The second and last day of the Gtbank Food and Drink fair started with a burst of rain from the water banks of the skies. It appeared as if the rain would mar the event. It was not so. The second day was beautiful and cool; not as sunny as the first day and it had a calm appeal to it.
I signed up for the Gtbank food and drink fair Masterclass by Chef Raphael Duntoye with a lot of hopes for an interesting food creation experience. I was not disappointed. Chef Raphael mentioned that he would make about 11 dishes; I lost count at some point. He showcased the fine arts of cuisine. While his dishes were not African, they still appealed to the audience and he was asked a lot of questions.
Red Snapper fish and prawns – they looked like tiger prawns- were a part of his ingredients and he got them from the Makoko Local market. Other ingredients he used such as Asparagus, Risotto, and Parmesan cheese are usually not consumed by majority of Nigerians. Nevertheless, the audience tended to focus more on techniques, skills he displayed and his inspiration for cooking.
“Cooking is all about Science” Chef Raphael Duntoye said when he was asked why he plunged blanched asparagus into ice water. He also mentioned that cooking was about finding great produce and combining them to create a great dish.
On tasting food, a Nigerian cook asked him how he prepares food without even tasting them. He mentioned that the recipes he uses are usually set recipes that have worked for him over time and also by experience he gets the results that he aims at.
About creating new recipes for customers, he mentioned the word ‘trust’. People you cook for should trust you to give them something they will like and they will eat it because they trust you.
A young boy asked a question about why he blanched his asparagus as opposed to grilling to preserve the nutrients. His answer was interesting and it makes me think that sometimes, we put the taste of food or texture we want to achieve over maximum nutrition. He could have grilled but the recipe he used was to cook in water. Sometimes, we want our food in a certain type of way and it is fine as long as we get some nutrition from it. On the other hand, if our food preparation technique destroys the nutrients or even cause harm to our bodies, then no matter how good it tastes, we should refrain from using such techniques.
I also learned that the rule of thumb for frying fish with skin on is that it should be crispy.
I was very inspired to make an infant meal from pumpkin and rice. This inspiration came from one of the recipes that had pumpkin puree and risotto as ingredients and I did not hesitate to thank him right there for inspiring me. I had bought a jar of ground brown rice from Baby grubs and this will be useful here. So watch out for my pumpkin and rice dish for babies.
All in all, it was an awesome experience. Here are some pictures of food products that I took before the class: