Who is the Reluctant Gourmet?
The Reluctant Gourmet may sound like a professional chef or cooking expert who knows what he’s talking about but truthfully, I’m just another home cook wading through the culinary trenches trying not to get lost. It all started back in my New York City days.
By day, I was a typical Wall Street bond broker out there to make the almighty buck, but on nights and weekends it was all about being in the kitchen with some decent wine, good food and friends.
I learned early on that I enjoy good food. So, either I would have to make a ton of money to go out and pay for expensive meals night after night, or I would have to learn to cook these meals myself. After being inspired by a lot of talented girlfriends, I decided to teach myself how to cook.
No culinary school; no cooking classes;, no fancy kitchen. Some days were triumphs in the kitchen, and others just...weren’t. My method back then was to learn by mistakes, and it still is to this day.
I discovered I could make great, restaurant quality food at home for a lot less money than eating out. It probably won’t happen every night, but every once in a while you’ll make one of those “as good as it gets” meals. One crucial thing I learned back then that still holds true today is that gourmet food is more about finding the freshest, best quality ingredients available, cooking them properly and keeping it simple. As one of my old girlfriends used to say, “Less is more.”
Why Build a Web site?
When I first began cooking, cookbooks would confuse me. I would read a recipe and wouldn't have a clue what some of the cooking terms meant - deglaze, fond, julienne - and have to look them up and this was before everything was on the Internet. These cookbooks and cooking magazines I depended on were written by professionals and I don't think they were interested in the Novice home cook.
The web site idea came to me while I working on Wall Street. I needed an outlet from the everyday stress of working in a hostile environment. I decided to build the Reluctant Gourmet web site for two reasons: to keep track of what I was learning and to help other home cooks who had trouble understanding recipes.
I would force myself to learn and research everything about a recipe and then re-write it in my every day, common language for others to enjoy. Over the years, the Reluctant Gourmet has been providing cooking techniques, recipes, how-to’s, cookbooks, ingredient information, culinary school information, professional chef interviews and more. As I learn, I share it with you, so we learn together.
So why do I call myself reluctant? When I first started cooking, I looked up the term “gourmet” in my Food Lover’s Companion. I then decided that I was reluctant to call myself gourmet--I was a reluctant gourmet. Then there is my reluctance to try new cooking techniques and recipes.
I own over 100 cookbooks and subscribe to a bunch of cooking magazines, but seldom do I follow a recipe from them. I enjoy reading about new foods and ideas and they are a great inspiration for meal ideas, but I am usually reluctant to step outside of my comfort zone. Therefore, I have to force myself to try new cooking techniques and new recipes. Like many home cooks, come five o’clock, there are days that I am reluctant to go downstairs and prepare a meal.
In a nutshell, I am a self-taught, mistake-making, learn-by-doing, not-afraid-to-ask-questions, never-been-to-culinary-school, constantly learning stay-at-home dad and home cook.
How I Can Help
Many of you have written and told me about your own fears in the kitchen. You tell me how you feel stuck preparing those same 6 or 7 meals week after week. I get it, I’ve been there. Sometimes I'm still there. I’m here to tell you it is not as difficult as you might believe to get out of that rut and start preparing restaurant quality meals at home in no time.
Armed with some basic techniques, the right tools, and the best products available, anyone can turn out a delicious gourmet meal. I am constantly on the lookout for shortcuts, techniques, products, tips--anything that will make cooking truly what it’s supposed to be, FUN. I’m not saying you’ll be able to quit your job and start chefing at some fancy chic restaurant, but I will show you some basics that will make you comfortable in your own kitchen.
Where Is The Reluctant Gourmet Now
The Reluctant Gourmet lives outside Philadelphia with his beautiful wife and two daughters whom you read about in many of my articles and blog posts. They are my joy and inspiration and I'm happy to report both my young girls enjoy cooking with their dad. My oldest loves to bake and makes birthday cakes for friends and family. My youngest has cerebral palsy but that doesn't stop her from helping me caramelize onions or make demi glace sauces.
I am truly lucky to have been able to find something I love to do and be able to share it with so many. Thank you for all your support.