PC: Was cooking a part of your upbringing?
MS: I was blessed. My mom cooked from scratch for us every single day and made sure that we sat together as a family to enjoy our food. She encouraged my brothers and me to have fun in the kitchen, to help if we liked. She taught me that cooking is no big deal, that the kitchen is fun and that families are at their best when they find the time to eat together.
PC: What makes a good cook?
MS: A good cook is in the moment, enjoying the wonderful dance of art and craft, of technique and ingredients that defines great cooking. A good cook strives for simplicity and celebrates healthy, tasty cooking.
PC: How has your cooking style changed since you started a family?
MS: I have given up my stressful ‘chefly’ quest for perfection in favour of a relaxed casual approach that celebrates simplicity and the triumph of home cooking shared at the table. My primary motivation is not driven by the profit that drives restaurants but my desire to serve my family healthy food that tastes great, that’s fun to eat and not stressful to create!
PC: What makes cooking such a great family activity?
MS: Any chance to spend time together doing something meaningful is a great family activity. Our food decisions are very important but we approach our time cooking as first and foremost just an opportunity to hang out.
PC: What are your favourite things to cook (and eat) with Gabe?
MS: Anything where he gets a chance to see the ingredient being grown and harvested before it lands in the kitchen. Our annual applesauce cook-up in the fall is a great example; we also love making beef stew in the fireplace together in a big Dutch oven.
Published March 2010