I’m taking a break from the blog this week but my friend Michael Pardus, the chef I wrote about in The Making of a Chef, the guy who called me a wuss and set into motion what would become a dualcareer of cooking and writing (some people learn to cook out of love, I did it out of anger), has offered to step in with a few dispatches from K-1 his kitchen at the CIA where he teaches The Cuisines of Asia.  Throughout his classes he asks students to take flip videos of various techniques that he teaches, such as the one above, the proper way to poach shrimp so that they’re tender and succulent and not rubber.  And he’ll follow with spring roll technique.  These are not official CIA sanctioned videos, but they’re actual footage from a CIA classroom, what it’s like their and the chef who started it all for me.


46 Wonderful responses to “In the Kitchen with Chef Pardus”

  • Bruce

    To paraphrase Marlon Brando in “The Freshman”…So this is culinary school? I didn’t miss nuthin’.

  • Lavinia

    This is great – in addition to the sheer usefulness of knowing how to cook shrimp properly, I’ve been reading “The Making of a Chef” the past few weeks and enjoyed putting Chef Pardus’ face with the name. Great idea!

  • craigkite

    So you are dickin’ the dog in the sunshine with other ne’er do well food bloggers while Pardus is fighting the snow to show up in the kitchen/classroom every day? I got to get a gig like that. Thanks for hooking us up with a decent substitute.

  • Nancy

    Great video – I LOVE the “ouch” water – that is classic!! I also would love to know about the stove – I’ve worked on a lot of stoves but I’ve never seen one like that!!

  • Tamara Mitchell

    Love it! Great demonstration of the technique. I might call it something other than ouch when sticking my finger in hot water personally.

    Looking forward to other video installments from Chef Pardus.

  • Kevin

    It’s a wok burner if i’m not mistaken. Much much hotter than a western stove.

  • luis

    Perfect thing for sous viding. I am inclined to pick up a sous vide magic controller and this just makes me more anxious about it. Of course the lowest setting “warm” on my electric stove top will be exactly in that particular range. Pardus great job man.

  • Robyn M.

    @Nancy & Natalie: I think that’s a chinese wok-range. No idea if it has a standard name, but it’s for achieving nuclear-hot levels at narrow points under woks for proper cooking. Most (prolly all) home ranges don’t even come close to the temps needed to really use woks properly, which is why I’ve all but abandoned mine. I will admit, though, that I have stolen Alton Brown’s idea of putting a wok over a lit & going charcoal chimney starter outside on my grill and used *that* to cook with a wok, but that was… um… arduous.

  • Metaxa

    Re: stove, we call those “power woks” , hot as Hades, fast recovery, fast clean out of wok in between (the water bath the domes rise from is a dump for stuff, clean it out at end of service, don’t let your manager see you)

    Only two instances of cross contamination…not bad, eh?

  • Rhonda

    Michael, I just checked in and saw this.

    I cannot find the words to explain my respect and gratitude for Chef Pardus and his partner in crime, Chef delGrosso’s, contribution to this blog.

    I have learned so much from them and they are not only talented Chefs and exceptionally gifted teachers, they are real teachers. This means they teach for life. If you pull up your end, do your research and homework they will guide you. If you attempt to screw the pooch and are too lazy to practice the basics well, you will find out on your own….

    Thank you Chefs!!

    Michael & Donna: Have fun!!! Can’t wait to hear all about it when you get back.

  • Jake L.

    In an attempt to put things in perspective, if memory serves, the woks in that kitchen are putting out about 180,000 BTU’s , versus your standard range at home that only puts out about 16,000 BTU’s. So yeah, they’re pretty hot.

  • Kevin

    My mother had a restaraunt wok built into her island next to the cooktop (shared the hood), and that thing could heat up the entire house – it was insane with something like a 10-inch diameter flame ring. It went from cold to nuclear fission in seconds.

    You can buy them in singles as well as doubles. I don’t remember if there were permitting and inspections issues, but I assume that there must be to have something that puts out that much heat.



  • Danny B


    Thanks so much for this video. As I’m trying to make the switch from engineering to cooking – what I love – for a living (finding places to work prep for free, saving up for school, etc.), The Making of a Chef was something that made me feel like I wasn’t being a complete lunatic! Nice to put a face to Chef Pardus.

    Keep up the great blogging!

  • Natalie Sztern

    Thankyou those that answered. I knew it was some kind of a wok range what threw me off was that it is surrounded by a waterbath and the burner is not the average wok burner as in the open kitchen oriental kitchens I have seen.

    Usually the teachers are the ones to work in sub-par conditions and the pupil, once in the working world, get the ‘office with the window’. I guess in Cooking Schools it is a different scenario. Lucky Chef Pardus and his students.

    Hope there are more videos and Michael can take an extra week off…LOL

  • Bob

    Typo: “… what it’s like THEIR.”

    (Sorry, I’m a video editor and have also done copy editing.)

    I love Pardus’ teaching style – it’s very level and straightforward. (And now I’ll have to get Michael’s Making/Reach/Soul books.)

  • Christie Ison

    LOL Ever since reading the book, I thought his name was “Par-DOO.” Thanks so much for posting this. A nice insight into the world of CIA.

  • Amy Viny

    Really informative-thanks. Fun to actually see Chef Pardus after reading about him so often in your work. More PLEEZE.

  • Brian D Cronin

    I don’t mean to be a mean spirited nitpicker, but the shrimps poached for a little over 50 seconds longer than the perfect “test” shrimp did. I only bring it up because in the struggle to achieve perfect doneness, whether poaching shrimp or roasting vegetables, the window of opportunity is always measured in seconds.

  • luis

    Robyn the thing about a wok is how well it transfers heat. I have tried many woks and now I have three. The one I use frequently is used over the electric stove on the small burner. It’s the smaller wok. Basically I use a thermopen to gage the heat of the oil. Nothing else matters and I tell you the oil has no problem reaching and going over the 325 degree temp.
    The reason is that woks require very little oil and vegetables if they start to burn a little I squirt some water or stock into it. I have lots of pans even stainles steel ones and I like the wok best unless I am working with larger cuts of meat or chicken. My point is most oils break down at around 350-400 degrees and that is dangerous due to the carcinogens developed when oil breaks down. If my wok inches up north of 350 I lift it up from the burner.

  • luis

    OOPs I meant to say the wok I use more often with the best heat transfer to the oil is the CARBON STEEL TYPHON wok. It’s fantastic.
    I started using cast iron woks but they are heavy and good at retaining heat but slow heating up between courses of meat and vegetable woking.
    But I like them for deep frying breaded calamari or shrimp or chicken.
    (Hate to waste oil).
    Hey Pardus I really look forward to seeing you cook a nice stir fry dish. Begining to end. I am now improving at making the sauces. Have a great deal more luck when I make the sauce alone in the wok and then it thickens and then its everyone back in the wok for the finish.

  • Vivian

    Love that he simply refers to the temp as ouch hot water 🙂 Look forward to seeing more videos from him. Hope you and Donna are having a great time in Ixtapa. Hearing really great things on twitter about food blogger camp. Can’t wait to hear your report on it.

  • bob delgrosso

    That was a great lesson about how to cook via common sense and the senses. And yes. “Ouch” is exactly the right moment when simmering water is close to 180.

    Show us something better.

  • jackie

    So he cooked the shrimp with their shells still on? Wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of salting the water? I mean, does the salt penetrate the shell or do you lose your flavoring when you take the shell off?

  • mpardus

    Jackie, the salted water does make a difference – and the water needs to taste seasoned. I don’t know if the salt actually permeates the shell or if it leaches in through the edges of the carapace. It works with intact head-on crustaceans as well.

    BDG – Thanks for the back-up, bro.

  • Pete from DC

    Chef Pardus – after watching the above video, I went onto youtube.com to watch your remaining videos and just want to say how wonderful I think this collaboration is that you are doing with Mr. Ruhlman.

    The videos are instructive, educational, and considering that they are unscripted and done on the fly, so to speak, I think they are remarkably entertaining.

    I could watch a full year’s worth of this sort of thing (in fact, I do, both on the America’s Test Kitchen website [for which I pay an annual subscription fee], and Mark Bittman’s video blog “Bitten” on the NYTimes [which is free, for the time being], my point being that it’s a gift when professional cooks share their knowledge with amateurs, as you are doing here; and a double-gift when that chef also happens to be an instructor) so please consider making more!

    I’m sure I am not the only one who finds this anything but boring. You speak well, you don’t rush your words, and it’s nice to finally be able to put a face to the name mentioned in “The Making of a Chef”!

    Thank you again, and hope to see more of you –


  • bob delgrosso

    The salt “seeps” in through the cut regions of the shrimp and also through the joints between each pleomere (skeletal sections).

  • AnHil

    Thank you for this – as with so many things in cooking, a bit of finesse results in startlingly different results!

    I’m about to start experimenting with Asian, and feel fairly well-prepared after reading through an old-ish Martin Yan cookbook. Shall I return the nonstick-over-anodized aluminum wok I was given for Christmas, or will it help me get palatable results until I’m ready for stainless clad or carbon steel?

  • michelle

    Thanks so much for posting these videos. They are much appreciated and very educational, 160-180 degrees, ouch temperature, love it!

  • chris

    This is great…I’m half way through ‘The Making of a Chef’ and I was wishing there were some photos. Thanks chef Pardus.

  • Rhonda

    If it is at all possible, could everyone please address Chef Pardus as “Chef Pardus” or “Chef” and not “Hey, Pardus”. This is one of my Mentors and I am very protective. He may even answer to “Your Royal Eminence”. Give it a go and Bon Chance.

    If you want to live on the edge, try and get a response from “Bobby Del G”.

    These Guys deserve our respect. Shut up and listen.

  • PEI Cook

    Loved this video since it answered and unspoken question in my Kitchen…How long to poach?? It has always been hit and miss with me.Chef Pardus is one of my heroes and if I were a few decades younger I would enroll in the cooking school. Hallowed kitchens indeed. Love your blog and book.

  • Brad McNeal

    Chef, great to see and hear you after all MR has written about you. Having run restaurants for over 3 decades , my favorite part of “The Making of the Chef” was the “The Storm.” Can’t tell you how many “come to Jesus talks” with youngsters who didn’t understand that coming to work was never negotiable, we just get there without a thought. As I always said “we weren’t drafted, this is an all-volunteer army, suit up &show up” !

  • Cindy Corbett

    Thanks – this was very helpful. Don’t you love those little flip cameras – great for visual note taking.

  • Carrie

    Great lesson – many thanks Chef Pardus! I’m most likely beyond the point where I will ever have the chance to attend a culinary school, so getting these inside glimpses online are a real gift. These cooking techniques may seem like common sense to some, but to me they are revalatory. You shouldn’t boil your shrimp? My mom boiled the crap out of shrimp. Her dad was a tugboat captain and brought home untold pounds of shrimp – shrimp gravy on biscuits for breakfast, shrimp salad, shrimp pie… you get the picture.

    I live in coastal NC (shrimp heaven, obviously) and have never liked shrimp. Hate the texture, all snappy and grainy and rubbery.. hmmm.. sounds like Chef Pardus’ description of overcooked shrimp. I’m a little worried that I’ve lived my entire life in a place with an abundance of freshly caught, delicious seafood that has been boiled into decreptitude.

  • Michael

    Would love to see more.
    Very real and informative stuff.An honor to put the face to the name Chef Pardus.