Blast from the past: Update from Brittany

Find out what SFS participant Brittany has been up to!

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 have absolutely loved being able to show off the recipes I learned at Start from Scratch. I have hosted friends over for a few dinner parties and pulled out the skills and recipes I learned at the program. I also love getting to share some of the useful tips — like showing people how to properly hold a knife and how to cut an onion in the most efficient way!

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

I have always been extremely passionate about cooking, but prior to SFS, I found it hard to fit into a busy schedule and a limited budget. I loved to try new things, but rarely made the time because it seemed like a lot of work for no guaranteed payoff. I usually stuck to the usual recipes that I new by heart and that were guaranteed to make any palate happy.

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

After taking the class during one of the busiest times of my undergraduate degree, I realized that if you want to, it is easy to find the time and to make amazing food for a reasonable price. Since taking SFS, I am easily inspired to try any recipe. I’m willing to take more risks and try cooking new things, with new ingredients. The class really showed me how easy it is to make some of the most complicated looking and tasting recipes! I also find that I am more organized in the kitchen – I have a better concept of timing and orchestrating a meal so that you can successfully pull off multiple different dishes at once.

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

Like I have said, SFS has made me understand that cooking is a lot of show and good presentation, without nearly as much work as I thought it would be! As a student, I some times felt like there was no way I could afford or make some of the complicated recipes I salivated over on Pinterest or blogs, but now I feel like I have an increased understanding that makes it so any recipe is possible.

5)   Tell us about your most memorable SFS moment.

I think one of the most memorable moments for me in SFS was doing a tour of the Kingsland Farmers Market with Connie DeSousa from Charcut. At restaurants, I am always wondering where the ingredients are sourced from and it was refreshing to learn that Charcut sourced the majority of its products locally, and at places where I could buy them too. She gave our group some insider tips on the best stand to stop at and find the freshest, tastiest ingredients.

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

This past summer I traveled to Asia and specifically, to India. There I volunteered for a month and met an amazing woman who cooked the best Indian/Nepali food. She taught me how to make curries and momos, a Tibetan dumpling) and many other local specialties. When I left, they sent me home with some of the basic ingredients and I have been experimenting with this new exotic way of cooking since then. It has been especially fun going to very unique, ethnic grocery stores to source some of the odd ingredients I need!

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

It seems simple, but I think one of the most useful skills I learned in SFS is what the best way to cut an onion is. I am a huge soup cooker, especially French Onion, meaning that knowing how best to cut an onion is absolutely invaluable. It is a very simply procedure, but this technique has honestly saved me many a tear when I am cutting onion after onion for any savory recipe!

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

I have already told everyone I know to apply for SFS, many of which are in the program right now! I honestly cannot say enough good about this program. Dan, my teacher in the program, is so much fun and has more skills and tips to teach than there is time for. The guests who help teach you how to cut, make bread and more are so passionate about their areas of expertise, you can’t help but get excited. I came into the program with a pretty good grasp of cooking in general, but I learned so much and had such a fun time. The class is truly for everyone and one of the best things I did while in school. Do it!

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