If you’re a foodie, then chances are you love cooking almost as much as you love eating. Sure, heading to the latest, hippest restaurant can be tremendous fun but when you turn out a dish of a similar standard to that restaurant from the comfort of your own kitchen, now there’s a pride inducing feeling. If that suggestion has whet your appetite, then read on; our 5 IDEAL ways to emulate a restaurant in your home kitchen.
SOURCE & COOK FROM FARMER’S MARKETS
Instead of relying on your local supermarket for ingredients, instead find out where your nearest farmer’s market is. This is a great way for you to pick up lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as delicious goodies being sold by various keen homecooks.
This can completely change the way you approach fresh food. Don’t just think about what you need for a specific recipe; if you see a good deal on some gorgeous looking tomatoes then don’t sit on your hands. Instead, pick them up and turn them into a sauce for later use. What’s particularly great about shopping in farmers markets is that you can buy local, seasonal produce, which hasn’t travelled for miles, reducing air miles and guaranteeing freshness.
GO BACK TO YOUR ROOTS
Even in Britain, where the culinary heritage isn’t as admired as some of our continental cousins, there is a fascinating, broad history of cooking that you can draw inspiration from. Do a little research into your family tree to really delve deep and personal. You might discover that your ancestors lived in another part of the country than you do now, with all the regional culinary intrigue that provides.
You might also decide to do some research into the country’s culinary history in general. Trying to emulate Victorian or Tudor food in a modern kitchen is much trickier than it might initially seem, but some contemporary restaurants have managed to capture the spirit of the process and accolades in the process, most notably celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner. Whether you are trying what your ancestors ate or what the kings of old enjoyed at banquets, there’s so much ground to explore.
SEEK SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS
Climate change is the crisis of our generation, and it’s important that we make changes in our own kitchens to reflect this. This is particularly important in terms of food waste; check out our article on 10 IDEAL hacks to turn your food waste into something delicious here.
One of the key areas where you can make a difference is with your coffee. Many of us have coffee machines in our homes which allow us to drink fresh brews in the morning as if we had just picked up a cup from a barista. Thanks to compostable coffee pods from Halo, we can now enjoy the finest of coffee without feeling guilty about the impact our coffee pods are having on the environment. Halo claims that their pods will decompose naturally whether it is in a landfill or in a compost bin in your kitchen. Lovely stuff.
RIGHT TOOLS, RIGHT TASKS
No chef would slice bread with a carving knife or dice onions with a spoon. Follow their lead and set up your kitchen drawers with the appropriate tools for the task. Ideally, and at least, you should have a set of three including a chef’s knife, a serrated bread knife and a paring knife. With these to hand, there will be nothing you can’t handle when it comes to chopping.
Other useful additions to your block or roll would be a filleting knife for precision fish work and a boning knife for making light work of butchery. Almost as essential is a proper implement for sharpening; chefs tend to favour a wet stone, but a steel also works well. Your output will be greatly improved with a few simple investments.
BE HONEST ABOUT YOUR LIMITATIONS
One of the best things you can do when trying to emulate the restaurants in your own kitchen is get to know yourself as a cook. There’s no point trying to butcher a whole deer in the confines of your kitchen if you don’t have any experience doing so; a waste of food and time.
But, should you be a keen baker for instance, then play to your strengths! Focus on emulating fancy pastry work and knock out desserts you’ve tasted on your travels and in great restaurants. Be honest about your limitations and equally, show off your skillset. The results will speak for themselves.