I’m a student living in the Netherlands. I have cooked seriously for a number of years now and my professional cooking experience consists of a total of 10 days working in a Spanish restaurant a few years back. Here I learned how NOT to relate to food: frozen fish, ready-made dips and one time seeing the head chef (!) picking food of the ground. This reinforced my nature to cook with fresh ingredients and, when time allows, to start from scratch.
I also completed two years of cookery school, which was once a week and got a diploma as a ‘basic chef’. All the other students were professional chefs, but I did it because I liked the more professional approach in contrast to cookery courses. I learned a lot of basics, mostly cold preparations and some elementary warm preparations, like stocks, but I did not work in professional restaurants (as recommended), so If I’m placed in a restaurant I would probably loose it.
About three years ago I came across Kitchen Chemistry on the internet. A series with some great insights into food and a host, Heston Blumenthal, with a unique inquisitive mind. Later I saw In Search of Perfection, Full on Food, Big Chef Takes on Little Chefand Heston’s Feasts. From these programs I learned to question the processes behind food and long standing claims. When I started thinking about creating a blog on food all this added up to the one you are on now.
The Big Fat Duck Cookbook may be in spirit, the ultimate cookbook to cook your way through, since Heston Blumenthal has done the exact same thing to French cookbooks before opening his restaurant. This does not mean the book lends itself well for a cook-through blog. It will not be a walk in the park, far from it, because some recipes are five pages long and require very expensive equipment. Bummer. But why should everything be simple as is the message of contemporary cooking shows?
One of the most challenging aspects will be to cook recipes without the equipment that is used in the restaurant. Items like a sous-vide waterbath, thermomix, freeze-dryer, PacoJet and vacuum machine are used throughout the book, but a bit expensive for a home kitchen. I will try my best to find a solution for this situation, like sweet talking a local butcher into letting me use his vacuum chamber (I can already picture the conversation) or use a rice cooker as a water bath.