Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A few bits and bobs

Hello, hello
How are you my fine friends? December 2, what the???? Did that year just fly by or what?
I am looking forward to the Christmas break - some downtime with family and friends in sunny Queensland. It can't come soon enough, it has been one hell of a year. I hope you have a great feast planned  - I'll be sharing some Christmas inspired recipes with you over the coming weeks to help get you in the (hungry) festive spirit. But for now a little bit of an update on what I have been up to.

I'm finally on instagram
It's only taken  a few years but I am on, and is it bad to admit, totally addicted. I thought pinterest was a black hole for procrastination, but this is taking it to a whole new level. Pop on over and follow me so I can view your photos and posts, I'd love to see them. I'm on @kcoquette

#this is not sponsored!
I had the great pleasure of giving two Shun knives away with a book order last week. And I am a little bit in love with these knives - it was hard to see them go - there was a utility knife and a chef's knife. At first I was a little hesitant that such beautiful blades came with a plastic style handle but the polymer blend handle actually hold beautifully, the weight staying in the blade rather than your hand and it really helps with speed and precision in the kitchen. For repetitive tasks such as fine chopping, chiffonade herbs etc I actually found this quite helpful. This is a chef knife's chef knife. If you wanted to add a few knives to your Christmas wish list, these are it - the chef's knife retails (in Aus) for $130.90 and the utility knife is $115.50 - available from most specialty knife stores and department stores. The stainless steel blades have this beautiful sort of wave like pattern along the blade, evidently inspired by Japanese sword designs, there is something about it that makes you feel extra hard core in the kitchen because of it. 

Here are a couple of pics for you to print and leave out on the table, on the fridge or posted to your head until someone takes notice and buys them for you immediately come 25 December.

Bistronomy update
Proud to say that Bistronomy is being translated into both French and German, with the German cover looking a little different but just as sweet. Both slated for release early next year. I'll pop up the French cover when I receive it. The french are doing something really different I am told so I look forward to seeing it.

Bistronomy has just been covered over on Eat your Books where I did a little interview and they are giving a copy away today so get in quick! Here is a snapshot of it below.
Haute cuisine for the people

Katrina MeyninkKatrina Meynink is a freelance food writer who lives and breathes all things food. She is also a prolific lover of cookbooks. In addition to degrees in journalism and creative writing, she has a Masters in Gastronomy from Le Cordon Bleu and the University of Adelaide, as well as an Advanced Diploma in Taste through the University of Reims, Paris and Hautes Etudes Du Gout. When she's not writing. Meynink blogs, eats and food styles through her business La Petite Miette, The Little Crumb.
Meynink has just published her second cookbook,Bistronomy: French Food Unbound. (You can enter our contest for your chance to win a copy.) The title refers to the nascent bistronomy movement, led by young chefs who create sophisticated food free from the pomp and circumstance of high-end restaurants. Meynink embraces bistronomy's concept of sharing by offering more than 100 recipes contributed by thirty Australian and international chefs. We asked Meynink to discuss the bistronomy movement.
How did the bistronomy movement start?
There was a slow belly grumble; an ever-growing discontentment among both chefs and diners who wanted more from the experience of cooking and eating. Yves Camdeborde was the chef to articulate it with the opening of La Regalade in the early '90s; a restaurant that embodied all the elements of bistronomy - a focus on the food on the plate, ideas of thrift in tight economies and that sense of community and being in touch with the dining experience. People craved it, it was something they wanted and needed and a style of dining they could relate to. I think from there it was a natural progression as more diners sought that kind of experience and chefs relished the opportunity to give it to them.
How is bistronomy different from traditional French bistro cooking?
Bistronomy goes far beyond the traditional bistro fare, incorporating the technical skills of Michelin level with economic sensibility. Where French bistro is often a replication of the classics, bistronomy chefs always say the rules are, there are no rules. They play with different ingredients and styles. It is far more progressive and relaxed with no definitive style or structure.
Which chefs do you consider to be the leading lights in the movement?
The chefs profiled in Bistronomy: French Food Unbound first and foremost. Other chefs I am really interested and am following closely are Alexandre Gauthier, one of France's most underrated chefs and also I'm really interested in James Syhabout in Oakland, US. I think one of the greatest things about Bistronomy is that it is constantly evolving as more chefs try their talented hand at the style.
How many different countries are represented by the chefs in your book?
Seven countries are represented by the chefs in the book.
How much does the bistronomy concept change when the restaurant is outside of France?
I think bistronomy is actually quite a fluid concept and it is only the tenements of the movement that are replicated globally - freedom, generosity, spirit and the idea of frugality. It is quite free thinking so its not something that is "purely French," rather it is something owned and embodied by each of the chefs who understand bistronomy and cook in this style.
How many of the restaurants covered in your book were you able to visit?
At least 80% of them. I am still trying to work my way to Panama. While I have eaten Jose's food I am yet to eat in his restaurant. Watch this space.
How did you decide which chefs and restaurants to profile?
This was the hardest component of this project - there are lots of great bistronomy chefs and restaurants to profile and who, where and how they work is constantly changing. In most cases "stars had to align" - I needed some experience with the chefs, they needed to be available and willing to participate in the book amidst their commitments, so in many ways we found each other.
Do you have a personal favorite restaurant and recipe from the book?
While I hold them all dear, there is something about Sixpenny in Sydney and L'Ami Jean in Paris. As far as recipes go, who could ever say no to James Knappett's crisp chicken skins with bacon jam?
Photo by Matthew Duchesne

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