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Chef Michael Smith and Julie hang out in the test kitchen where they talk about cooking fears, roasting chickens, and the ...
philosophy behind Smith’s newest cookbook - Best of Chef At Home.
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Cooking Tips by Chef Michael Smith
Host: Welcome to Le Gourmet TV. Today, we are lucky enough to be cooking with Michael Smith and hopefully something from your new book.
Michael Smith: Indeed, yes.
Host: The best Chef at home.
Michael Smith: My brand-new cookbook, I have to say I’m so proud of this book. I’m still on the pinch me stage. You know, you get the book and really just touching it, reading it, sleeping with it under my pillow, I can’t believe it that it’s my book.
Host: Well even though that I’ve enjoyed flipping through it and there’s all this some really great pieces of information that I really appreciate it being in there.
Michael Smith: Thank you. And it’s fair to say that this book is sort of born is six years of knowing in Chef at Home and all of the momentum of the series and all the things that we’ve learned about Canadian eggs in the kitchen. You know this sort of under current that we seem to have tapped into of folks that need a little inspiration in the kitchen.
Host: Now, you mentioned the free styling of food.
Michael Smith: Sure. Well, that’s really what it comes down too for me. I don’t have any particular version to recipes. I mean I know the show is about cooking without recipes but I believe that anything that helps you be comfortable in the kitchen is a good thing. So, that’s why the book is full of recipes.
Host: It’s a base.
Michael Smith: It is a base and it’s important to sort of put that in perspective and understand what recipes are. I mean too often we see them as very rigid things that we have to absolutely follow perfectly step-by-step or we’re going to fail and of course that’s just not true. So, that’s what this book is all about. It’s an effort to help us relax in the kitchen and see the kitchen as an antidote to stress not as a cause of stress. Hence, the whole free-styling approach which is perfectly set of captured here in this dish.
And really as I see it, it’s important that we have two things on a recipe that we have the idea itself, what is it that we are setting out to do in this case, roasted chicken but also the insight behind that. I think that it’s important that instead of asking a reader or a viewer to just do this, do this, do this and you’ll get this, I think it’s important along the way to share the insight on why we’re doing this, why we’re doing that because again it helps you get comfortable in the kitchen.
Host: And then once you have that knowledge you can adapt better and do the free styling.
Michael Smith: You can and stir your own personality into it. For instance, this is really just nothing but a simple roast chicken sitting on a bed of vegetables. In this case, and these vegetables could be anything, they could be any root vegetable it can be carrots, turnips, parsnips, celery, whatever you have in you refrigerator basically cause they’re all work, anything will work.
Today, it just happens to be local apples with some onion and there’s some garlic cloves in there and we seasoned it with rosemary. But tomorrow, it could be carrots and onions and garlic and oregano or parsnips or turnips or whatever and that’s the point. And that’s what’s in the recipes. The sort of free styling approach all those suggestions on, you could try this, you could try this, you could try this because ultimately you’re not trying to duplicate how I would make the dish. You’re simply trying to get inspired to make it yourself your way in your occasion.
Host: Like in my favorite version of it.
Michael Smith: Exactly and then of course we get down in the wire. You know when it’s time to roast that chicken and carve it up and get it the table. We all get freaked out, how do I do it, how do I, you know and this is probably the free styling approach that I have. I think it’s as simple as roast the chicken on the bed of vegetables and then just ripping it apart and get the bones out of there, that’s all you have to do.
Look my hands aren’t even getting dirty, just pull the bones out, notice of course that all the juices they’re all in the pan. They haven’t gone anywhere, you haven’t lost any flavor, it’s still here in the dish and as you pull all this off, look it is that simple! I mean you just tore it to pieces.
Host: And that’s really one of my style, I have to admit. I think I could do that easily.
Michael Smith: This is my style, you know, you don’t have to get all freaked out about it. You don’t have to sort of try for this unachievable pedicle of perfection.
Host: But we have an image from our childhood of you know our great uncle doing you know, sharpening the knife with the table and putting the whole show. It doest have to be that.
Michael Smith: No, it doesn’t. Just like now, all you do is se sort of stir this up and what do we have? We have this perfect roast chicken, local apple, onion rosemary stew. Dinner ready to go!
Host: And you just serve it up and you’re good to go.
Michael Smith: Serve it up, it couldn’t be easier and of course the chicken is over. Hit the car keys, we save that because that’s tomorrow’s supper. There’s the broth and the soup and all the things that can be made from that.
Host: So there we have it, a lovely dish, free styling with Michael Smith from his new book, the best of Chef at Home. Give it a try.