Today’s blog features part two of our chef interview with the indomitable Chef Nikki, your cooking instructor during our Cooking in the French Alps culinary vacation. We learned on Monday that Chef Nikki moved from Australia to France at the young age of 21 to pursue a career as a chef. Today we’ll learn more about her cooking philosophy and what makes the Savoie region of the French Alps the ideal location for a French cooking vacation.
What is your favorite ingredient or food to cook with? Least favorite?
I love cooking with fresh, in season, local produce whenever possible. I particularly liking working with vegetables because of their wide range of flavours, textures and colours
What’s your favorite dish?
Too many to choose from – I love classic French dishes such as Boeuf Bourguignon as well as South East Asian dishes.
What is the best piece of advice you would give someone just starting to cook?
Cooking is all about pleasure and creating a taste, there is no real right or wrong way. Think outside of the box, don’t ever be scared because it’s all about having fun and sharing the end product with those you love to to be around.
Why do you like teaching cooking classes?
Its meeting the individual and taking them on a journey of self expression through food. The pleasure for me is purely about giving a memorable learning experience, one that can be used on a daily basis and one that they will never be intimidated by. The realization of relaxation and creation in the kitchen is a gift I strive to achieve, it’s my goal, I’m sharing my passion for others to pass on.
What’s unique about the food from your region?
An abundance of fresh ingredients – from the local farmers, herbs pulled from the garden, non treated, tasty raw materials to work from.
The cheese is reason alone to come and cook, taste and explore the region of Savoie, famous for Beaufort, Tomme de Savoie, goats-milk cheese‚ not to mention the organic meats straight from the farmers’ markets. Our own pasta based on the Savoie’s Italian heritage – Les Crozets. Foraging is something everyone does here in the pursuit of the freshest ingredients including mushrooms, berries, nuts, herbs… The local chocolate and creams also make for amazing desserts.
Anything else you’d like to share with clients of The International Kitchen?
Come and explore a lesser known region of France and combine your stay with one of the multitude of activities available here all year round. The dishes you learn to cook with me will taste all the better for having hiked/walked the region where most of the ingredients will have come from.
Check out recipes by chef Nikki:
By Peg Kern
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