|Hello and welcome to my food blog. I'm Aidan Brooks, a 22-year-old chef from the East End of London. I graduated from Westminster Kingsway College in summer 2007 with a Professional Chef Diploma and emigrated to Barcelona, where I trained at two of the city's best Michelin-starred restaurants. In 2009 I moved to the Community of València to join the team of Paco Morales, Spain's "Chef of the Year 2009" at Juan Carlos Ferrero's Hotel Ferrero, where I was appointed Pastry Chef. This year I returned to the place of my birth to be part of the exciting project to start up a fine dining restaurant in the East End. I'm now taking a break for a while, before my next adventures in cooking.|
|(or "home" on my navigation bar above) to go straight to my latest posts. Otherwise, follow the individual links below (or the links in my navbar and sidebar) to specific parts of my blog.|
|A Bit About Me And My Training To Become A Chef|
(or "about me" on my navbar) to visit the part of my blog where I talk about my background in Hackney, how I studied at Junior Chefs' Academy at Waltham Forest College as a 15-year-old and how I prepared for life as a student chef. In this part of my blog (or "where i'm at" on my navbar) I talk about my formative years, describe what life was like at Westminster Kingsway College studying for a Professional Chef Diploma, why I migrated to Barcelona to train at Carles Abellan's Comerç 24 where I first became a chef de partie, to Martín Berasategui's Lasarte and Francisco Morales' Restaurante Ferrero.
|(or "work experience" on my navbar) for information about the restaurants where I learned to cook, starting with Restaurante Lanútus in Laúndos, near Póvoa de Varzim in Portugal and Joy Authentic Indian Cuisine in Hackney - and progressing to The Landmark Hotel and The Providores & Tapa Room in Marylebone and to Zuma and Boxwood Café in Knightsbridge. There are also links to the restaurants at which I've worked in Catalunya, where I trained at La Gigantea at the Hotel Mas Passamaner in Reus and at Comerç 24 and Lasarte at the Hotel Condes, both in Barcelona, before moving to Bocairent in Valencia to work with Paco Morales at Restaurante Ferrero and eventually returning to London to become part of the startup team at Viajante.|
|for my People And Places section, where I talk about the people who have influenced me as a young trainee chef, including Jafoor "Ali" Ahmed of Joy in Hackney, Professor Cyrus Todiwala MBE, restaurateur at the incredible Café Spice Namasté in Aldgate and Peter Gordon of The Providores & Tapa Room in Marylebone - the man whose cooking changed my view of food completely and irreversibly. Not forgetting the brilliant chef Nuno Mendes of Bacchus in Hoxton, within walking distance of the house where I lived all my childhood. More recently, Albert Adrià of Inopia and lately of El Bulli and Paco Torreblanca of the Torreblanca pastry empire, both of whom I had the honour to cook for recently. I'm also pictured at the celebration party when we won our Michelin star at Comerç 24 and outside every gastronome's Mecca - the Adrià family's unique, amazing El Bulli.|
As well as being able to read my latest blog posts on my home page, you can navigate back to earlier posts by clicking on "Older Post" at the foot of the main home page section and forward again by clicking on "Newer Post". But because there are over 300 posts on my blog, I've created archives that allow you to find what I've posted by topic. These clickable links are in my sidebar to the right.
My former college
Classical home cooking
Food items and snacks
Food news & reviews
Food movies and books
Food markets & shops
Celeb chefs & TV
Friends & family
Food blogging & writing
(or "restaurants" on my navbar) for the restaurants section of my blog, where I talk about the great places in which it's been my privilege to dine. Eating is a tremendously important part of learning to cook - it sharpens the palate, inspires creativity, establishes a framework within which to judge your own cooking and sets goals for your future achievement. In this section of my blog you will find my review of dining out in Barcelona and links to my posts about the great restaurants I've experienced, including El Celler De Can Roca in Girona, Cinc Sentits in Barcelona, Mugaritz in San Sebastián and Quique Dacosta in Dénia.
|(or "recipes" on my navbar) for my recipes section. I'm not really into recipes and if that's what you are looking for there are far better blogs than mine, such as Elise Bauer's Simply Recipes. In the pro kitchen, new dishes are documented as dish specs, but this is more for costing purposes. We have to learn every detail of each dish - there isn't time to refer to recipes during prep, let alone during service. When cooking at home, I use my knowledge of produce, my kitchen techniques and my palate to produce dishes. If I use a recipe, it is only as a guide - with the exception of baking, where ratios are all-important. I've documented some of the dishes that I prepared at home, mostly while still living in London, and I've produced photo recipes showing how you can make these meals yourself.|
|Herbs and spices|
(or "spices" on my navbar) for my spices section. I had to suspend work on this not long after I started due to pressure of exams, but I've been gradually getting it up to date during the past couple of years and the first phase is now complete. Here you will be able to find information on many different spices, with a spice index, a spice overview table that lists each one and provides a summary of characteristics and main uses and tables sorting spices by family group and by dominant flavour.
The spices that I've written up are:
|My Australian Gastronomy Project|
A key part of my Professional Chef Diploma involved a study of the gastronomy of an allocated country and the formulation of a three-course gastronomic menu suitable for a top restaurant. The second stage was to research the national cuisine and its historical development and to justify the menu recommendations, leading to a detailed report, a presentation and a practical. I was allocated Australia and I learnt a huge amount about Australian history, culture and gastronomy.
| (or the link in the "topics" section of my side bar) for my report on the developing cuisine of Australia. My thesis was a controversial one - that two centuries and more of racial division in Australia was the principal factor retarding the development of the national food culture. But it's not all bad news, because I discovered the amazing world of New Australian cuisine, drawing on the best of techniques and products from the settler and indigenous communities as well as from the outside world.|
In this section of my blog I publish my college report in four sections, including my Australian Gastronomy Menu, along with links to other posts I've published about Australian food.
|Other bits of my blog|
I've covered almost all of my blog in this brief tour, but there are a few other bits floating around which you might like to visit. If you can read Portuguese, click here to read about my Portuguese "extended family". My CV can be found here, along with information about my school results, my qualifications, my references and the countries I've visited.
Food events in the UK for May 2010
At the foot of my home page is the UK Food Bloggers' Association Calendar, with links to some the key food events in the UK during May:
to learn more about these calendar events.