Cooking – Page 3 – Dani Valent

Cook like Ottolenghi

He is the culinary equivalent of Beyonce. He’s an author, a TV host, and if you cook, you’ve tried one of his recipes. Yotam Ottolenghi is in his test kitchen, a series of low-tech spice-scented rooms under a railway arch in central London. I’m on the phone in Melbourne and this call is making me late for my kids’ school concert but I’ve decided that soaking up kitchen wisdom is as honourable a pathway to good motherhood as watching my girls twirl.

Kids in the kitchen. Fairfax, Good Food.

The prevailing narrative about children and food is that they’re eating too much, it’s the wrong food anyway and they’re eating it in front of brain-draining screens. They’re overweight, potentially diabetic and on track to number among the 65 per cent (and rising) of Australian adults who are too hefty to be healthy. But there’s a counterweight tale too, one of children who cook and eat healthy food, building good habits for their own lives and perhaps for their less aware elders. They are influenced by cooking shows on television, educational programs in schools, other family members and, sometimes, necessity.

Jacques Reymond

It’s Friday night in Jacques Reymond’s kitchen and I’ve just saved a junior chef from a bollocking. The Birkenstocked underling has just burned some wafers, and it hasn’t escaped the notice of the eagle-eyed maestro. But nor has my presence – even as I’m backed against the door with notepad and pen – and that’s enough, apparently, to make Reymond dish out a glare rather than the expected yell. “He sees everything,” says my wafer-burning friend. “I would have copped a spray if you weren’t here.”

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© Dani Valent 2022