Thursday, 21 February 2013

The Clueless Chef - By Barry M

In many ways I’m the benchmark metro sexual, a straight guy who does Pilates daily, at ease watching Greys Anatomy or Real Housewives of Beverly Hills as well as watching any sport with a ball with my mates.

Surprisingly though, I’ve always had a clueless blind-spot when it comes to cooking and preparing food for myself. I blame this flaw of course on the fact that I spent 6 years living in New York City, indulging in a lifestyle where you’re out socialising 6.5 nights a week. It’s expensive to live and eat well in NYC and it’s often much cheaper sadly to order delivery to your door. Oh and most New Yorkers will tell you that they’d cook more if their kitchens weren’t the size of their tiny apartment bathrooms.

Since moving back to Sydney though, a small kitchen was no longer an excuse and fresh fruit and vegetables are fortunately in abundance so there really were no excuses left to not learn how to cook.

Inspired, I rushed out and bought all the machines I could think of to make cooking less scary.

My kitchen became branded with Breville products (juicer, sandwich maker, blender, frying wok pan etc). I, like most of the Western world became enamoured with Jamie Oliver cooking shows and bought the iPad app with grand visions of my gliding around my kitchen with a glass of wine in-hand, cooking dinner effortlessly.

One year on, I’ve begun to make the transition from a clueless bachelor with beautiful kitchen to a bachelor with an appliance filled kitchen with small pockets of confidence to try and experiment with food.

I’ve discovered that it’s the baby steps that are the secret to cooking, the confidence to give something a go and to deviate from the recipe a little. 8 out of 10 times I’ve tried to cook something its turned out terribly and I’ve resorted to a Hurricanes Burger but the point is that there are still those 2 occasions where I cook something and its actually edible. Baby steps J

I’ve also learned that while Jamie Oliver is charismatic and excellent at branding himself, he’s bullshitting all of us that cooking delicious meals takes “15 minutes” or even 30. The preparation alone takes a while and before you know it that 15 minute meal took you 45.

Perhaps the greatest learning of all though that I’ve taken away from my slow but progressive shift from clueless in the kitchen to slightly less clueless, is that when it comes to food its cathartic to take the time to be present and enjoy what you’re doing.

My next dinner party is penciled in for March and I plan on tackling Jamie’s Peri Peri chicken dish, it sounds awesome and I’ve mentally committed to making it.

Now I just need to un-invite my vegetarian couple friends that I invited to join us that evening...

- Barry is guest blogging as Alissa is busy looking for grocers near Mawson Station

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