The concept of Approachable Gourmet has been developing as I grow in my business and in my experience as a cook. Growing up, I honestly didn't cook much. I ate. I was surrounded by great Italian cooks and as a kid, the notion of cooking for myself was bizarre. Mom made the meals, and if Mom didn't cook; Dad did. If Dad didn't cook Grandma or Auntie or good old Firebaugh Restaurant were there to feed me. It wasn't until I got my first apartment that I even tried to cook. I started out making some of my favorite home meals. I called my Mom for “recipes” and instructions constantly. The learning process may have been quicker if my Mom had anything written down. It is a habit that I also formed and with this blog am trying to break. Most of the dishes I was trying were my Mom's tried and true weeknight meals which were things she just learned to do by watching my grandmother or she made up along the way. So the process of learning to cook became the process of creating my own home.
As I got a little more seasoned at my craft (pun totally intended). I began to branch out from my typical Italian and American dishes. I bought Middle Eastern and Asian cookbooks and I tried cooking anything and everything. I love to experiment with food, but time and budget are frequently an issue. I regularly experienced that not so uncommon feeling when going through a great cook book and you find something that sounds so amazing, but it takes 14 days to prepare and has an ingredient list 3 pages long. I would get so intimidated that I would just stick a post-it on the page and put it away for a special occasion. Once I had a whole shelf of cookbooks and tons of post-its invested; I said I just have to do something different. So, I started taking base ideas from cookbooks, restaurants, and even home favorites and adapted them to my taste, time, and budget. This is where Approachable Gourmet began.
I've been able to use this approach to create a catering company, Delicious by Design, and have branched out into gourmet grocery with Hottie Biscotti Cookies. In both of these endeavors I've taken traditional recipes and foods to the next level. I hope that trying my tips and recipes will change the way you think about your kitchen, and help you raise the bar on home cooking.
Be brave, make a mess, make mistakes and you too can be an Approachable Gourmet