The idea of becoming a chef in today’s pop-culture based, internet driven society is more intimidating then ever before. Begin with the fact that a great recipe can spread around the globe in less time than it takes to cook it; then add to that the fact that the best way to sell a cookbook is to already be famous and it would be easy to quit before you’ve even started cooking. But just when it’s easy to want to curl up into a bowl of store bought “cheese-n-macaroni,” that’s when a refreshing surprise comes along, from the most unlikely of places.
Actress-tuned-wife-turned-mother-turned-chef, Gwenyth Paltrow. Not the person you’d expect someone to mention in an impromptu rant on cooking inspiration, but like a recipe you happen upon by accident, that is why she is so wonderfully refreshing.
After being truly inspired by her recent profile in Bon Appetit Magazine, I’m willing to forgo my one aforementioned proclivity, the fact that she’s already famous. Sure it got her where she is (in a magazine that I’m reading) but that’s not what makes her exactly who I want to be. It’s not just that she’s a chef whose inspiration comes from every day life, but also the fact that she combines a desire to be healthy with an acceptance that sometimes you need a couple of ingredients that are anything but. She achieves this by using farm fresh ingredients whenever possible.
She’s the first to admit her recipes aren’t necessarily unique, saying “I’m not going to be doing molecular gastronomy. I’m a wife, a mother, and a home cook.” Adding, “If I need to use a little butter will that really upset my hippie sensibility?”
Her recipes stem from being a wife, a daughter, and a mother… which let’s be honest is where most of modern cooking also began. But that doesn’t stop them from being fun, functional, and fresh... not to mention delicious.
Beyond all of that, what I appreciate most in her recipes and methodology is that she takes something beloved and finds a way to add something new to it, because she loves it, loves cooking, and loves whom she’s cooking for.
And in a world where recipes circulate like wild-fire, and nothing feels new or unique, often times the only fresh ingredient you have… is love.