Chefs That Have Influenced My Cooking
I come from a long line of great cooks, but there are several professional Chefs that have influenced my cooking over the years. I have various cookbooks from each of these Chefs.
Julia Child what can I say! When I think of Famous Chefs, her name was the first to come to mind. She has influenced many new generations of Chefs. She gave me a love for cooking French cuisine and the confidence to try something new and more complicated.
Graham Kerr (The Galloping Gourmet) A very animated Television Chef back in the late 60’s, Graham Kerr injected his light-hearted humor and silly antics along with his cooking. The series went through 1971 and he used quite a bit of wine and clarified butter. After several personal tragedies, he came back on Television in the mid 70’s with healthier meals. At the close of the show he showed a whiteboard where compared the classic dish with the healthier version.
Martha Stewart brought things down a notch and made cooking easy for the home chef. Every one of her cookbooks are filled with simple, yet elegant ways to present the meal. Her instructions are well thought out and easy to follow.
Jacques Pepin – PBS found a treasure with Jacques Pepin. Over his long culinary career, he has taken French cooking and turned it into something that was easy for the home cook with plenty of family friendly recipes. While Julia Child taught us haute’ French cuisine, Jacques Pepin brings us recipes found in the French home. Jacques Pepin is also the master at technique. Just watch him cook an omelet.
Lidia Bastianich has helped me enjoy Italian cooking at home. While we are Italian and Sicilian, she has recipes that I had heard of from Italian friends or ate in Italian restaurants, but we never made at home. I love watching Lidia prepare these recipes and connecting with my Italian/Sicilian heritage.
Emeril Lagasse brought what I call restaurant cooking into the home. His catchphrases “Let’s kick it up-a-notch!” brings excitement back into my cooking when I need to change things up a bit. “Bam!”
The Two Fat Ladies (Clarissa Dickson Wright and Jennifer Paterson) – As the saying goes, “Never Trust A Skinny Chef!” I really enjoyed watching these two ride across the British countryside, in their sidecar/motorcycle, as they prepared meals for various groups along the way. They had recipes and used ingredients that were not typical in America. I miss watching them on TV. While both ladies have passed, you can still find some clips of their show on YouTube.
Ina Garten brings out inner caterer in me. She provides simple recipes for the home chef and shows us how to have small dinner parties at home. Even when the dinner party has only one guest, her husband Jeffrey, she makes the meal memorable.
Paula Deen makes cooking fun and oh so tasty! Can you say butter, LOL!
Other chefs that have influenced me were the chefs at Kendall College and The French Pastry School in Chicago, IL. At The French Pastry School, I was lucky enough to be taught by renowned chefs, Sebastien Canonne M.O.F., Jacquy Pfeiffer and John Kraus. Jacquy Pfeiffer was always patient and helped us celebrate when we achieved success with a complicated pastry with a resounding, Voilà!
One of my favorite instructors and an accomplished professional Chef, is Chef Pierre Pollin at Kendall College. Loved by all of the students, he taught us the basics of cooking and how to work in in the kitchen. He made learning easy. His critiques were always fair and provided words of encouragement on how to fix something that went wrong, like a broken Hollandaise Sauce. He always gave us additional pointers on how to complete the meal and even gave us a couple wonderful recipes from a restaurant that he owned. An avid beekeeper, he has the best honey in the Chicagoland area.