Don Pepe
Cooking 4 Chumps
Don Pepe
Cooking 4 Chumps
Don Pepe
Cowboy Chef
Cowboy Cooking
Chump Cowboy
Don Pepe
Cooking 4 Chumps
Cowboy Chef
Don Pepe
Chump Chef
Don Pepe

The Cowboy
There's the correct, time honoured way to cook and its known as the way of the chef. The chef is formal, well-prepared, knowledgeable and very, very skilled...

...then there's the cowboy way to cook. The cowboy cheats, sneaks, cuts corners and does just about anything and everything that a real chef despises.

But its so, so, so important to know how to cowboy. A cowboy will sort things out when you've screwed up, the cowboy will save the day when you've dropped the roast chicken on the floor five minutes before service, he'll sort you out when you've ruined a cake, burnt the soup and found out that your expected number of clients have doubled with less than half an hour before service.

So if you want to survive in the stress filled world of the chef learn how to cook correctly, but when that fails be sure you know how to do things the cowboy way. Being a cowboy every once in a while allows a chef to live to tell the tale instead of being mobbed by a crowd of angry and deeply disappointed customers.

So for quick, sneaky and rodeo driven ways to fix your dish, collapsed cakes, spoilt starters or ruined side dishes check the links on the right.....

....and for all the perfectionists out there go get the brandy bottle, turn the lights down low, crank the music up and pretend you've no idea what's going on.

  Cowboy Methods:
  White Sauce
  Quick Cooking Methods
  Dealing with Burnt Foods

Burnt soup
When I first started as a chef I went through a stage of burning soups once or twice a day. The head chef kept throwing a hissy fit (understandably) and when I managed to burn a soup for 60 people 15 minutes before service he showed me a sneaky trick...

Do not stir the soup, any burnt sediment will mix with the rest of the soup, increasing the burnt aroma.
Transfer the soup from the burnt saucepan to a new saucepan, any burnt sediment should remain at the bottom of the old saucepan
Add some more stock to the soup along with any suitable, yet relevant fresh herbs to invigorate the flavours
The cowboy touch: Add a couple of shots of black coffee. The coffee doesn't exactly remove the burnt aromas but disguises them. The coffee with the fresh ingredients should sufficiently hide the burnt flavours enough for you to save the day.


Peeling Garlic the Easy Way
This cowboy trick is more suited for the chef that needs to peel buckets of garlic rather than the domestic cook who only needs to peel one head of garlic at a time.
Roughly break the garlic apart into individual cloves
Soak the cloves in water overnight
Drain, then deep fry at high heat for 15-20 seconds
The skin will peel away from the garlic cloves
Discard the skins, use the cloves as required

Quick Marinating
If you've forgotten to marinate your ingredient of choice over night here's a quick method for incorporating flavours:
Blend the marinade to produce as much surface area as possible (thus maximising the potential for flavouring)
Score the meat, poultry, fish or vegetable with a series of cuts to allow the marinade to penetrate
Massage the marinade into the ingredient
Cover and leave at room (or slightly warm) temperature, do not place in the fridge! (Flavours penetrate faster at warmer temperatures than they do in colder conditions.)
Leave to marinade for 30 minutes
Cook as required.

Note: This is not the most hygienic of methods. Its fine to use every once in a while for a quick cowboy trick but don't make this a regular habit. Bacteria grows quickly, especially in warm temperatures.
However if the ingredient has been left for only 30 minutes in a warm environment it should still be reasonably safe so long as you remember to cook the dish thoroughly and to a high temperature.


Speedy vegetable soup
I was once unfortunate enough to have a dim witted kitchen porter who threw the entire batch of soup down the drain...before service!

Combine vegetable stock, potato, celery and fresh herbs. If you have time, deep fry some onions.
(Do not use garlic, the raw taste will not cook out in time)
Liquidize, place in a shallow, wide saucepan so that it comes to the boil quickly.
Boil for 2 minutes, season with salt and pepper.
Serve and grin the grin of the wicked.


Lining a baking tin without butter
Only have enough butter for the cake and icing? Use a bland vegetable oil to grease the tin and baking parchment, unlike olive oil, vegetable oil should leave no flavour


Saving an unrisen cake
Collapsed and unrisen cakes happen even to the most experienced of pastry chefs, you might have been distracted during weighing, another chef might have removed your cake early from the oven, or someone might have jostled the cake tin while it was in the oven....

However if you need to fix the cake: slice in half (horizontally), liberally spread a suitable filling over one half, then sandwich the other half back on top. The extra filling should give you the extra height that you need

Still too slim? Try this drastic measure!
Slice the whole cake in half but this time vertically. Again, spread one half with a suitable filling, sandwich the other half on top. You'll end up with half a cake that has four layers.


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