In the “Foodie” world, competition is a big deal. The Food Network is loaded with shows like Iron Chef, Food Network Challenge, Cupcake Wars and more. Fox has Hell’s Kitchen and the new Master Chef that has home cooks compete to become a “Master Chef”. The most prestigious competition is the Bocuse d’Or. It takes something more than just great culinary chops to do this sort of thing. You have to have nerves of steel, be able to think and work fast and be extremely creative. I am in awe of these people. I spend more time than I really should admit watching these kinds of shows. So when I read about Chef Timothy Hollingsworth I was instantly impressed. He won the USA version of Bocuse d’Or in 2008!
Hollingsworth is the current Chef de Cuisine at Thomas Keller’s restaurant French Laundry in Napa Valley. I have had the opportunity to eat at one of Thomas Keller’s restaurants and let me tell you, it was an experience! I actually got to meet him at a charity Kitchen Tour in the Napa Valley a lot of years ago. I am a fan, I admit it. So back to Chef Hollingsworth, what impressed me the most was to learn that he never went to culinary school and worked his way up from dishwasher during the course of seven years. He did complete apprenticeships in France, Germany and England which had to be life changing. In a recent article he shared his 5 tips for the home chef and they are GREAT. I have them tacked on my refrigerator as we speak:
1) Right before you serve a dish add a finishing salt like fleur de sel, sel gris or Maldon Sea salt flakes.
2) Grow your own herbs instead of buying them in a store. This will ensure that you always have the best produce to work with. I have always done this. (My daughter just moved into a new apartment and one of the first things she did was buy some potted herbs. On moving day her whole car smelled like Paris.)
3) Invest in Spices. Having a repertoire of different spices will help you in preparing a dish. You can buy a nice assortment from McCormick in a nice rack that hangs on the wall.
4) Try one new recipe each week. This will help you to constantly learn and challenge yourself, and you’ll avoid getting bored with the dishes you may always make. Later, you may even start to write your own recipes!
5) Sharpen your knives. Using a sharp knife will increase the elegance of the final dish. If you don’t know how to sharpen knives yourself, there are many places that will do the work for you.
Per tip #4 I tried one of Chef Hollingsworth’s recipes: Goat cheesecake with navel orange relish and honey poached blueberries. It’s a long name but an incredible dessert. Tangy, creamy and unique! Of course I made it with Oregon Fruit Canned Blueberries!Tags: Blueberries