upon it later, I thought to myself: “how often to we try and serve burnt garlic in our spiritual lives?”
In other words, “if you comprise on integrity even once, it will become a habit.”
My advice and challenge to myself: never serve burnt garlic.
How about you? Thoughts?