My Dirty Little Food Secret

I am one of the event organizers for the Food & Drink Fest…the Festival with Taste, which takes places annually in the spring.   This year we moved to the larger space of Copps Coliseum, Hamilton because the festival is expanding so quickly.  Boasting over 50 of the Hamilton-Halton & Niagara Regions’ top independent restaurants, over 35 local & international wineries, 25 craft breweries and dozens of spirits, liqueurs, bakeries and gourmet foods; the Food & Drink Fest is Southern Ontario’s Meca of all things gourmet food and drink.  My Dirty Little Secret: Despite being in the driver’s seat of the region’s largest culinary event, I can’t cook to save my life.

Up until this point, I really could care less if I could cook.  Throughout university I lived on coffee, veggies, chocolate, peanut butter and more coffee, so cooking wasn’t a necessity.  However; once I started working fulltime at Beau Monde Productions (the company that produces Food & Drink Fest), my foodie boss introduced me to the wonderful world of actual food and suddenly peanut butter just wasn’t cutting it anymore (unless of course it is used in a Chicken Stir-fry with peanut sauce over wild rice. Yum!). Even when my taste buds began to crave all things hot, spicy, Indian, Mexican, Japanese, German (you get the picture, I basically didn’t meet a calorie I didn’t like); I still didn’t feel a great desire to learn how to cook.

The Tipping Point

After a really long, busy week, my boyfriend and I voted on a quiet Friday Movie Night.  On Friday afternoon, an unfamiliar and slightly disturbing urge came over me; I wanted to surprise him and cook dinner! I pushed aside the domestic unease and took up the cooking challenge.  My dinner choice was a hardy, home-cooked meal of pasta and spicy Italian sausage in a red sauce with bruschetta and salad to start.  I raced around after work; going to the market to get the food and cleaning the apartment. By the time my boyfriend got home; I had dinner cooked and a beer freshly uncapped and ready for him.  He was really surprised and appreciative….until he took his first bite.  His first and last bite, I might add.  It turns out I excel at burning, over cooking and under spicing….and thats about it.  So after all of my hard work, we ended up ordering a pizza and the only “A” I got was for effort.  I decided that night to learn to cook, because even though my first attempt ended up in the green bin, the process of planning, shopping for the fresh ingredients and the creation of the actual meal was fun and incredibly rewarding.  On top of that, I now had the motivation to prove I actually can cook.

So with the help of my boyfriend (who is an excellent cook), advice from the office foodies, Jay & Stacey, and endlessly searching the internet for recipes; I have embarked on my cooking journey.  I’ll be sure to update on all of the tips and tricks I pick up along the way.  More importantly, I’ll be sure to fill everyone in on all of the fabulous restaurants I have to frequent after I experience one culinary casualty after another at home!

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