Those of you who have been with us for a while have heard me talk about the work I do with the Share Our Strength organization as a Chef Instructor in their "Cooking Matters" cooking classes. The classes, which teach basic cooking skills to folks struggling with food insecurity and providing meals for their families on a very tight budget, have been a rewarding and important part of my volunteer life for years now. Arming these families with the culinary tools that allow them to lessen their dependency on take-out or highly processed foods, and equiping them for productive time in their own kitchens, cooking for their families, has been life-changing work for me.
That said, each class touches only 12-16 families at a time, and I have long hoped to find another avenue, in addition to my teaching with Cooking Matters, where I could leverage both my knowledge of cooking, and desire to teach these important skills by reaching a wider audience.
I've learned through my teaching that one of the most important tools for the budding home cook is a repertoire of rock solid recipes from which to draw both inspiration and confidence. Recipes that are so well researched and written that they practically guarantee success, even for cooks just taking their first few baby steps in the kitchen. Working from quality recipes can quickly lead to kitchen confidence, and go a long way in convincing people that YES THEY CAN cook affordable, tasty and nutritious food for their families.
As luck would have it, one of the premiere resources for such recipes is "America's Test Kitchen", located in Brookline, MA. Through their magazine publications "Cook's Illustrated" and "Cook's Country", along with their cookbook division and radio and TV shows, America's Test Kitchen develops, tests and publishes recipes that millions have come to love and trust over the years. Some time ago my wife suggested that I look into working there as a means of sharing my passion for home cooking with more families, and after a sustained period of hemming and hawing and dragging of feet, I decided she was probably right.
I'm excited to share with all of you today, that after a lengthy and detailed vetting process I've been offered a job within the ATK family and will be joining them starting TODAY! To be precise, I'll be working as a Test Cook and Food Writer for Cook's Illustrated Magazine the bi-monthly flagship publication of the organization. As a Test Cook I'll be responsible for researching, developing, and testing my own original recipes for the magazine, then writing about the ins and outs, and successes and failures of the development process in an article that will present the recipe in its final form for publication.
I'm pretty freaking excited, I must say.
What will all this mean for "Oui, Chef" you ask? Hopefully not too much as I really enjoy our time here chatting about cooking and sharing great recipes, and have no intention of shutting down my little blog anytime soon. I'm anticipating that my posts will be less frequent as I work to get my legs under me in the new job, and ask for your patience as I slip from two to one post a week for a stretch.
While I'll be precluded from sharing "behind the scenes" info from my time in the test kitchen (they understandably don't want me blabbing about upcoming features in the magazine), I'll be sure to let you know how things are going once I get settled in.
I guess that's all for now. Thank you all for being part of our Oui, Chef family and making this such a fun gig. I'll see you back here very soon!
Cheers – Steve