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Invention is Part of a Chef's Job Description

Part of your chef training involves learning the process by which new dishes are created. Restaurant and hotel chef jobs often require the conception and execution of new and exciting "signature" dishes that keep the customers coming back.

Very often a kitchen's popularity depends on the chef who rules that kitchen. Such popularity is a fickle thing. It can depend on one or two innovative and exciting dishes. These "famous" dishes are one of the ways a chef earns his or her salary. Of course, the so-called famous dishes can be forgotten with the same suddenness that they became popular. I learned this lesson when people started raving about spaghetti Mardav. It was the sort of dish that would have gone unnoticed in the average chef training school, but the people loved it and asked for it again and again.

Fortunately, I didn't fall in love with my own creation. I kept working on real inventions and real innovations. I say fortunately, because after about 6 months the popularity of spaghetti Mardav had passed and, as we say in the trade, it "fell off the menu." It didn't matter to me, because I had already invented two or three other dishes that were even more popular.

Spaghetti Mardav

Cook your spaghetti to the al dente (slightly hard) stage. Use regular spaghetti and not fettucine, spaghettini, and especially not cappellini (angel hair spaghetti).

Chop up lots of very fresh garlic. Let it stay rough, don't chop it too finely and don't crush or grind it.

Saut� the garlic in olive oil. Let the garlic begin to blacken (burn) slightly. Throw in a big handful of pine nuts. Add butter and let the butter brown slightly.

Pour the hot oil and garlic mixture over your spaghetti. Add lots of freshly ground Parmesan cheese. Garnish with chopped fresh basil leaves and serve.