Saturday, April 01, 2006

chefjohn in buenos aries

preparing for the big asado in the garden of a chef pal in argentina.
Bring on the lomo.

Well here I am starting off with a blog to get ideas for a project I'm about to start in two weeks.

First let me say I have only seen blogs since viewing tasting menu.com 2 months ago and was inspired by the prose of its author and the wicked photos. Furthermore to read stories from a guy as passionate about food as me.

The next inspiration was from nordljus. I dream of taking photos like keiko, I would love to learn that skill , composition lighting. Wow! Respect.

I have been cooking for six years on and off. I gave up my career in media sales to take a beginners cookery course at 33 in Dublin, where I was temporarily living. After one year I moved back to my birthplace of Birmingham where housing is cheaper (I already had one) and college was renowned Birmingham College of Food to finish nvq3 in kitchen and larder. Two years later and a piece of paper (and £10K in debt) I was on paper a qualified chef. HA HA.

Suffice to say that after 6 jobs, a fantasticArgentineann mentor, a restaurant of my own (four years) a deli of my own (3 years) I know a fair bit about food.

I now temp in kitchens and help run a commercial website about dining in Cornwall (whereIi now live) and Devon.

The reason for the blog is one of my customers runs a successfull health food shop and veggie cafe in Penzance. I chatted about wanting to get back into the kitchen after being away in Oz for six months with my new wife (a veggie) and also not wanting the 80 hours weeks.

She wanted someone experienced and qualified to add evenings to her restaurant and I thought it would be a great challenge. We're opening easter just Friday and Saturday nights.

NowI'm married to a veggie (we met in my restaurant she had heardI did tasty stuff) I cook without meat or fish a lot. It's a real challenge cooking this way and I am embarking on making Archie Browns Cafe the best veggie restaurant in Cornwall. I have tried fantastic veggie food (Wife and I had dinner at French Laundry in 2003) and I have had terrible veggie food (most places we've eaten within 100 miles of our house) .

So a challenge that includes my experiencee, my pride (owner hasn't tasted my cooking yet), my camera (use the digi everyday for the website http://www.eatoutcornwall.com) and my brain. I have to get to grips with how to introduce protein, strange pulses and ingredients like tempeh, tofu, brown rice and quinoa.

I will try to get u all exited about vegetaria and would love to get tips hints and help to make this place renowned in the South West.

I intend to call the food "globally inspired tapas" as my wife andIi have been to 16 countries since meeting four years ago. I have lived in UK Ireland Vancouver, Canada and traveled with my job and with my camera to great food destinations like France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, USA, Barbados, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Tunisia, Morocco, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Norway, Germany, Holland, Malaysia, Dubai, South Africa off the top of my head.

I want the food to be full of flavour and will try to make it look as best as my short sausage like finger can make it. I am with the half of cooks who say theydon'tt like fussy fancy food that prefer flavour. The truth isIi haven't a great eye for presentation, am not artistic and would love to put a plate together like keiko http://www.nordljus.co.uk I just cant. I'm too clumsy (mom said I used to fall overa lot as a child) andIi make a mess even when I try really hard not to like whenI'm in a competition or in front of a camera.

On the plus side,I've eaten hundreds of dishes from guys (and gals) who can paint a brilliant little picture on a plate, but couldn'tt understand seasoning if their life depended. So, thankfully I have a great palate, I make food you want to finish to the last mouthful, everyone likes the taste of my cooking and the reason for this is just one. Passion.

I love to cook ,I love ingredients,I love great products made with care ,I love talking about food,I love eating,I loveentertainingg,I love cooking for people to make them smile, make them say Shit that was good.

So there we are. I hope this turns in to a good blog. Idon't want fame, just a soundboard.

My wife likes food, but she's not obsessed like me. I have to turn off at times,I drive her mad.

Meanwhile we'll try some dishes, I can hopefully teach a few things to folks asI've read a few thousand books, have a few hundred and enjoy creating some bold new interesting things for the people of West Cornwall.

Chaaaarge!!!