Timing is essential in the kitchen. Without timing, from digital to internal clocks, food and dishes do not come together. Time drives the kitchen--from the amount of time needed to brine pork belly to the time needed to slow cook shrimp so they set like custard its background presence is essential to the conception of food.
Many cooks insist that they do not need to use timers, they just know. Bull, and I speak from experience. Timing is essential, and exact timing just gets us closer to preparing better products. When I first started cooking I burnt five trays of bacon in one shot. Not good particularly as a young cook who needed the bacon to make 40 Cobb salads. I learned to use the timer for I did not need to go through the embarrassment of explaining sheet pans of over charred pork products.
Over time I have learned what I can do in a period of time and that understanding acts as an internal metronome. It keeps me in check, or at least it did. I had learned how long a braise took and quickly bacon cooked. I felt confident in my ability to keep time.
Yet, in recent months I have realized that a timer is still indispensable in the kitchen. With our evolving rehearsed cooking, particularly slow cooking in an aquatic environment, precise timing is again becoming essential. Sure, I listen to my internal metronome, that keeps the rhythm, but a timer and a thermometer help define the parameters in which we are able to consistently produce perfectly cooked products. The metronome is our backbone and instinct which we use to narrow the guess work and capture the ideal window for cooking ingredients.
Unfortunately, I have not quite come around in the scale department and the creation of recipes. I believe scales are necessary though, in our current environment where improvisation and inspiration spark many of our combinations I am willing to then go back and retrace our steps to catalog precisely. Our approach allows for the free flow of ideas, not hindered by the steps necessary for exact replication. The long and short of it is I have come around with timers and am looking into scales.