Saturday, November 28, 2009

Honorary Chefs

Hello Friends;
Having attended my sisters birthday party the other day, with a large and varied selection of food, created and displayed by my brother-in-law, David, led me to think about what makes a great chef. Of course there are those that have never had formal training and still do a wonderful job, in fact I have known people in that category that are more accomplished than their qualified counterparts. The former mentioned, usually refer to those people as "cooks". I for one do not subscribe to such snobbery and pretension. What is important I feel, is a love and passion of food and cooking which David certainly has, my brother Barry is the same. People that love food,
wine and cooking for family and friends.

I think the essence of what makes a great chef is being able to cook for a large number of people at one time, obviously under extreme pressure and keeping quality and consistency of the finished product. Also knowing and experimenting with ingredients and products that create a harmonious taste sensation, after all that's how all the great recipes were created in the first place. Every now and then I like to test myself by creating a meal by using solely the ingredients I have on hand, ( I must have got that ability from my mother) Also knowing the structure and composition of the food available and cooking it appropriately to a high level, thus empowering you to be able to cook anything.
Here are some of the birthday dishes, created by David, which I felt moved to capture. The first photo is an oven baked salmon dish, garnished with dill and lemon, served on a bed of prawns with a dark coloured sauce made from the prawn shell, (Rick Stein apparently).
Next is a Roast Lamb Salad, combined with pomegranate and mint leaves. And below we have steamed Bok Choy with a combination of barbecued and crispy pork.

One of the many desserts available was Rocky Road which is marshmallow, chopped peanuts, smothered with melted chocolate and set.

Over the years I have come to realise that not everyone is comfortable cooking a meal for a chef. I want to reassure you that generally we are appreciative of someone else doing the cooking, once in a while, in fact I have known many chefs that have far too many take-out meals.
So I salute David and everyone like him, or her, that makes the effort. For that you deserve to be made Honorary Chefs.
Ciao for now.