Blast from the past: Update from Rand

Every once in awhile here at Start From Scratch, we like to catch-up with participants of years past. This week we chatted with Rand who was an original Start From Scratch foodie from TWO years ago!

 1) First of all, many participants talk about showing off their new skills after they finish the program. Have you hosted a dinner party yet? How was it?

 I must admit that I have become a bit of a food snob after my Start From Scratch experience, ha ha! I recently hosted a dinner party over the holidays, which was a ton of fun to prepare. Thanks to SFS, I’m way more confident preparing main courses (I mainly just baked before the program), so I made turkey and stuffing for the second time, which turned out delicious. (Whew!)

2)   Describe your relationship to food and cooking before Start from Scratch (SFS).

I have pretty much always been a foodie, but never really went outside of my baking comfort zone. I guess I didn’t have enough confidence with making meals so I just catered to my sweet tooth, instead.

3)   What have you changed about your cooking habits since SFS?

Since I finished the program, I have definitely stepped up my game. I’m way more experimental with ingredients now, and I try to cook something new every week or two. I still live at home so I must confess that I don’t always cook my own food!

 4)   What has SFS done to change your perception of food and cooking?

SFS has definitely made cooking less intimidating. I used to be very picky with measurements and ingredients. For example, if I would use a recipe, I’d try to follow it to a tee and match every step on the page. Now, I’m way more relaxed and tweak most recipes by substituting ingredients and using my own judgement for measurements. On a side note, thanks to food bloggers social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest, food has become “trendier” which is always awesome! I love that cooking has become so much more accessible and appreciated.

5)   Tell us about your most memorable SFS moment.

It’s hard to say, every class was so much fun and I loved all the guests we had. I especially liked planning our “graduation” party with Dan, and preparing dolma (dolmades) to bring to the party. It was nice incorporating my own culture into the class and hearing what people thought of this dish that I had grown up eating at home to bring to a foodie party in Calgary. Thankfully, most people loved it!

6)   What are your favourite recipes to cook/bake now and why?

One of our classes focused on cooking with beer, which everyone was pretty happy about. We made risotto using Steamwhistle, which turned out incredible. I still use this recipe from their website all the time and I can safely say that it’s a potluck winner! Everyone is always pleasantly surprised when I tell them the secret ingredient, haha. Something I’ve discovered recently is Thai black glutinous rice, which I add coconut milk to and it’s instant deliciousness in 40 minutes. Another new obsession is salads. I think they get a bad rep for being boring and healthy, but toss some fruits and nuts into bowl of greens and your tastebuds will never be the same. The list of dishes goes on, but I should probably stop now.

7)   What skill from SFS has come in most handy?

Knife skills, hands down. That class with Kevin Kent from Knifewear was so useful. Tomatoes will never be crushed under my watch ever again!

8)   What would you say to students considering applying for SFS?

 Honestly, JUST DO IT! What have you got to lose? Most students (including myself) get lazy and/or find it hard to commit to going to a scheduled class but it’s totally worth it. You get to hang out with awesome people and eat delicious food for free every week. Who’s going to complain about that?

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