Chef Dez is also a food columnist

Chef Dez is also a food columnist

ON COOKING: Embrace the experience, from beginning to end

A passion for cooking can easily be rekindled according to this chef and culinary instructor

by Chef Dez/Special to Black Press Media

Recently, after one of my cooking classes, I was chatting with a woman who was newly single after years of marriage.

She was at the class to hopefully get some inspiration to cook more often because she realized that she didn’t enjoy cooking for only herself.

In our conversation, I recalled a time when I was single and shared with her that, even though I was alone, I would always put on music, light some candles and pour myself a glass of wine. “I was worth it” I told her, “and so are you.”

When rekindling a passion for anything, we need to really focus on the little things that can help enhance the experience.

If the passion for something was once there in the past, it can be found again but we need to feel like the journey is worth it.

For cooking, whether alone or with family and friends, there are many ways to embrace the process and make it special.

Let’s start with the planning of meals.

The woman that I mentioned above did the right thing: get some inspiration from new recipes.

Nothing too challenging however, as you may derail yourself from your plan.

By making mealtime exciting through new menu items for your home, passion can easily be rediscovered.

When you eat out, what kind of food do you usually order?

Maybe choose a regional cuisine that you have always wanted to learn, like Italian, or Vietnamese, for example.

I love perusing through second-hand stores to find old cookbooks focused on types of recipes I have never made before. Obviously, the internet is also overflowing with many recipe ideas, as well.

The next place to focus on would be your cooking equipment and the kitchen itself.

Treat yourself to a new quality chef knife, a beautiful wood-cutting board, and/or some decent cookware.

Depending on your budget, this can really help encourage you to get back into the kitchen.

Also take the time to declutter.

Go through your kitchen and get rid of things that you don’t use, or at least tuck them away.

Find ways to get your kitchen more organized and that will breathe new life into this space and make it feel more enjoyable to be in there. If you have the time, money, and the know-how, maybe a fresh coat of paint, new cupboards, or new countertops are in order.

Shopping for ingredients can also lead to inspiration.

Take your blinders off and realize that there are is a huge variety of foods waiting for you to experiment with.

Sometimes we get in habits of buying the same old ingredients we always buy, and our shopping cart looks about the same on every trip.

Produce sections are a great place to start because the selections are often vast, and then move onto the imported foods aisle, and then the butcher and seafood counters. Talk to the employees in each of these areas and get some recommendations from them as they are the experts in their departments, and they will know what’s popular.

During the cooking process, make sure you put on your favourite music.

This really helps in uplifting your mood in almost any situation.

When I cook, I take the time to chop and portion out everything in advance of the actual cooking process.

This gives me an opportunity to thoroughly enjoy cooking without feeling rushed or stressed out from recipe timing pressures.

When it comes to finally sitting down and enjoying your creations, make sure you take the time and effort to treat yourself right.

Pour that glass of wine, light those candles, and use your best plate ware and cutlery.

Cloth napkins are also a must as they add a more refined feel to the dining process.

Take your time while eating and really enjoy every bite.

Embrace the visual appearance of your dish, smell the aromas, and focus on the flavours and textures when eating.

Lastly, the cleanup.

No one likes the residual mess of dishes after any cooking adventure, so my best advice is to keep that music playing… and perhaps another glass of wine wouldn’t hurt either.

Chef Dez is a food columnist and culinary instructor in the Fraser Valley. Visit him at www.chefdez.com. Send questions to dez@chefdez.com or to P.O. Box 2674, Abbotsford, B.C. V2T 6R4

RECENT COLUMNS: Trying adding some sage to scallops

and

Moderation required in everything, including fat

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Parker Goddard, swinging at the ball) is wanting to hear from anyone interested in playing Spikeball. (Parker Goddard/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Langley Spikeball is looking for players

Local resident inviting people to try out a new hybrid sport – volleyball meets trampoline

Anne-Marie Walsh snapped this photo of farmland along Glover Road on Oct. 10 when the interesting clouds caught her attention.
SHARE: Clouds captivate in rural Langley

Send us your photo showing how you view Langley, and it could be featured in a future edition

Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or in writing.
LETTER: Langley churches offer in-person services precisely because they care about people

Letter writer concerned Township councillor wants to punish churches with tax threat

Crows gather at in the cottonwoods of Sandra Kidder’s neighbour in Aldergrove every winter morning just before sunrise. (Sandra Kidder/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
SHARE: Aldergrove cottonwoods hosts morning murder of crows

Send us your photo showing how you view Langley, and it could be featured in a future edition

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

sdf
Another Mission student arrested for assault, in 2nd case of in-school violence this week

RCMP notified of local Instagram page with videos (now deleted) showing student assaults, bullying

(Photo by Kevin Hill)
40 cases linked to Surrey Memorial Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

Fraser Health says two death are associated with the outbreak

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Most Read