CRAFT by Under My Host® Issue No. 15 Classics - Page 151

I never set out to make vegan cooking my specialty, and to be honest with you, if you’d told me 15 years ago that this was what future me would be doing, I’d tell you that you were dreaming. My interest in food and cooking began real- ly early on in life. From sitting in my Spanish grandmother’s kitchen to watch her cook while the rest of the family were watching TV in the lounge room to receiving my very own box of cooking equipment from my mother when I was 12. Of course, there were other interests in my life, music being the biggest contender, but it was food that just kept pulling me back in. And really, what’s food without music? Nothing. that’s what. My cooking career began like most, but quick- ly took a detour. Due to travelling extensively in my early 20s, my apprenticeship took a back seat and cooking for large hordes of skate- boarders and musicians kinda became my nor- mal. ferring to them. The best advice I could give someone that wants to get into vegan cook- ing? Look for recipes that are vegan by de- fault. By that, I mean, search for those simple, beautiful peasant dishes that are vegan pure- ly out of necessity. Things like pasta e fago- li, dahls or curries. This, in my opinion, is the best kind of vegan food. Keep it simple, make mistakes, learn from them. God knows I have! Go to the farmer’s markets and fall in love with all the cool shit that nature provides. It’s amazing the things I came home with in my shopping cart purely based on the color, smell or texture of a veg- etable or fruit. Buy stuff you’ve never seen before and don’t be afraid to play. Some of my best dishes have come from mistakes. Use herbs and spices in abundance, and never forget, the reason why food made by chefs al- ways tastes so damn good is because we use salt and fats like it’s not going to kill you. So, go for it. What’s the worst that could happen? When I finally settled back into Melbourne life around 2005, I got myself a job at a local pub as a bartender. Now you see, the thing is, if you don’t want to be thrown into a kitchen, don’t tell anyone that you’re a chef. Because the minute they find out, that’s it, you’re cooked. But it was at this point in my life that vegan food and cooking began. There’s only so many times you can be caught off guard in the middle of service to whip up an off-the-cuff vegan meal before you realize there’s actually a lot of people out there that are after good vegan food. I’ll be the first to say that I knew nothing about vegan food, and until last year, had never rally even eaten at a vegan restaurant. So, I decided to take the same approach to it as I do with any type of food. Using classic techniques and playing on flavors that I was used to and loved. I came to notice that vegan cookbooks quite often were overly complicated and quite daunting, even for me, so I quickly stopped re- © Hundred-to-One LLC 2017. All rights reserved.