Scott-Bradley Pearce: technology/video strategist, awesome cook
My long time friend, mentor and life-saver, Scott-Bradley Pearce – or Scooter to the rest of us – has just launched A Cook in Chef’s Clothing – a site built to inspire and equip anyone interested in food and cooking. Scot tells a great story, and I’ve lifted something from his about section that sums his passion for cooking and inspiring others to cook.
After several years of being encouraged to publish my thoughts, my cooking styles, recipes and tips by friends I have finally decided to launch this site. I hope you enjoy some of the things I write about but more importantly I hope that I inspire you to shop locally and seasonally for your own health and well being.
Scott’s insights into media, consumers and his challenge to us all to ask questions will leave you wanting seconds.
1. Has your new blog allowed you to develop your passion for cooking further?
Not as such. The passion for cooking exists regardless, the blog is the result of too many friends telling me they want to cook what I cook. After a year or so of posting what I cook each night to Facebook (I reckon I started that trend haha) I had so many people asking for recipes and so forth. Then over the past 2 years I have become incredibly active in the championing of local produce so this is a way for me to start to vent a lot of those thoughts and lead by example.
2. Do you think it’s easier for people to be more interested in food and better cooking because of online?
I think that television gets the award here. TV chefs and channels devoted to food have sparked our appetites, both for great food and knowledge. I hope that what comes next is the same degree of interest about where food comes from. I think that has started with the local produce movements and a push toward heritage food types, the stuff we ate as kids, not the mass grown and artificially ripened stuff where an apple looks like one but tastes only vaguely like one.
3. Do you read other cooking blogs? why/whynot – How has it impacted your cooking?
Absolutely. I read books a lot more though I must say. I have the core set of books including the Silver Spoon, Stephanie Alexanders Cooks Companion and a few Maggie Beer bibles, but I love specialist books, regions, especially italian influenced. But the web is a dynamite source oif information. put the word authentic or local in your search, an example is authentic Moroccan chicken tagine, suddenly you have so many to choose from, not only that but you can read about the history. Plus i love to theme a dinner so going after traditional accompaniments as well.
4. Do you think chefs have had a greater exposure to customers/restaurants because of the internet?
I actually think that it is more difficult today for a chef and restaurants in general. The consumers level of knowledge has grown, both food and wine, and the consumer is increasingly more picky about the food they eat. By the same token there has been an explosion of smaller kitchens popping up that specialise in a few things and they are fantastic. It has never been better.
5. Is cooking more, less or of same important for new generations?
Look, when I was young there wasn’t a lot to choose from. Herbs were all dried in little bottles and tasted vaguely as they should and no one really bought too many. However the fruit and vegetables were fantastic and we grew a lot of our own stuff. Today we are in a consumption based world where people toss out mobile phones every six months and expect oranges to be on the shelves all year but this comes at a price. I think, at least I hope, that the current push back to seasonal and local produce coupled with the amount of media around cooking will drive younger people back to how things were when I was growing up. What I would hate to see is a world where my 10 year old nephew thinks that spaghetti sauce comes out of a jar!
6. Best tip for cooking for 2010?
Am I allowed to have three tips? I will.
The first is to build your kitchen arsenal each month. Once a month go to a warehouse cooking supply company like Victorias Basement in Sydney, there is something like this in every city, and buy something new. A decent quality fry pan will last you 20 years, slow buy yourself a full set of high quality saucepans. Build your tool kit. And start this month.
The second tip is take note of the seasons. Fruit and vegetables are cheapest in season not to mention freshest in season. Research your recipes starting from a key seasonal ingredient and work out from there. You will save money and it will taste better.
The third is find a farmers market and try buying fresh local seasonal produce. But be careful. Many of them have stalls filled with typical market grocers who just buy the same stuff the big chains buy at market. Ask them where the stuff comes from, did they grow it, if they didn’t walk on and find someone who does. Trust me when I tell you this, the first time you buy a lemon, covered in funny marks because its grown naturally on a tree and you taste it, you will not go back to the gas ripened lemons ion the big chains ever again. In the same vein find your local butcher or grocer, ask their name and get to know them.
Forth, and most importantly, ASK QUESTIONS! This can be a rhetorical question, if its not orange season and you see oranges in the supermarket how can this be, how long have they been in storage and why not buy a different fruit thats cheaper and in season. Ask the butcher where the meat comes from, how is it treated? But be sensible. Garlic isn’t available all year, but in Australia our climate allows us to grow most things all year. But before you buy strawberries in winter from california why not look for something else locally produced instead.