Is it the recipes?
Technique is tops no matter your level.
We are so dependant on recipes regardless of ability. I have been training chefs for a few years now and it is the most interactive and intimate thing I would feel comfortable doing with a colleague (staff parties excluded).
The most basic of tasks is only that way if you have been trained to understand the hows and whys, the nuances and subtleties. This takes magnificent concentration from the student and teacher, so you better love the sound of my voice as much as I do.
Every question must be asked at every stage, even though we do not know what to ask. A bulk of historic or geographical knowledge beforehand would be preferred. An aptitude for mimicry and a mighty strong palette to boot. We would love everyone to possess these traits, however, I would prefer just eagerness.
If you are keen and curious then please understand you can learn any technique, and this is what allows you to learn any recipe.
The recipes I give in this section are necessarily vague and ambiguous because it is a small column and I mustn’t bore you or myself. I wish to treat you with a degree of prior knowledge that exceeds everyone I have met outside of this industry. This is not too much to ask as all we have to do is ask.
This week I have been working with my colleagues on a beautiful aromatic savoury corn and cheddar muffin. Collaboration and misfortune is what created the final piece that we are so wildly passionate about.
Misfortune started with orange and habanero jam using the entire orange, this takes knowledge not only to blanch oranges multiple times but to also then not burn them when cooking into an unctuous wonderful jelly (you know who you are and what you did).
We need to control this situation, so we evolve into what to pair with a burnt jam. The corn muffin is the perfect partner for smoky chilli citrus flavours, this is a little known combination but it is truly wonderful.
The muffins, first too salty, second too blah, third needed an edge, fourth needed more fat, fifth worked.
We settled on the simplest of methods that sounds mightily complex. Corn puree and polenta muffin bases with rich cheddar, lots of thyme and extra fresh corn throughout. Top it all with burnt orange and habanero that we folded through cream cheese to ice it all and topped with a simple lacto-fermented chilli.
That is complicated, but it also kinda really isn’t. When you take the time to learn how simple this is you open up a world of exciting new flavours. I won’t give the recipe for jam, or fermenting as I need to hold a lil something back for those curious enough to ask.
Cheddar and Corn Muffins
50g butter (melted)
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
A good pinch of chopped thyme
Blend all of the above however you wish
Fold through and bake in greased muffin cases at around 350f to 375f for 25 to 40 minutes depending on the generosity of your portions.