For this week’s Food Blogger Spotlight, I’d like to introduce you to an old friend of mine who is part techno producer and part gourmet maestro: folks, please put your hands together for George Cochrane of Feeding Fashionistas, also known as DJ Origami.
When George isn’t whipping up his own signature blend of electronic indie-pop, he’s packing his dining rooms with ravenous fans – a group I’m stoked to be a part of. What sets him apart from the usual suspects in the Hipster Kitchen Bratpack ™? George’s cooking style is one of eclectic simplicity. He’s got one foot in Thai cooking, one foot in fervent mixology, and another (yes, a third!) planted firmly in the willingness to take risks in order to find the charismatic culmination of yum.
When it comes to cooking, I salute George and bow down to his culinary ideals. I think you’ll love him as much as I do.
We all have staples that we couldn’t live without. What three ingredients do you *always* have in your kitchen and why? I’m not talking snacks like chips and hummus, but rather ingredients you use all the time in your cooking.
My housemate can probably attest to the fact that my list of “must-have staples” is a mile long (and takes up half the kitchen)! A few big ones: Fresh cilantro, dill, shiso, and thai basil always live in a big cup full of water in the fridge with a plastic bag over the top. They keep for as long as a couple of weeks that way, so I’ve always got nice herbs to work with. Lemons, limes and grapefruits are always around in large numbers- they come in handy all the time both in the kitchen and the bar. My stores of shallots, black peppercorns, whole cumin and mustard seeds are blown through with alarming efficiency, the latter being particularly ubiquitous of late in my cooking, as they’re fun to watch as they pop and shoot around the kitchen.
I have a peculiar fancy for hydrolyzed soy protein sauces (sounds sexy, ay?) like Maggi and Bragg’s Liquid Aminos. They add the perfect savory and salty note to many dishes without shifting the overall flavor balance too much. When I go to a dinner party with plans to cook, my bag for spices, sauces and herbs tends to be overflowing and weighs 25 pounds. I feel naked without all the good stuff.
Imagine you moved to the smallest apartment possible – a shoebox, really – and you only had room for a single cookbook. Of all your cookbooks, which one would you keep? Why do you love it so?
Trick answer: my laptop! I learned almost everything I know about cooking from a combination of watching Good Eats and reading various websites (Chowhound, Thai Food and Travel, Chez Pim, etc) so I have an embarrassing lack of cookbooks around.
For some reason, however, I LOVE reading books about mixology and seem to prefer having them around when experimenting in the bar. My favorite cocktail book is “Imbibe!” by David Wondritch. It’s full of antiquarian cocktail lore, fascinating history, and delicious recipes. The writing is funny and succinct and there’s just SO much data hiding in this page-turner of a book. Top recommendations.
When you’re looking for new recipes (or creating one of your own), what is your number one priority? What makes you pick one recipe over another?
I want to be entranced by the description of ingredients and processes, first and foremost. I want to read the recipe and have it waft right off the page and fill the air around me with a scent I now MUST smell. Recipes that challenge me to leap onto my bike and search out new spices, grains, vegetables and such really thrill me.
I used to love Jamie Oliver’s shows, because he’d be just ripping herbs up and throwing them in the mortar and pestle, very quickly preparing stuff and making it look lovely, all the while proving that great-looking and tasting food really isn’t so hard to do. His recipes tended to be short on text, but long on content. When I write recipes, I try to do the same thing – a short list of ingredients and a clear run-through of the techniques involved, devoid of puffery, so you can just get down to cooking and eating (and feel proud you made it look so easy).
Blogs have the potential to be so many things, from personal journals to outrageous adventure reports. What is the most important thing you put into your blog, and what is the most important thing you get out of it?
Hmm… I feel like it’s still early days for me in terms of what I want to do with my blog. The best thing I put into it is my passion and enthusiasm for cooking and mixing cocktails. I’m a man obsessed, and I’m always experimenting. The blog gives me a place to put ideas, thoughts, and musings, and it’s grown into a place for my friends and I to share experiences, recipes and inspiration.
My co-writer Patrice has been the MVP lately, with a lot of great posts. Besides the sense of community, the most important thing I’ve gotten out of my time in blogging is a modicum of skill in writing and editing, which were things I’ve always had interest in but hadn’t done with any regularity until I started the blog. Nowadays I actually make my living as a writer, which comes as a heck of a surprise! …and I owe it all to getting really excited about food, even if my day job isn’t food-related (yet).
Thanks for stopping in, George.
Here are a few of my favorite posts from Feeding Fashionistas:
- Bringing home the bacon
- Mortar and Pestle + Green Peppercorn Nirvana
- Pisco Sour – More Foamy Drink Love
- Coldbusters (Spicy Pho for Cold Season)