I would love to be able to say that my fascination with fine dining has always been with me, or that I can identify one Eureka moment when a single mouthful changed my life. But in truth the interest started slowly in my early twenties and has grown steadily over many years.
a true passion for good food develops through the dedication of time – time focused on the contemplation of pleasure itself
Certainly a trip around that time just outside of my hometown of London to the already world famous restaurant The Fat Duck, may have helped tip what had previously been a passing interest in dining over into something decidedly more focused. However, a true passion for good food, a deeply held love for both the cooking and eating of fine things, is something that grows within you and that must be nurtured. Learning to eat well is a skill like any other. It develops through the dedication of time – time focused on the contemplation of pleasure itself.
With experience comes a gradually changing perception of what makes food delicious in an objective sense, and what subjectively interests and excites your own palate. Crucially, it brings with it a better understanding of your own preferences as a diner, and of what precise spoonful is most likely to leave you blissfully slumped back in your chair in an ecstatic heap.
Becoming a good home cook, specifically when your focus shifts to the type of dishes this blog is about, is also often the result of many years of learning through reading, experimenting, and of course, dining. I hope that I can distill at least part of what I’ve learnt, and about my passion for fine dining, into the coming posts and recipes. That they may also ignite something joyful in you too, and that some of the great pleasure that food has afforded me over the years can first be shared, then passed on.
This is not a blog aimed at a specific type of home cook. There will be simpler recipes for those a little unsure in the kitchen, and some more ‘aspirational’ dishes that require time and technique. Please take from it what you will; Whether that’s just enjoying the ideas, flicking through the photos, or indeed maybe following a recipe.
the knowledge and skills involved in learning to cook just a few restaurant quality dishes from scratch will improve your cooking, and indeed eating, forever
I might infuriate those looking for rigid recipes with everything precisely measured. To me painstakingly following a chemical formula isn’t what cooking, even in the context of fine dining, is about…unless of course it’s pastry.
There are two however overarching themes I would like to stick to, which are the basis of the manifesto:
- The first is to demonstrate that the type of cooking that tends to be considered the domain of chefs alone can also be accessible to us all, given only a little time and willingness to try. We all have a right to be successfully creative in the kitchen.
- Secondly, that the knowledge and skills involved in learning to cook just a few restaurant quality dishes from scratch will support and improve both your cooking, and indeed eating, forever. You can have more confidence, eat more varied food, eat cheaper, waste less, eat healthier… and maybe even have more joy along the way.
And that last part is after all the crucial characteristic of everything we do. For what is more valuable in life than learning to take great joy in something that we all, if we are lucky, do at least twice a day, every day of one’s life.