I’ve grown up around people that taught me how to cook.
Two of my great loves are reading and learning. Great instructors throughout my life that taught me to challenge the status quo. Having, “Why?” on your lips keeps life interesting — you always tend to be learning.
I’ve always revered people that teach.
My Brother was 11-years older than me. When he went to university after finishing his military service, I was in grade two. He first studied medicine at Witwatersrand University (WITS) for two years. Then he spent another eight years studying theology at Rand Afrikaans University (RAU), Pretoria University (Tuks), and Stellenbosch University.
My Brother taught me early how to develop a love for learning. Whenever he could, he’d take me to some of his classes. As a child, the early exposure to the lecture rooms and hallways of such iconic academic institutions, filled with brilliant minds teaching people hungry for knowledge, gave me a healthy respect for the value of learning. At a tender age, my Brother gave me a peek into the world of academia, and I liked it.
I sat next to my Brother in lecture rooms and auditoriums, listening, watching, and learning. Through attending those lectures, I met the brilliant conductor of the Boston Philharmonic, Benjamin Zander. I was fortunate to be in the auditorium for a few classes with Prof Julius Sumner Miller — the renowned American physicist. I was in class with professors lecturing on the subjects in the pursuit of a Doctorate in Medicine and Theology.
Having a healthy reverence for the value of good instruction, I’ve applied the same relevance to other aspects of my life. If you wanted to learn a new skill, naturally you’d go to the person regarded as an authority on that subject. The more authoritative the instructor, the more valuable the instruction. Life sends us many instructors. Some are more expert than others. Following the advice and instruction of an expert seems to make bundles of sense.
Food was an occasion in our house. Our family ate sitting at a table enjoying the hand-prepared food and each other’s company. My Parents gave me a deep love for cooking hearty food. Through watching them cook and sharing family recipes, I grew a passion for preparing good food. My Greek, Cypriot, Portuguese, Italian and Lebanese families and friends exposed me to Mediterranean cuisine.
I’ve read hundreds of cookbooks, cover to cover, many times over. When I was developing the menu for Yanks Diner, I immersed myself in recipes. I recorded cooking shows such as Floyd on France with Keith Floyd and feverishly wrote down all the recipes to try out myself. I’ve always loved how Jamie Oliver can keep things simple and still tasty. That style of cooking — rip a bunch of this, splash in some of that — is how I like to cook.
These are the experts I got my cooking instructions from. They taught me the importance of good food and the joy of feasting together.
My cooking motto is: No chilli. No garlic. No point.
Have an awesome weekend and please be generous! 😄
As always, thanks for reading 🙏