As a former restaurant chef I can tell you they really do use that much salt in cooking. When you get a salad in a restaurant, the salad dressing, individual components and the greens have all been salted separately. In this one place I worked, we did a potato and celery root gratin. Loads of salt and cream went into it, far, far more than I'd ever use at home. And pasta is often cooked in water that's so salty, it's unpleasant to taste unless you like drinking sea water.
The tomato paste, though, in the Bolognese...I'm not really sure about that. Tomato paste has a very cooked to me. I make my Bolognese sauce with canned whole tomatoes (not from Italy, it may be heresy but so far as I'm concerned, the best tomatoes are Muir Glen organics). I also finish mine with a little milk during the last 45 minutes or so. Molly Stevens, in her recent, excellent book on braising, is also a big fan of really carmelizing the veg and meat. She also says you can't skip on that step, so I'm kind of surprised by how little Hazan cooks her fond in the link below.
The cooking times should have been included. Items are not timed in a restaurant like they are at home (in fact, ask a chef when something will be done, and he/she will tell you "when it's done"), but since the show is geared to home cooking, it would be helpful.
bursell - if you kept adding water, you were diluting the salt. That's why you season so heavy in the beginning.
I like Anne, she reminds me of many of the people I worked with in my restaurant days. You have to keep in mind, normal people really don't work in restaurants - what perfectly normal person would work the insanely long hours (which means you have a really weird social life) being paid barely above minimum wage in a hot, airless box doing something extremely hard and repetitive hour after hour? Anne's now an executive chef where the money is not bad but the restaurant world culture is what it is. It tends to attract a more quirky sort of person than, say, working in an investment bank, like I do now.
Edited by lvmb123, Jul 7, 2008 @ 9:43 PM.