I love food! When I was younger I used to go out every night for dinner and I collected menu cards from every restaurant so I could read them for inspiration. I listened to lots of audio about nutrition. Rather than novels, I read cookbooks, and I could taste the food by reading the recipe.
I love teaching because you are interacting with so many different people and you create a passion within them. It is really hard work but all worthwhile. If I am doing a class by myself, it can take me five hours to weigh up the ingredients and set up the kitchen ready for the event. It is so exciting to see somebody coming in, not knowing anything about cooking and going away being really happy with their achievements. If you are enthusiastic about something, people around you will feel the same. If you teach someone about something that you are so passionate about, whatever the topic is, people are going to love it. Passion is contagious, isn’t it?
Because we are a family-run business, we are very relaxed and would like to make people feel that when they come, it’s like entering into someone’s home. We introduce our students to different types of foods, techniques and ingredients to inspire them to not always buy the same every week – food that they perhaps would never typically buy or use at home. Out of habits, lots of people get stuck with the same stuff going into their trolly because it’s easy. I think cooking is about confidence, it isn’t actually difficult, but you need to dare try different things and not to be afraid of failures. When something goes wrong, I tell my students it is fantastic, because then you can figure out how to correct it. When dishes turn out to be disasters in my kitchen, I don’t mind at all, I actually quite like it so I can show them how to turn it into something else.
One thing we don’t have here is wastage, I use everything – onion skins, carrot heads, herb leftover…everything. If something spills, I use a piece of cloth instead of kitchen towel. You wouldn’t want to waste any paper when at one point in your life you couldn’t even afford toilette paper, would you?
Learn more about Diana Horsford @ The Avenue Cookery School