Taste, Taste, Taste
Students at Dublin Cookery School will hear me repeat this little mantra again and again. For the best cooks, tasting becomes a reflex, a subconscious triggering of the sense and an unlocking of their food memory.
Some rely on recipes. Some rely on cookbooks. I have always relied on chefs.
I started when I was in my twenties. There was an extraordinary Italian restaurant in Abergavenny in Wales and I hitched there and presented myself to the chef, Franco Taruschio, and his wife, Ann. I don’t recall seeing a single recipe in my months there. I watched, I listened, and I tasted. I built up a sense of what the dishes could taste like. And I learned how to trust my instinct and adjust flavours, how to recover from mistakes, how to work with the ingredients at hand. Many years on, I hope that students will learn as much as I did in that first kitchen.
I learned to be intuitive and that cooking was about understanding flavours, not just following recipes. I learned to internalise skills and influences and make them my own.