Chef In Quarantine
A daily food guide through self isolation with Chef, Taylor Cullen
I sit here, in my apartment in Bondi, amidst this corona crisis, wondering what to write about myself. I’ve written so many bios and various statements of who I am in the context of selling myself for work, but never really on a personal level, are blogs about food even personal? Let’s just start with my objective and work back from there, hopefully ending up in the place I began, but completed. I intend to write this to introduce myself to the Bondi Harvest family through food. By family I mean all you beautiful people, dropping in for coffees, soaking up the atmosphere, or the many of you who just love food, content and the amazing flavours we produce. Im in isolation and have to cook in my apartment for two weeks. By all means, this will not be elegant, ill be raiding my cupboards of forgotten spices, grains and anything I can use up during this process, they will not be super thought out recipes, vegetables won’t be the freshest, just little tricks I do to make things taste good while produce is limited. I’m cooking for 1, and while I love cooking food, it’s my career and passion, cooking for yourself is never as exciting. I’m hoping this will inspire me to get creative in my own home, perhaps i’ll even eat well.
A LITTLE ABOUT ME
What kills germs better than whiskey? That is what my brain said as I prepared myself for a 14-day isolation period, mandatory after Guy and I returned from Italy, we were in the process of opening Restaurant Prima when Italy got hit
hard, Traveling through the pandemic was a little crazy, the energy in the airport was on edge, the unknown virus attacking peoples mental health before their immune systems. I’m not sure where I stand on the whole thing, it’s hard to wrap your head around the magnitude of the situation, it has sparked learning some cool things though, herb tinctures, homemade hand sanitiser, various spice blends, things of alchemy but not necessarily to consume orally as I’m used to creating. It’s all about learning and growing, I started keeping a journal 2 years ago, well two actually, one about personal antics, moods, and relationships, the other about my thoughts on food, various recipes, and the rapidly changing hospitality industry, changing for the better and worse, when I moved to London in 2013, finding myself in what would be considered a ‘hard’ kitchen, I was shocked, never had I worked like that, 19 hours a day on your feet, being screamed at, pans flying, flames roaring, nothing ever being good enough. However, amongst all of this, there was an amazing feeling of camaraderie, we were in the trenches and only hoping to escape with our lives by working together, this may sound a little dramatic, but sleep deprivation is real, it’s not like after out 19-hour shift finishing cleaning the freezer at 2.30 am that we said goodbye and went to bed, no beers, pubs, shower, back to work, 20 min nap on the potatoes out the back before you got railed for not paying attention to your section. The team were weapons, criminals, and the hardest chefs I’ve come across, we are not producing chefs like that anymore, everyone wants to put a flower on the plate before learning to season their food, the flavor is everything, if anyone takes anything from this, whatever it is or turns out to be, its this; focus on flavor, and what’s the flavor for you, I can show you how to season something, but you, deep in your heart know how you like to eat and produce flavor, take this not as a rule but a guide, if you like more chili, add it, less salt, use less. I cook the way my palate allows me to, if you are not happy with the flavor of your food, practice, food is love, a necessity turned into pleasure. We’ll learn more about me through these word vomits, please take it or leave it as I figure out myself, what I know about food.
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50g white sugar
5g cinnamon powder
60ml whiskey-I drink Jamesons- I also just pour what I think is a good amount…
1⁄2 lemon juiced
2x lemon peel
1x cinnamon quill- or a lovely cinnamon-infused orange chip!!!
Hot water to the size of your mug.
For the orange chips, place sugar, the first amount of water and cinnamon in a small pot, bring to the boil and set aside. thin slice oranges with your knife, run orange slices through sugar syrup and onto an oven tray lined with parchment. Bake at 100dc for 1-2 hours until crispy.
Add whisky, honey, lemon peel and ginger into your mug, pour over boiling water, stir and let cool for 3 minutes before adding the lemon juice. Too much heat will kill the goodness from citrus, hence adding the lemon juice last.
Garnish with an orange chip or cinnamon quill, this I how I like my drink, if you want to add star anise, chili, less whiskey, more honey be my guest, I’m just getting through this quarantine one sip at a time.
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