Koffmann on embroidery and cheese

“When I am working in the kitchen, I never wear a toque. It is something I find slightly pretentious. I feel the same way over the more recent custom of embroidering chefs’ names on their jackets. I find it ridiculous and more than unnecessary to have my name written on me as though I were…

Bocuse on cuisine

“For art, there is no future, it’s the living moment, then it’s dead. That’s wonderful! Cuisine is like a fireworks display, nothing remains. It is une fete (a party), rapid, ephemeral.” Paul Bocuse (1926-2018)

Point on skinny chefs

“Whenever I go to a restaurant I don’t know, I always ask to meet the chef before I eat. For I know that if he is thin, I won’t eat well. And if he is thin and sad, there is nothing for it but to run.” Fernand Point (1897 – 1955) was the French chef and…

On Paul Bocuse

” … a curious food man … With a chef’s hat full of wit, a sparkling eye, a light hand to lift his glass, he is a swashbuckler of the drip pans, a juggler of pots, and a poet of stews … He is a host of eternity, a kind of Medici of food. He…

Patricia Yeo on celebrity

  “Chefs are not supposed to be celebrities! We smell bad, we’re adrenaline junkies, and we have strange social habits.” Acclaimed chef Patricia Yeo is a native of Eugene, Oregon with a doctorate in biochemistry. She is currently the chef of Om Restaurant & Lounge in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Thomas Keller on cooking and the mundane

“This is the great challenge: to maintain the passion for the everyday routine and the endlessly repeated act, to derive deep gratification from the mundane.” Thomas Keller is an American chef and restaurateur who came to prominence for his acclaimed Napa Valley restaurant, The French Laundry in California.

Ramsey on cooking & Viagra

“Cooking is this massive rush. It’s like having the most amazing hard on, with Viagra sprinkled on top of it, and it’s still there twelve hours later.” Gordon Ramsay is a Scottish celebrity chef, restaurateur, and television personality. Love him or hate him on TV, it’s good to be reminded that the man does know how…

Tony Bilson on the table as art

“The table is a place of physics and chemistry, of commerce and trade, of politics and ideas, but above all, a great table is art.” Australian chef Tony Bilson began his career with the ground-breaking Sydney restaurant Bon Gout in the early 70s. His biography Insatiable: My Life in the Kitchen was published by Murdoch…

Bilson on getting things right

“Cookery, a craft, is learned by doing things over and over again with the aim of getting things right; indeed, it is essentially conservative.” Gay Bilson is now retired from professional cookery and has become one of Australia’s most significant food writers. Her professional life included eighteen years at the acclaimed Berowra Waters Inn on the Hawkesbury River…

Pelaccio on simple pleasures and a pig’s head

“All I need for a good time is a whole pig head, simply roasted, my hands, a lot of napkins, a jar of pickled chilies, and a few friends to get elbow deep.” Zakary Pelaccio from the north east of the US, is author of the award winning Eat With Your Hands and founder of NYC’s…

Link on the sounds of cooking

“Something magical happens when food is cooking — the rest of the world melts away, and nothing exists except what’s in the skillet in front of you — and it talks, breathes, and lives. The sounds, aromas, textures, flavours, and the heat of the kitchen — even the occasional searing burn — feel good.”  Donald…

Bertolli on the inspired moment

“A recipe is at the very least a method accounting for a cooking process. At best, it captures a memory or inspired moment in cooking. But it can never quite tell enough, nor can it thoroughly describe the ecstatic moments when the intuition, skill, and accumulated experience of the book merge with the taste and…

Michel Richard: ‘I am a chef!’

“I was lucky to have grown up in a poor family. If I had been rich, I might have become a lawyer … But I was poor, and God made me to be a chef. I smell like a chef, I feel like a chef, I look like a chef. I am a chef ……

Stephanie on ageing

Near the end of her biography A Cook’s Life — one I’ve commented on before — Stephanie Alexander shares an insight into her daily life at the ‘greying’ end of an extraordinary career: ‘Despite these marvellous trips and all the activity associated with being the founder and figurehead of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation…

Jim Hearn on the professional kitchen

‘Dreams drive hospitality. While some people like to think of it as a component of the service industry whose responsibility it is to address the needs of the body, for those on the inside it is a weird and sometimes wonderful dreamscape of ungodly hours, ridiculous pressures, unkind owners, absurd customers, torture, humiliation and occasional…

Chelminski’s ‘The Perfectionist’

If you’re a fan of biography, especially from the kitchen, then Rudolph Chelminski’s The Perfectionist is a delectable read.  It’s a captivating and honest account of the rise and tragic fall of Bernard Loiseau, the irrepressible, larger than life and entirely likeable star of modern French gastronomy–a man who lived in obsessive pursuit of excellence, even immortality, amidst…

Gay Bilson’s ‘Plenty’

In Plenty: Digression on Food, the legendary Australian restaurateur Gay Bilson provides a compilation of intelligent observations about food and culture in Australia. She does so through the lens of her own experience in three notable Sydney restaurants. It is a pleasure to read. For me, Bilson provides one of the more eloquent testimonies to a…

Soup and democracy

I like soup.  During these cold winter months I make a large pot every weekend–pumpkin and ginger, corn and asparagus, chicken noodle, lamb and veggie, lentil and chorizo.  For me there’s nothing as comforting, no meal as intimate or satisfying as a bowl of soup served with a good sourdough.  It warms the soul as…

Stephanie Alexander and obsession

‘He’s obsessed!’ I heard a friend of mine described that way recently, behind his back. It’s a powerful tag. Most commonly it infers a dysfunction, a failing to overcome in favour of personal wholeness. Proponents of that holy grail — work-life balance — paint obsession a wrong to be righted. But I often wonder, does obsession deserve a little more…

Cooking and calling

Commonly, the experience of ‘calling’ in the Christian faith is approached as a mysterious thing and highly prized; to have heard ‘the call’ is to have entered the ranks of the spiritual elite. Tragically, such a mystical approach leaves the majority of Christians in the stands; there they sit—excluded and disempowered—destined to be spectators while…