Monday, 18 July 2011

Right From Scratch

   When cooking food from scratch you need to reflect from where it all started. Is this the first dish you've ever made from the bare bones? Is it the first dish you've made period? Or have you been cooking and building up to this point all your life. Chances are your just having a snack or making a light lunch or big dinner for the family/guests. However if you are the least bit passionate about cooking you need to think back to when it all started. Your first meal out on a date or your grandmothers steak pie (which yeah, she used Bisto). Even when you go in the drive-thru it has somehow impacted your opinion on food. Which most people forget, after water and air it's impossible to live without.

    When you get to your next meal ask yourself how did you get there? What made you want that? Why did you cook it that way? The answer, is usually nostalgic.

      Now, to where it all started.  I was born in Las Vegas, Nevada and a good first part of my childhood was spent there. My mother and father (both English) had split while I was still in the first few years of life, "The best of both worlds" is what was told to me. To look at the much brighter side of things, when I got to spend the time with my father he would always cook for me. Which was mainly his "World famous burgers!" or his sheperd's pie to follow in the morning with bubble and squeak. Dad made all of this from scratch and I loved it. Only on special occasions would myself and guest get dads massive sherry trifle. My dad was 60 when I was born so he really enjoyed proper traditional English grub. Before bedtime he would give me a cup of hot chocolate, two fingers of a kit-kat bar and we would play dominoes before it was, "Light's out!"

Dad and Me
       The majority of my life was spent with my mother and though we still have troubles being around each other longer than three hours without voices risen, for her the kitchen making food for me is when she is happiest. When mum is cooking she will either be watching a cooking show or following a recipe that she saw.  Even if the food is good or not she will enjoy herself with a bottle of wine, which regardless of the recipe would end up in the sauce some how. My mother wasn't Ramsay but it always made her happy and still my favorite dishes as a kid were hers.

My favorite was simple:
   Shrimp, butter, parmesan with capellini d'angelo (better known in the states as angel hair pasta), salt and pepper.


Easy for her and delicious for me.

Mum in her youth
    So my mother and father were obvious reasons why I love food. However living in the sin city-desert doesn't really give you the whole grow, kill, preserve your own food to survive thing. I knew that just working in kitchens wasn't going to light my passion the same way working for my food would. Of course, I still need the kitchens, they are the hub of where the passion is created. But the sourcing trips and the ideas and the plans are where the passion manifest.

     Two years ago, after giving up on joining the British military, I decided to really make a firm decision on what I would do with my life. The answer was food. Not just be a chef, but learn food from scratch. From the bottom. Some people would disagree with my approach or how I'm doing it. But it's my way and it works for me.

    The same day I chose to not join her Majesties finest is the day I signed up at my local college in Stratford-Upon-Avon. I got my first kitchen job as a commis and went to college one day a week. It was a live in job so my head was immersed there pretty much 99% of the time.
Learning to pipe mash to make duchesse at college.
  This is where the journey began and this where we will start. I have only been a cook for two years, worked in two kitchens and ran four different sections. I am starting as a assistant baker at the restaurant I currently work. Every skill needs to be learned to become a real chef I believe, but we will get there eventually. However, lets start right from scratch.

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