The idea for at my Kitchen Table evolved, where else?
A food blog I thought to myself, but why now? Â Yet adding another voice to the ever proliferating discussions about food and kitchen lore quickly gathered momentum. Many friends, whom I cook for frequently, often ask me for cooking tips and recipes, which routinelyÂ precipitate Â animatedÂ discussions about food, “how do I cook”Â this or that, planning a meal around fresh seasonal local ingredients and produce, cooking procedures thatÂ are easy to follow, growing herbs in the kitchen garden, and so on. The idea seeded…Â at my Kitchen Table spiked and began to grow.
A Cooks wisdom:
Julia Child once dropped a gem of kitchen wisdom on her TV show, as well as a chicken onto the floor, exclaiming, Â Â Â Â â€œRemember, you are alone in the kitchen!â€ Whether this actually happened is rigorously debated, but in spirit it rings so true and says everything about abandoning your inhibitions in the kitchen and running riot with your creative self!
Years ago I found myself leaving Los Angeles and wandering eastward to live in Hawaii, Indonesia, and eventually Â Thailand, where I now reside, along the way gathering an expanding range of new insights about cultural influences, indigenous ingredients, and the pure joy of discovering the diversity of foods and Â cooking across South East Asia. Journeys are a succession of opening doors, widening horizons, and endless adaptations. Not unlike my own kitchen…a converted car port cum-painting studio that transitioned into a working kitchen with all the essential amenities of a commercial set up…all tucked away in a secluded little soi (lane) inÂ the middle of Chiang Mai’s moated old city. Anything is possible using …a little ingenuity and a dash of imagination!
There have been several, often intertwined, all seeded while growing up in eastern Pennsylvania farm country and sprouting in art school.
It was off to Europe after school, traveling extensively and eventually settling in the Netherlands and the serendipitous beginnings of a fashion and textile company that eventually expanded with a relocation to New York. Living in New York Â also provided an entree into the art world and a return to painting, photography, and freelance textile design.
The New York social scene was and is Â vibrant, exciting, and demanding, and precipitated frequent forays into cooking for friends and clients which ignited yet another passion that evolved into yet another unforeseen career. Years later I found myself teaching South West cooking in Santa Fe New Mexico, and consulting, teaching, and catering across the US and Canada, and eventually a long run as an executive chef for a restaurant group in Los Angeles.
Contrary to what may appear to have been a random journey was in fact all related, in that it was always in the pursuit of â€œmaking somethingâ€ with whatever is at hand. We all do this in our own kitchens every day, and what better place to let your intuition and creative self be your guide in the pursuit of cooking the â€œnext best meal everâ€ that you can place on the table with the great satisfaction of being able to please your family, friends, or a crowd of delighted guests.
As for cooks and food enthusiasts I admire and to whom I owe great gratitude for inspiring and informing me over many years; Paula Wolfert, who opened my eyes to food as a cultural â€œcoming togetherâ€,Â Diana KennedyÂ for her unrelenting quest to record the gorgeous diversity of the indigenous flavors of Mexico,Â Nancy Silverton, whose meticulous attention to detailing processes and whose innate â€œfeelâ€ for flavor redefined how to approach cooking from start to glorious finish,Â Julia Child for her joyfully persistent passion for food andÂ cookingÂ with conviction,Â Elizabeth David who brought Mediterranean food to the forefront long before it was in vogue and whose books read like scintillating novels, Marcella HazanÂ for her unfettered adherence to taste and simplicityÂ in bringing authentic Italian cooking into the American kitchen,Â MFK Fisher for her vision of food and the art of eating it as an integral part of enjoying the great pleasures of life, Jane & Michael Stern for many amazing andÂ unforgettableÂ Road Food encounters while driving across America, and of course Nigella Lawson who brought wonderfully homey food to everyoneâ€™s table sans guilt nor remorse, evenÂ in relishing a “naughty indulgence”… from the fridge in the wee hours of the morning!
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