Restaurant kitchens are complex work spaces. As seasonal ingredients change, or inspirations bring new dishes to the menu, everyone in the kitchen must learn new techniques, recipes and methods. This information has long been conveyed through the use of pocket sized kitchen notebooks filled with scribbles and drawings of plating directions, the formulas and recipes needed for the next dinner service. You can gather a great deal of information about the cooks themselves by how they organize and reference their notebooks.
As technology becomes faster and more compact, this ancient practice is beginning to give way to ipods, clouds or smartphones tethered to home computer databases, giving the kitchen managers and their staff a virtual up to the minute restaurant cookbook. Will it lead to better cooking, or will the young line cooks just become more dependent on explicit instructions, losing their ability to taste, adjust, and think about the principles of their skill set?