Saturday, May 20, 2017

Creative Cooking with Christine

My name is Christine and I have set up this blog to share my ideas and passion for food. Cooking is something which has always been a passion for me. Since I was eight years old growing up in a restaurant surrounded by chefs I have always been fascinated with food and the atmosphere of a kitchen. I remember one of my first cooking adventures in the kitchen was making gingerbread men. Sweet and spicy crunchy biscuits!(love them to this day!) thank you to the chef dave for showing me!! I have fond memories of spending every Saturday with my grandmother helping her polish the silver, but more importantly making her signature brown bread for all the family, apple tart for after dinner and cupcakes from time to time. She thought me the simple techniques and care when baking, to carefully knead the bread and peel and core apples to an accurate size, there was no such thing as scales it was all by eye and spoonful! Thats what I loved most about Nanas cooking was that it was by taste and understanding, not just following a recipe, it was simple effective and provided me with the basic tools i needed when cooking!

From then I followed a love of baking and pastry. I have always loved art so when it came to making Birthday cakes, I was in my element! I used wait in anticipation to come home on the weekends from boarding school to head straight into the kitchen to find out what cakes for parties were ordered on that weekend. For a while I watched while Brian the pastry chef would work, and all I would want to do was help until I found myself decorating all the cakes and desserts, adding the garnish and chocolate dipped strawberries. It made me really exciting to see people enjoy a cake we made!

After many a hard decision, I decided to study architecture in college. Why architecture? people ask me, because at the time I grew up in a restaurant and my parents took the risk of opening it and making it successful through such hard work and I suppose they encouraged me for something more stable and at the time it seemed to be architecture, I loved art and was good at maths, so I worked extremely hard to get the points. When I did I thought that it was the best thing ever and that nobody can tell me I cant do it!
After three years in architecture I was at wits end.

I wasnt getting results I wanted after working 12 hours a day everyday and never saw myself becoming an architect. But I didnt think I had anything else at the time until Masterchef Ireland came along!! A big thanks to my friend Aidan who told me they were doing auditions and that I should go along because without him telling me I wouldnt have known. I really didnt have the time to think about it having been so busy in college but it remained in my head. I thought why not I have nothing to loose. At this point I didnt have a lot of confidence in my cooking and didnt think I stood a chance so when I went to the auditions, it was going to be for the experience!! My heart sank when I went into the room and Nick and Dylan were staring at me, I began to question why I put myself through it.But when I got the two Yeses and the apron I couldnt believe it, I was about to cook against the countries top amateur chefs and have one of the best experiences of my life.

So throughout the first few shows I just about survived, I was finding it very tough and needed a moment to prove I deserved my place in the competition.But as time went on I got stronger and was starting to shine but the highlight for me was definitely the fishing trip! It was so much fun and I really surprised myself with the mystery bag of ingredients and came out with a really good fish dish and really proved I deserved my place in the competition.

However it all came to an end for me at the semi-finals when the nerves and the task got the best of me. At that point of the competition perfection was required and I let one or two things slip and I had to leave the competition gutted!! There was a silver lining though, through the massive support and reaction to me leaving the show I realized I could really follow my dream in food despite not winning masterchef. So Dylan offered to give me a trial and I did and have been working in Rustic Stone since, I have moved to Dublin to really give this a shot and I have never been happier and busier. I am also teaching a cookery course two days a week in Ballyvourney Co.Cork and also currently working with The Cheswick Clinic to making healthy eating a habit. Everything I am doing is so versatile but I love it it keeps me motivated and inspired to come up with new ideas!


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