Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Chef, Cook - what's in a name?

I've seen a few episodes of Top Chef and I can safely say that is not me, but does that mean I'm not a chef? Wikipedia defines a chef as a person who cooks professionally, so unless you count my upcoming dinner at Socha that knocks me out too. For me cooking is a process. I look at cookbooks, cooking magazines, shows on Food Network and cooking websites. I go to the farmer's market and see what's fresh, what's in season. I love finding new recipes to try and shopping and planning meals and parties. But I'm not a professional chef and I don't really want to be. Cooking is my joy, my passion, the way I show people I love them. Really. If I cook for you I must love you because I do put a lot of work into my meals; even though I make it look easy.  People don't arrive at my house with dozens of pots and dishes dirty, me running around crazed with nothing ready to eat. I've been thinking tonight - what really is my skill set when it comes to cooking? I think it's planning and prepping ahead of time - that is the first thing that will help you feel less stressed about cooking for others. The second secret for me is the timing (which is again about prepping ahead of time).  Lots of things can be made the day before or at the very least a few hours before (obviously not everything) but you can get a lot of things done and ready before you need to serve them instead of at the last minute when you have people at your house watching and waiting-you should be chatting and drinking with them instead of frantically trying to get the meal on the table! It just takes a little time and practice and some trusty recipes - and you too can be a a good cook! That's all I want to be called. A good cook. 

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