To my fellow Domestic Chef’s (and those who haven’t taken the leap yet)

This is a baked chicken over a semi-sweet chocolate sauce.
 
I made this for my boyfriend and my daughter (they eat meat). In their words “IT WAS DISGUSTING”! My daughter made vomiting faces. Now this was not the first time that I have prepared chicken but it was the first time I made this recipe. There is no need to tell you what went wrong but lets just say – its back to the drawing board with this one.

A kitchen can be a very intimidating place. All meals start off with the best of intensions but after a ton of nasty kitchen creations, a heap of charred delights and dried out bites many domestic and beginner chefs find themselves discouraged and disenchanted.  A professional chef might tell you that preparing a meal can be overwhelming and in some cases difficult. It takes a lot of skill, a ton of patience, and a big set of balls (or ovaries – which ever you prefer) to attempt the creation of a meal that someone would actually eat.

Although cooking a meal can be a complicated overwhelming process, I believe that if you are armed with the right tools and the right attitude you can create magnificent meals that your family and friends will marvel over. It isn’t completely farfetched that you could replicate one of those well dressed dishes that you see the professional chefs making. You could even create something better.

Five “chefisms ” that everyone should know before embarking on a cooking journey:

1. BE FLEXIBLE

Make sure you know your kitchen. Get intimately acquainted with it. Where are your pots? Where are your seasonings? Where is your stove? While this idea might sound funny to you, NOT knowing your kitchen will only help to reinforce the thought that, “you might suck as a cook”. You should be able to easily visualize where your cooking tools are from your stove top (and in some cases your tools should be within arm’s reach). If you know your kitchen you will move fluidly – dicing, sauté, boil, bake, and back again! Like a dance between lovers, your kitchen will give up all of its secrets if you just take the time to get to know it.

2. MAN UP!

Stop being afraid to cook! Grow a set…!

3. NEVER APOLOGIZE!

Paying homage to Madame Julia Child, never apologize for what you do or don’t do in the kitchen. If you create sewer sludge either toss out or serve it with a sprig of parsley. If your audience hates it, take the constructive criticism (refer to #2) and armed with that – set out to do better next time. Failure is the best learning experience.

4. BE OPEN MINDED

When you are cooking let your imagination loose. Look at what other chefs are doing and stimulate your mind at all times. Read the latest issue of Bon Appetite or other industry specific reading. It does not matter if it’s vegetarian or not (recipes are transferable). What is important is that you broaden your scope and understanding of food; how to prepare it, how to eat it, and how to enjoy it.

5. SHARPEN YOUR SENSES

Can you smell? Can you taste? Can you hear? Can you see? Can you feel? If you said YES to at least two out of the 5, then you are in perfect shape. Get in that kitchen and whip up a batch of your best magic. Go to the grocery store and smell a ripened peach. Bite into an onion. Close your eyes and rub your fingers over a head of Romanesco . Your senses will thank you! Once you sharpen those senses,  trusting your instincts will soon follow.

You might not have culinary aspirations but you can still learn how to create healthy, quick and delicious meals that look as though they were taken straight out of a magazine.

Cooking is a journey! Eating is a passion!

Bon Appetite!

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