I love the stories that many chefs tell about growing up in their grandma's kitchen helping to make homemade gnocchi for Sunday lunch or stoking the fire in the brick oven that Aunt Aida used for baking her homemade breads. That wasn't me. In fact, until I was in my mid-30's I barely cooked at all. As a young professional I spent little time at home and when I was home I had no interest in cooking. After all, there were so many good restaurants and prepared foods around, why would I bother?
My views about cooking changed when I read a book (still one of my favorites) called "A Year in Provence" by Peter Mayle. In this amusing novel/journal about a couple from London who spend a year renovating a farmhouse in the South of France, Mr. Mayle describes in great detail the times the couple spend sharing the regional foods and wines with friends. Sometimes they prepare great feasts at their new home; other equally delectable meals are enjoyed at a simple picnic or in the restaurant of a small village. From these pages the pleasures of the table were revealed to me. A meal was something more than sustenance; it was an enjoyable pastime, something to be lingered over. I finished the book with the desire to make these dining experiences a part of my life. But before I started inviting friends over, I needed a little help on the cooking front.
I didn't waste any time in signing up for a 13-week basic cooking course at a home store/cooking school in San Francisco. These were evening classes and a complete diversion from the rigors of my day job. With practice and kind friends who were willing guinea pigs, my cooking confidence and repertoire grew. I decided to devote myself full time to the craft and enrolled in the renowned cooking school Le Cordon Bleu. This proved to be an eye opening, life changing experience.
As much as I thought I knew about food and cooking, I felt I was starting all over again. I deboned ducks, quail, pheasants and pigeons; I stuffed pig intestines with freshly ground sausage meat and made a delicious appetizer with lamb brains. Fish were scaled, gutted, skinned, steamed, poached and broiled. I made pastry in all its forms: sweet, savory, puff and choux. Cakes were decorated, sugar was spun, chocolate was tempered. Finally, after more than a year as a full time student in both the cuisine and pastry courses, I graduated in London with my Grande Diplôme. I was exhausted, relieved, highly trained, and entirely unsure of what to do next.
Upon returning to San Francisco, I went back to my cooking roots. I enrolled in the teacher-training program at the home store where I had taken my first cooking classes. I dabbled in restaurant work, but it became abundantly clear that teaching was what I loved to do. Not only was I sharing my wealth of knowledge, I was bringing people together to enjoy food - the primary goal of my culinary odyssey. I started a home-based cooking school and taught private classes, group classes, and team-building classes. I taught kids and adults of all ages. My students improved their cooking skills and I improved my teaching skills.
I moved to Park City, Utah in 2006. I began teaching at the local gourmet-cooking store, No Place Like Home, and as word spread more and more people began requesting my classes. People came to learn, to eat, to socialize all of the things that make cooking fun for me. I wanted to reach a broader audience, but it occurred to me that there are only so many classes I can teach in a year. And as much as the local Parkites may love me, there are only so many classes they will take.
We all have to eat, and most of us do it 3 or more times a day. Eating well is an enjoyable activity, so why not make learning about cooking techniques, finding recipes and sharing food ideas with others enjoyable too? I wanted a cooking site that was easy to navigate, had great information about food and cooking, and one that was aesthetically pleasing calm, uncluttered, warm and attractive.
This gets us back to the original question What is foodell.com? foodell.com is education. It's community. It's food. It's inspiration. I created foodell.com for those who want to eat well, both in the healthy sense and the quality sense, and for those who may want a little guidance in the process. So whether you're trying to feed a busy family or want to throw an impressive dinner party, foodell.com will help bring the pleasures of the table into your home. Bon appétit!