Like many others when it comes to cooking, I fall into the category of I-like-food-so-I-think-I-can-cook-whereas-really-I’m-much-better-at-eating. So it was a delight to find myself having a one-on-one tutorial with a professional chef during Chateau Duffy April 2012.

We were tasked with feeding the many hungry mouths returning from a long and damp day on the building site. This should have taken the pressure off, since we probably would have washed our red wine down with just about anything after such a day, but by this point in the trip we had all become used to chef Richard’s lavish and authentic four course dinners.

Trusting that he would be able to un-do anything I did badly, I concentrated partly on the task in hand, but mostly on gleaning as much culinary information as possible. We covered everything from exemplary chopping technique to vineyard classifications, spaghetti handling and the perfect plate presentation (If we eat first with our eyes, then in France we ate very well indeed). I even acquired a tailored four course dinner party plan, including a recipe for gin marinated salmon (yes!).

By the time dinner was served, I was already full – mostly due to sampling the entire menu throughout cooking, but also with the many gems of gastronomical insight I had gained.

My name will be first up on the list for sous cheffing come August, and until then, where’s that gin…

– Lindsay

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