Tips from chefs to have (really) pleasure in the kitchen without (too much) getting tired

Because you can't decently eat a tomato-mozzarella salad at every meal in September, the return of the holidays comes with the eternal headache of developing the menu for the week. Whether you eat alone or accompanied, you would like to find something healthy, fast and local on your plate every day, but the reality of everyday life is quite different: past 9 pm, frozen foods and "micro" dishes. -ondables ”are very eye-catching. In order not to admit defeat too quickly, three leaders were asked for their advice on how to organize better.

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Reconnect with instinct

The cooking recipe and its ingredients to be weighed to the nearest milligram are the safety valve of the novice or amateur gourmet. But now, by wanting to play the good students too much, we quickly find ourselves confused when we lack a lemon or tahini (sesame puree, editor's note) or even worse, when the preparation does not color like in the photo. Céline Pham, private chef in the spotlight of the solidarity culinary festival “Cheffes!” this Sunday 6 and Monday 7 September at the CND in Pantin, invites us to lift our noses a little more from our Bibles and to trust each other more. “You have to remain open to a part of chance and if necessary, react to the unexpected in conscience. No one should conclude that the recipe is a failure if it does not follow the original letter, it is quite possible to allow yourself to add other ingredients. "

This instinctive relationship with food would already begin on the market stalls. You still have to dare to compose your menu without necessarily looking at all costs for the combination of ingredients that will hit the mark. Independent chef Chloé Charles reassures those who fear bad taste: "Nature is really well made, seasonal fruits and vegetables grow together and also go well on the plate". According to this expert in zero waste bites, godmother of the eco-responsible catering label Écotable, the result is as simple and effective as a pan-fried eggplant, mushroom and fresh grapes.

Think local

To guide us in the choice of products, nothing better than the advice of those who cultivated them. If the confinement had the merit of highlighting the delivery services of fresh and local products, the chef Julien Duboué, at the head of the Parisian brands Boulom and A Noste, encourages consumers to revive local shops, markets. and associations for the maintenance of peasant agriculture (Amap). "Gluttony arises from what the market gardener's stall offers, from the butcher, from the history of this fish caught at dawn and from the scent of the fresh bread which we eat the crouton on returning home", says he in his next book 1 dish / 3 meals for the whole family (1), to be published on September 2.

And if you don't know where to start around your home or work, Chloé Charles strongly recommends going for a walk on the "Green Market" platform. Launched by journalists Jill Cousin, Céline Maguet, Anne-Claire Héraud and Zazie Tavitian, this collaborative map lists all existing or newly implemented initiatives in France, from farm-to-farm sales to Amap, including markets and peasant grocery stores.

Establish the game plan

Back in the kitchen, be careful that creativity does not rhyme with disorder. Céline Pham confirms: the organization and the cleanliness of the work plan are essential. Before getting behind the stove, she reflects on how her recipe will unfold in general terms. "I visualize the order in which I will use each of the ingredients and utensils so as not to needlessly multiply the same tasks and not end up constantly doing the plunge", explains the chef, who suggests putting everything on paper (time cooking including).

Sometimes meal preparation can even be segmented into the space of a day. "If I'm in a hurry, I'll cook my potatoes in water in the morning during my breakfast and all I have to do is sauté them in a pan for dinner," reports Chloe Charles.

Time savings that go hand in hand with anti-waste reflexes. “When I cook something in salted water, I preserve it and then blanch my vegetables with it,” says Céline Pham. And if demotivation tends to win us over easily, the chef recommends starting directly with the most thankless tasks, such as peeling all the vegetables. To then cross with satisfaction each step of its to do list and thus see it decrease at high speed V.

Obtain quality knives

Slice, mince, peel … In the collective imagination, it is impossible to dissociate the cook from his favorite weapon – the knife – which allows considerable speed of execution and finish. However, how many of us have a collection of blades that “don't cut much”? According to Céline Pham, every self-respecting cook has at least one set of three knives in his drawers: a small paring knife, "essential for daily and meticulous tasks", a sole fillet knife, with a long and flexible blade. , "Ideal for lifting and" boning "fish fillets or even boning meat", and a slicer with a wide blade and ergonomic handle which allows you to "cut and chop" preparations.

To find the right tools, the pro reveals her three favorite addresses in Paris. Small budgets and beginners will find their account in the Asian supermarket Maison Huang in the Xe or in the professional kitchen equipment store A.Simon, near Les Halles. While keen cooks will turn to the Japanese franchise Japanese Knife Company (Paris, London, Stockholm), renowned for its exceptional blades. When it comes time to checkout, don't forget to also get a sharpening rifle to extend the life of its blades and prevent them from slipping on your fingers.

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Offer the same product for the whole family

During a conversation, you have surely heard of the batch cooking, this concept (not really new) and imported from Anglo-Saxon countries consists of preparing and cooking the ingredients in advance, in large quantities. Julien Duboué was inspired by it to design his book 1 dish 3 meals for the whole family. Papa de Alba (3 years old) and Gaspard (1 year old), he adapted his cuisine to the constraints of the famous food diversification and imagined recipes for the whole family – adults, child (ren) and baby (s) included – from a single central product. "We take a few candied asparagus from a tortilla preparation for adults and serve them with a boiled egg and chunks for a child," he explains. For the baby, we will mix a puree with some asparagus and a little egg. " Same process with a Basque-style chicken, available in Basque-style cordon bleu and in a small pot.

Optimize your pantry

In an emergency, the three chefs are unanimous: there are essential ingredients that always help out with impromptu meals. At home, Chloé Charles regularly finds happiness in legumes – lentils, chickpeas, red beans, split peas – a source of nutrients and an ideal alternative to meat. “If you buy them in bulk, you have to remember to soak them for at least 12 hours, except for lentils that do not require soaking,” she notes.

If time is sorely lacking, canned food also guarantees a balanced diet. If they are made at home, they even allow us to consume our favorite fruits and vegetables regardless of the season. Each summer, the Landais Julien Duboué produces "whole kilos of basquaise". “In practice, I brown a large quantity of onions to which I add the same quantity of peppers, a little Anglet or Padrón pepper, peeled and crushed tomatoes, a bouquet garni, Espelette pepper and salt, the chef lists. Then I pour the preparation into glass jars, previously boiled under vacuum for an hour, or into plastic boxes to keep in the freezer. " This ancestral technique works equally well for vegetable-based sauces, pickles, fruit compotes and even jams.

Vary the pleasures with spices

“Spices are to cooking what punctuation is to the French language. Just as punctuation reveals words, spices reveal the hidden side of dishes, ”Olivier Roellinger, former three Michelin stars and world specialist in spices, told us in 2017. An avid consumer, Chloé Charles favors their use to rediscover the pleasure of simple foods. His “all-purpose spice” of the moment? La Vera's smoked pepper, a sweet Spanish pepper that reminds him of "summer barbecues". It adds it to meat marinades, fried vegetables or even broths. “I also never tire of spice blends like garam masala, completes the zero waste queen. I make sure to buy it as fresh as possible, always in small quantities to avoid letting it get stale in a corner. "

(1) Julien Duboué is the author of 1 dish 3 meals for the whole family, published by Larousse editions on September 2, 144 pages, € 16.95.

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