My love story started in 1996. In England
Before that, I didn’t know how to cook a courgette. And the most fancy food I had ever had was duck.
I regularly get mad with my fellow French citizens who easily laugh at the British food universe. For most the French people, UK gastronomy is limited to boiled meat, mince sauce and fluorescent jelly. But I know it’s not true!
Thanks to the wealthy family for whom I worked as an au-pair, I first discovered the fine world of gastro pubs and Indian restaurants. Coming from a family who didn’t cook anything fancy or spicy, my life changed and I discovered FLAVOURS!
As my University studies in France were taking me nowhere, I settled in England and accepted the first job I was offered: kitchen help in a Persian restaurant. The food they prepared was fresh and had mediterranean inspirations.
I tried so many things that year. Even French specialities I had never tried before! Now more than 20 years later, I still remember the delicate aroma of the Chicken Liver Paté, the magnificent taste of the Beef Stroganoff with cream and Cognac, the blissful pleasure of bread dipped in the béarnaise sauce, the sublime combination of olive oil feta and tarragon, the surprising accordance of Deep Fried Brie with red fruit coulis…
When coming back to France, I kept on working in the catering business. Years passed and I grew more and more curious. During all my travels, local food was one of my favorite thing to discover.
Over the years, I tried to work both in the kitchen and on the floor. The quality of the products I used slowly became a priority. And I have to argue with myself to buy an aubergine in the middle of winter now!
We all know how important it is to select what we buy to feed ourselves. My vegetables are 95% organic, local and seasonal. Not only is it cheaper, but it is also environmentally-friendly. Right now, in our part of the world – and during the last 3 or 4 months, we’ve had Brussels sprouts, cabbage (loads!!!!), carrots, onions, leeks, potatoes, greens (spinach, lettuce, kale), turnips, winter Squash, and a (expensive!) apples. And to be honest, I’m getting so bored of being a sensible locavore! Although it is said “eating seasonally keeps challenging my creativity to come up with new, fun and delicious dishes based on what I’ve find“, it is getting more and more difficult to stay focus.
To make it even more complicated, I love mediterranean food. Ottolenghi makes me dream of fresh figs, tasty tomatoes and aubergines, lima beans with lemon… But to enjoy all of these, I have to wait. Months!
Sometimes, I wish I didn’t care that much about what I eat. Not that I am a health freak, but I know I’m doing the right thing. And I love cooking so much. A couple of years ago, I worked in the kitchen of a small canteen. I spent about 5 to 6 hours everyday peeling, baking, roasting… And as soon as I came home in the evening, I started preparing our dinner and spent an extra hour cooking again. It was a never ending story
When starting this post, I had planned to write about what I ate during my stay in Sydney, how I missed the mangoes and ripe tomatoes and avocados at the Paddy’s Haymarket, the Egyptian bakery, the King prawns from the Fish Market, the steamed bao buns near Bondi, and so much more…
But I guess all I want to write about is my love for food!
Well good job! I’m hungry now…