Meet the CooksClub Kitchen Coaches
Executive chef and exponent of French and international cuisine, Loic is at home in any kitchen or putting on a show. “At home the food always comes first. There are many ways to create flavour with the time and ingredients you have at hand”.
Shares her food journey which started as a child in the kitchen next to her mother creating pasta from scratch. “Nourishment of family and friends, creating dishes from just a few fresh ingredients is the experience I have to share”.
Creating a fun, social style of food enticed Tom into the kitchen at a young age, leading to appearing on Junior MasterChef Australia. When he is not studying Tom is serving up fine cuisine at one of Sydney’s top restaurants. “Sharing food brings friends together”.
Melissa is drawn by the pursuit of taste and technique; simple, delicious, and sometimes a little fancy. Melissa balances work-life by sharing the kitchen craft at home. “Fine food with fabulous friends and family”.
Ten years with three restaurants on the go, Rob believes good food is all about good supplies. “At home, forget strict recipes during the week, you can do wonders with some confidence, and just a little know-how”.
“It is one thing to learn to cook a nice meal, but to always have wonderful food at your fingertips . . . now that’s really something.”
Planning, Provisioning, Preparation, Preservation
The Food First Program is prefaced on the presumption of an empty pantry, and so delivers full provisioning and accurate costing of all ingredients, purchased over a seven-week period.
In this course you discover the quality outcomes you can achieve on a budget of just $40 to $50 per week. You learn the importance of provisioning, and how to look after your food so that you always have wonderful food at your fingertips.
The food plan for the program presents weekly provisioning lists that are costed to a budget of around $50. This will produce around 10 meals, which typically consume $40 of the provisions, with $10 worth toward your stock of household provisions. The resulting cost per meal therefore is approximately $4.00 each.
The style of meals offers options for dinners and lunches for weekends or workdays. The $50 budget is therefore viable as a base for one or two people, with easy extension options for households with children or teenagers.
With the weekly Kitchen Coaching, every session hones core food management and preparation skills. The underlying goal is improving food accessibility while minimising waste.
Each week offers a different theme. It might be knife skills, food preservation, hygiene, health & safety, pantry management, provisioning, stocks, sauces, rubs, marinades, or cooking techniques like pan fry, stir fry, pilaf, poach, fricassee, braise, and bake.
While recipes are important, Food First is not a classic cooking class. It presents a Food First framework that is used to create meals by selecting a flavour, a protein, and a method, using the ingredients you have on hand.
Food management is an individual skill that is too often underrated. Food is the second highest household expense, after housing. Today the average household throws away 20% of the food that is purchased. Households create more food waste than the rest of the food supply chain combined, contributing 6% of all greenhouse gasses.
We all need to eat every day throughout our entire life, yet kitchen management and meal planning is not a common skill. People experience real pressure to come up with something that will please the family each night, and often resort to takeaway due to lack of food options across the pantry, fridge, and freezer.
Two essential restaurant skills you don’t often hear people talk about are provisioning and inventory management. Preparation, portion sizing and efficiency are critical. A key challenge in food management is that the purchase portion sizes of proteins, vegetables, and packaged foods, do not match our recipes, serving sizes, or weekly consumption needs.
Believe it or not . . . almost one-third of the food we buy will not get eaten within the week that it is purchased.
To further complicate the problem, people’s provisioning choices are strongly impacted by emotion, impulse, and the tendency to put a little more in the cart for the family . . . just in case.
The idea that cooking starts with a recipe hampers day-to-day meal choice, and shopping for individual recipes significantly contributes to food waste.
A key benefit to effective food management is versatility. I owned three restaurants in Sydney for ten years. With smart provisioning, you could have ten different chefs walk into your restaurant kitchen, and they would be able to check the pantry and fridges and then each produce a full menu of say twenty dishes entirely different to each other. That is 200 different dishes from a well planned combination of ingredients.
These are the foundation thoughts and principles behind the creation of the food First Program on CooksClub.
CooksClub Founding Member