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 be able to cook a nice meal, but to always have wonderful food at your fingertips . . . now that’s really something.”
Planning, Provisioning, Preparation, Preservation
Kitchen Fitness is a food management training program that operates like a gym for people that cook. The core element is a fully guided, 52-week food lifestyle transformation, presented via weekly 60-minute live-stream video sessions, that support active participation and dialogue. Recordings are also packaged for on demand viewing.
The pillars of the program are Planning, Provisioning, Preparation, and Preservation. The drivers are Convenience, Taste/Quality, Health, and Budget. The tempo for each session is created by replicating restaurant “mise en place” food preparation activities, assisting participants to prepare and preserve their provisions for a week of wonderful dining, including quick and simple midweek meals.
As with a gym class, 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, Kitchen Fitness 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.
Effective provisioning is therefore critical. Shopping for individual recipes increases waste from left-over unique ingredients. Kitchen Fitness uses the CooksClub Designer Menus to guide provisioning. Selecting from a menu of dishes provides a base of meal preferences and the comfort of a solid plan for the week. However, many times plans change, and just as often what seemed a nice thought on Saturday, is uninspiring on Wednesday.
With Food First, after you have purchased the ingredients, you are only married to the food, not the dish. When you select fresh food that you know you will like and add it to a cleverly stocked pantry, fridge, and freezer, you have wonderful food at your fingertips. It’s not about increasing the amount of food you keep on hand, but with the right selection, you have the choice of perhaps a hundred different dishes, along with the skills to create something fabulous any time you want.
CooksClub is for us, the people that cook the millions of meals that will hit the table at dinner time tonight.
Most everyone can cook a little, or has at least one signature dish that they are proud of. For some, their contribution is a classic bolognese that they have made their own. Others can pull off brilliant, three-course dinners for a dozen guests. For most people, cooking is not the problem. It’s the stress of coming up with something for dinner every night, and the time it takes to plan and research ideas.
I am very lucky; I love to cook. After a long day at work, walking into the kitchen and washing my hands is the start of my relaxation process. I pour a wine, check the fridge, freezer and panty, then present two or three menu options for dinner.
When my wife tells her friends she doesn’t cook, most of them say they’re jealous. We used to laugh this off, but over the years it became clear that kitchen management and meal planning is not a common skill. People experience real pressure to come up with something that will please the family, as well as the planning required to ensure all the ingredients are there when you need them.
Alison (my wife) and I owned three restaurants in Sydney for over ten years. I consider myself a food enthusiast and cook, but I’m not a chef. The theme and menu of each restaurant was a reflection of the target customers’ tastes, not someone’s food ambition. It was a structure that served us well.
Two essential restaurant skills you don’t often hear people talk about are provisioning and inventory management. Quality and freshness must be balanced against waste minimisation. Preparation, portion sizing and efficiency are critical. Are you cooking for one hundred and fifty covers tonight, or fifty? What happens with what’s left over?
The other aspect of inventory management is versatility. If you hid the menus and had ten different chefs walk into your restaurant kitchen, they should be able to check the pantry and fridges and then each one produce a full menu of say twenty dishes entirely different to each other.
Behind the social platform of CooksClub we have PantryPlus Provisioning, Designer Menus, Kitchen Fitness and Kitchen Coaching programs. You don’t have to do it all by yourself. It’s about making better food easier.
CooksClub Founding Member
Ad-free recipes is a simple, but important feature of CooksClub. Too often food blogging sites bury recipes in among rambling, SEO dialogue and sprawling, click-bait ads. CooksClub administration work ensure our recipes and key content is served in a way that is clear and convenient. CooksClub is here to serve members – not the other way around. Yes we still have ads, in our magazine and on other pages. This is because, aside from providing funds for development, in the context of exploring food and cooking, it is interesting to find out about different suppliers, local provedores, and perhaps the latest appliances.