About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Thursday, September 04, 2008
From The Soul
Since they didn't manage to kill off the Queen in the first series of Great British Menu, the BBC reckoned it was on a winner and we are now up to series three (Lifestyle Food, Mondays 7.00pm). In this current series, Matthew Fort has rounded up the best chefs from around Britain and they have faced a four way cook-off for the right to proceed to regional finals, the winners then cooking a four course banquet at "The Gherkin", hosted by Heston Blumenthal.

While being interviewed, Angela Hartnett commented, "...I know what Matthew(Fort) likes", the clear inference being Hartnett could influence the outcome, simply by cooking food she knew he liked. A bit like the tail wagging the dog.

It gave me pause to reflect on the way I cook, for, with the exception of Mother's Day when a young boy, I have always cooked food that seemed tasty to me first and foremost. Anyone is welcome to come along for the ride and happily it would seem that my taste is in sync with most others, but the idea of cooking for someone else's taste is completely foreign to me.

How would one go about coming up with a dish to please another's palate? That's not to say you can't cook a dish that you know somebody else already likes, but coming up with a completely new dish is an artistic expression, one that has to have elements of the artist's soul driving the creative process, intuitively combining different ingredients to the right degree, then arranging them in an aesthetic way; good food is an ephemeral painting on a plate, but engages far more senses than any masterpiece hanging in a gallery.

Great chef that she is, it was no surprise that Hartnett made it to the regional cook offs, equally, it was no surprise that she made it no further.
  posted at 11:38 am

At 5:43 am, Blogger Glyn said...

Interesting, but I think that of all the chefs whose food I've eaten Angela is one of the ones that cooks most to suit her own taste, her latest restaurant being very much a case in point. Probably the reason she didn't make it any further was the fact that she was winging it rather than putting in lots of preparation, unlike Jason Atherton who was preparing ferociously for weeks. And in case you think I'm making it up:


At 2:06 pm, Blogger Ran said...

Im with you Neil, I dont know how to cook for people of different tastes. I cook to my taste - which i never really thought about until I made a dessert some people didnt like becasue it wasnt sweet enough (too much dark chocolate). I hate milk and white chocolate and somehow along the way assumed everyone was the same!

At 9:58 am, Blogger neil said...

Hi geranium, of course I believe you, nice photo of Angela, is it yours? I'm sure what she said was a throw-a-way line, but it seemed to be telling of her thinking, which would be in line with your winging it comment. Shame she was knocked out, I like to watch her cook too, love her general attitude to food as well.

Hi ran, what was up with your guests, you can't have to much dark chocolate!


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