Welcome. I’m Natalie, the genetic chef. Why the weird name? Actually, my husband thought of it and it’s quite brilliant because for me, cooking is in the genes, hence the name the genetic chef.
If you want to read about a perfect life where everyone is all smiles and there’s only a ying with no yang, then this blog isn’t for you. This is About Me – the imperfect Me – who loves to cook and write recipes. I may write some funny stories to go along with how the recipe came about, or I could simply write about the ingredients and how to create.
I love the experience of food and people sitting around a table communicating, arguing, and laughing. If we go out to eat and you order a salad while I order a plate of high calorie carbs, then it’s probably going to be a short relationship.
I’ve been cooking since childhood and was taught by my family of master cooks. They were trained by their mothers and grandmothers just like all the famous chefs who travel to villages to learn from mothers and grandmothers. The difference is mine were family and I was taught for free. It’s funny when I read a technique that is all the new rage when it’s how we have done it forever. Makes me proud that I was taught by the best.
I test, retest, then retest my recipes again before posting. You’ll find a combination of my own recipes, generational recipes, and from some books or magazines that inspire me. The generational recipes are from my Peruvian and Italian background. But, my Mom remarried an Irish, English, Scotsman, who only knew North American dishes and he taught me a few things as well.
I will never start a sentence with “Guys!” because it makes my skin crawl. I am passionate about food and cooking and try to share that passion with you. The best people I meet are the ones at the supermarket when one of us strikes up a conversation about an ingredient on the shelf that later turns into a half hour conversation about some crazy good recipe. When someone is sharing their love of food with a smile and becomes all animated when describing how they cook, they are a friend to me. Some of the best tips I learn are from people at the market.
The only celebrity chefs that inspire me are from the good old days on PBS. Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, and Mary Ann Esposito, to name a few. They were true cooks explaining everything from the ingredients to techniques without all the glam and degrading tone that’s on today. I’m not impressed by a chef who can make a meal with a filet mignon and fruit loops, rather I am impressed by someone who can show me how to make a great dish without the hoopla.
The pictures I take are mostly using my phone. I do have a Nikon camera that makes me look like I know what I’m doing but it’s set to auto everything. One thing I want to make clear is this is a FOOD blog and not a PHOTOGRAPHY blog. I’ve experienced so many recipes where the picture (or video) is perfect and the outcome of the recipe stinks. It’s like all those commercials for hamburger joints where a mile high perfect burger with fresh lettuce, onion, and tomatoes, with juices flowing down is displayed on the sign, but you get this squashed bun holding a cold piece of cardboard with wilted veggies. My pictures may not be perfect, but I do strive for perfection when I share with you.
When I cook I don’t measure. When I wrote down and recreated these recipes for you I actually cooked by sight all along capturing the amount I would sprinkle or shake with a plate then measuring it to be as precise as I could. That’s what I did when I asked my Mom to cook and show me her recipes. She would sprinkle in a spice when cooking using feel or sight knowing it was perfect and I would capture it with a plate. When I would measure what she sprinkled it would be precisely what she expected – one teaspoon, ¼ teaspoon or whatever the measure. Same went for liquid. She would measure by shakes of a bottle. Shake shake shake and it would be quarter of a cup. Amazing. I just needed to write down those measurements so I have a benchmark to go by to write the best recipe to share with you.
Now I can also recreate measurements by sight. I still amaze myself when I can pour out a ¼ cup of olive oil onto a skillet. Maybe that’s my only superpower.
My recipes give you measurements for the most part. If you want to learn the same way I did then you have to just cook, taste, adjust, taste, and repeat until it’s perfect for you. Unlike baking, cooking doesn’t have to be exact. You can create your own version of a dish by tweaking it. There’s a difference between tweaking and totally changing a recipe. If you are going to review a recipe, review it for the most part by how it’s written. If you’re going to “tweak” most of the ingredients along with altering the amounts, then you’re not reviewing the recipe, you’re recreating a recipe.
Lastly, enjoy your food. Buy the best and freshest ingredients you can afford and treat yourself. You deserve the very best in life. Enjoy.