Everyone has a unique story to tell when it comes to their journey of food and cooking. For me, the practical side of cooking didn’t begin until I was a young, married woman, but the love of food started much earlier, having been raised in Brazil and being raised by a mother who loved to try new foods and enthusiastically supported street vendors. My husband, naively enough, married a girl who literally had never stepped into a kitchen.
Like many young couples, we were going to school and working and living on the tightest of budgets. From day one, it became apparent that every penny mattered and so I learned to make everything from scratch. That included bread, noodles and baked goods. Being financially compelled to work in the kitchen, I discovered a great love for it. As the family grew, my interest in food and cooking grew as well……perhaps to the point of obsession. The moment our two sons left for school I would pull out my few cookbooks and plan the evening meal, usually no less than three courses, frequently substituting ingredients to make them affordable and practical to us. It became a challenge and thrill to do more with less and recycle leftovers and never waste a bit of anything.
As the family grew, my interest in food and cooking grew as well……perhaps to the point of obsession.
Needless to say, my husband and sons were grateful recipients of the time spent in the kitchen. They shipped me off for formal training at Le Cordon Bleu and after that an associate degree from Boise-State Culinary Arts program. These experiences and training led me to working in the business, a 17-year run hosting NPR’s Food for Thought and owner and head chef of the James Beard-honored Doughty’s Bistro. Always inspired by the challenge of excellence on a budget, my mission has been to impart the joys of creating extraordinary meals to any aspiring home chef.
Our motivations may be different but everyone, every day, must make food and cooking choices. Never underestimate the value of your day-to-day experiences. Learning a few basics puts you in a position of power in the kitchen. Simple tips and tricks give you creative freedom and lead to great satisfaction. All this and knowing how to use the ingredients you have on hand is what truly makes a chef. As you study and work from this book you will find yourself developing the attributes of a chef and before long you’ll be ready for the food channel!