Believe it or not, trouble free cooking is a common desire around the world. Even those among us who love cooking and eating almost equally will be the first to confess that being able to cook without the worry of creating a mess, spilling, or burning would be a blessing. Truthfully speaking there really is no such thing as trouble free cooking though there are things you can do that will take a good deal of trouble out of your cooking. (more…)

If you are a member of the culinary community as either a chef or someone who just cooks as a hobby, then it may be mind blowing to accept the fact that some people hate to cook. Either they just hate the time spent on cooking or they simply do not know how to cook.

For those aspiring culinary students, it is a love from which they want to make a professional career. They do this by attending any one of the culinary colleges that have sprung up across the country and the world. They are willing to make the sacrifices in order to make their dreams come true.

Are you someone who loves to cook? Well if you are and you plan to attend one of the culinary colleges found throughout the world, then you need to know a few facts. It is difficult to gain admittance into the best culinary schools in the country.

You will have to have an exceptional resume, a high grade point average and a background in the culinary community. The second thing you should know is that it is not going to be easy. Be prepared for hard labor, long hours, studying and leaving your ego at the door.

Now it is time to review what you will learn at one of the premier culinary schools in the United States. The Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School is probably the one school most people have heard of through ads and watching television.

Students can expect to learn skills that will prepare them for the food service industry, such as hospitality, restaurant management, knife skills, proper food sanitation and much more. The goal for the instructors is to provide enough instruction and practice so that the budding chef is able to handle any number of potential situations.

A career in the food service arena is not one to be taken lightly. Yes, there are chefs who have not had any formal training, such as Food Network’s Rachel Ray. But there are others, such as Gordon Ramsey and Todd English who have had formal training and are now celebrity chefs.

If you should decide to check out culinary colleges, then you need to seriously evaluate your skill level and what it is that you hope to gain from attending such a school. Perhaps with enough hard work you can have your own television show on the Food Network. It is possible.

Enrich your knowledge further about culinary colleges from Mike Selvon portal. We appreciate your feedback at our cooking school blog where a free gift awaits you.

A raw food diet is simple. It consists of eating food in their natural state. The food is neither cooked nor adulterated in any way. By eating the bulk of your food in its natural state, you will enjoy a huge improvement in your health and vitality.

The Raw Food Philosophy

More than just a weight loss plan or a fitness diet, this diet is a philosophy based on a lifestyle choice. It demands awareness of the live nutritional value of unprocessed food and provides numerous health benefits. They are low in saturated fats and sodium and high in antioxidants and magnesium, and low in sodium. They are almost free of harmful trans-fats. A raw food diet will detoxify your system. It will lead to natural weight loss.

Raw Foodists

Switching to a raw food diet will be much easier if you are vegan, or at least vegetarian. Those who choose this diet are referred to as raw foodists. This diet is popular with those seeking to be disease-free and full of energy. There are no useless calories, hence no weight gain. The diet also optimizes the nutrition in your food because cooking often kills essential vitamins and minerals in food. By not eating animal flesh or animal byproducts, there are no steroids and hormones to absorb. In addition, the body will quickly begin to flush out toxins with this diet.

Since the diet consists of nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits, sometimes it is necessary to take dietary supplements like protein shakes. However, supplements are not necessary if the diet has been precisely calculated for the various macro and micronutrients the body needs to be healthy and strong.

Variety is added to the diet by making food combinations, using food dehydrators, processors, and blenders. For instance, you can make crackers by blending various raw foods into dehydrator. Chopping or blending it can alter the texture and taste of food.

The general idea is that the higher the amount of uncooked food, the better the health results. It is not the same as a vegan diet because although no animal flesh or byproducts are eaten with that diet, most of the food is still cooked. In addition, this type of diet may, depending on the philosophy of the dieter, include animal products that are eaten in their raw state. Besides seeds, nuts, vegetables, and fruits, the diet may also have eggs, sashimi fish, carpaccio, and unpasteurized milk, cheese, and yogurt.

For most of us, choosing to be fit is more a test of will than a one time decision. Being “fit” covers a change in our lifestyle much more than just embarking upon a new exercise or diet program. For me, the choice came about 15 years ago. I was about 24 years old when friends of mine convinced me to start going to the gym as a group. At that time, I knew I didn’t really like the way I looked, so I thought it would be a good idea. How hard could it be? Well, it didn’t take long before I knew the answer to that question. (more…)

Food – none of us can go without it! But how does the way in which we think about food impact our diet? Are you someone who just sees food as body fuel, or do the different tastes, textures and nutritional values of food excite you? In today’s health conscious world, I would think that most of us fall into the latter group. If you want to achieve your diet goals quicker, then you need to clearly understand you relationship with food.

Eat and Burn

In its simplest form, food gives our body the calories it needs to run on a daily basis. When there are too few calories, the body looks to its own reserves. When there are too many calories, the body puts them away in storage (i.e. as body fat). On a purely mathematical level, so long as we burn as much as we consume, we are not going to produce excess body fat. So yes it is possible to eat junk food and stay thin but we also know that what food we eat can be as important as how much food we eat.

Food Fanatics

Not all foods are created equal. It would be nonsense to say that a caramel flapjack and an organic apple containing the same number of calories are of equal health benefit. At the ‘eat and burn’ basic level then yes they might provide our body with the same number of calories but substance is surely just as important. We have all learned that the organic apple is bursting with healthy goodness, whilst the flapjack will be laden with sugar and other nutritional nastiness.

The food world has gone crazy over the past few years. Every other program on television is a cooking program. But why are we so obsessed? It is just body fuel at the end of the day…

I have to admit, I am a modern day ‘foodie’. I love cooking and experimenting in the kitchen and I strongly believe in the health benefits of natural food. In my eyes, there is nothing wrong with this, food has the fantastic ability of making us happy so let’s take advantage. However, you need to be aware of your root relationship with food. There is definitely a risk of obsessing over food. Such obsession may manifest itself as punishing yourself for eating ‘junk’ food, a lifetime of calorie counting, or possibly worse. We each have unique relationships with food and to get the most from food we should strip away the layers and get to the bottom of what and why. Why did you have to eat popcorn whilst watching that movie yesterday evening? Why did you have to drink alcohol when socialising last week? It is good to sit back and think about our food choices so we understand why we made them and can enjoy those choices instead of feeling guilty about them!

Strategies to Avoid Food Obsession and Achieve Your Diet Goals

As we are dependent upon food for survival, all of us have a relationship with food.

Here are a few ideas to help you find out, change, and nurture your food relationship.

  • Make a Black, Grey, White list of foods you commonly eat. Black for the least healthy, White for the most. Then keep it in your kitchen, making sure that your cupboards are full of those foods on the White list (typically fresh fruit, vegetables, unsalted nuts and seeds, whilst trying to cut out those on the Black list (basically anything processed containing sugar, as well as alcohol and if you follow the Paleo diet, then all grains too). To take things further, you can keep a score board to measure how many food items from each colour group you are eating – monitoring your results forces the truth upon you, so there is nowhere to hide!
  • Work out what type of food personality you are. Do this by clearly identifying what you enjoy about food. For me, I know that eating healthily will make me feel happy but so does the odd treat. I have a soft spot for beer and ice cream (not together though!), so I indulge in these things every now and again. It may be that you enjoy a certain type of cuisine, or need to eat every two hours. Being aware of your food personality will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses in your diet, which you can then address sensibly instead of obsessively.
  • Be wise about food availability – possibly the most important factor in keeping a healthy diet is to always have the healthy food readily to hand. Most people resort to less healthy foods because they are so accessible. A little bit of effort on your part and healthy food can be fast food in any hectic lifestyle. Prepare your healthy food in advance and keep stock levels high (i.e. always have fresh fruit and vegetables at the ready).
  • Equally, if it isn’t in your house in the first place then you can’t eat it! If you don’t have very strong willpower, avoid the lethal step of bringing junk foods into your home. Too often I have picked things up and thought it would be saved for a rainy day but the evenings are full of temptation and before you know it that treat is in your belly. I know that keeping sweet food in the house can undo my healthy eating, so it’s best kept out most of the time.

Free Your Food, Do Not Trap it with Rules

The key to making healthy eating a lifestyle choice and not a short term diet is to make it fun and enjoyable, not boring and burdensome! I think adopting a ‘rule free’ food psychology is more realistic than to simply ban certain foods altogether. To be truthful, we all fall off the healthy eating bandwagon. In my eyes, this can be a good thing providing that you that you do enjoy your treats (e.g. cake) that you consume otherwise what is the point!? Don’t worry and just get right back on track instead of dwelling on that junk food.

Please find more information about the ability of food to change your mood on my website, where I have given examples of foods that could help you achieve your diet goals.

Luke Moghaddas-Davies – A fitness enthusiast who has trained for over 12 years and believes everyone should take ownership of their health and achieve their fitness goals – no excuses! By making healthy living more realistic, and for me that means ‘rule free’, I know how to stay lean and fit for life not just for summer!

There are many inexpensive cooking knives out there. Go in any big box retail store and you can find an assortment of chefs knives, paring knives and kitchen cutlery for fairly low prices. Thats OK, if you do not plan to use them. They look pretty in the wooden knife block and that is where they should stay because you will wear yourself out trying to use them much.

You Get What You Pay For

If cooking is your thing you should avoid buying a drawer full of inexpensive knives. Invest in just a few good quality kitchen knives. To start, you only need three good knives; you can add to your kitchen arsenal over time.

You will use a chefs knife or paring knife for about 80% of the cutting and chopping work. Delicate work will most often be done with your paring knife and it is important that it be kept sharp.

Three Must Have Cooking Knives

Short Chefs knife 6-8 inches long

Long Chefs knife 8-12 inches long

Sharp paring knife

Ease of Use

One of the best reasons to buy a better quality cooking knife sits at the end of your arm-your hand. A cheap knife is just that, cheap. The handles are made of plastic or wood that is often uncomfortable to grip. This puts extra stress on your hand and arm, making the work harder to perform. Over time, working with poorly made knives can cause pain, and even Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

A quality cooking knife is easier to hold and feels better in your hand. The grip is ergonomically crafted to fit comfortably in your hand and the knife is balanced to make the work easier to do. You can do much neater, more professional looking knife work with a well balanced, quality constructed cooking knife. High quality carbon steel or polished stainless steel blades stay sharp longer and the grip is much more comfortable.

Invest wisely and cooking can be the enjoyable experience it should be and not an onerous chore. What to Look for:

High quality forged carbon steel blades

High quality polished stainless steel blades

Ergonomic hand grips for easy use

Balanced for ease of use

A knife that feels good in your hand

In order to get food to taste good most people think that you have to result to unhealthy food flavorings. Most people wonder if it is possible to eat healthy while maintaining the great taste. Artificial sugars are an alternative to table sugar (sucrose) as they tend to be more intensively sweeter and have zero calories. Artificial sugars have become the main functional ingredients in many diet drinks and other healthy food products. Many artificial foods have been made to cater for those of us who watch what we eat. You can add texture to your food which is good for your digestive system via food texturizers. Here is how to add taste to your food:

Spices: Its definition tends to be a grey area for many culinary aficionados, as one definition is inclusive of herbs. The American Spice Trade Association has it that, flavoring is “any dried product used primarily for seasoning purposes.” The other widely and most accepted definition is whether fresh or dried or derived from the bark, stem, root, seed or fruit of a plant. They tend to be grown in tropical climes. They are highly regarded for their medicinal value and in preparation of cosmetic products. Examples include garlic, ginger, cloves, pepper, cinnamon even wasabi.

Herbs: Herbs are different in that they are derived from leaves. They may be whole, grinded a little to be flaky, or well grinded to be powder. When consumed whole they tend to give texture to food and hence are a great natural food texturizer. Herbs do not favor tropical climes and are commonly found in more temperate areas. Herbs are similar when it comes to their medicinal values and also cosmetic properties. Examples of herbs are parsley, basil, oregano, thyme and rosemary.

Condiments: They tend to be simple sauces; good examples include mustard, ketchup and barbecue sauce.

Others: Salt is a mineral, but it would be unfair to ignore it when talking of seasonings. Salt has preserving qualities, commonly used to preserve fish before refrigerators, hence the term salted fish. There are many different types of salt, from rock salt to sea salt. Iodized salt is usually recommended so as to limit the salts’ dehydrating properties. Some like to confuse sugar as a seasoning, but it is considered as part of functional ingredients as food can be made out of it. To be fair sugar changes the taste of whatever it is mixed in, but it is more commonly referred to as a sweetener.

We are what we eat and whenever we want to eat healthy there is always the drawback of sacrificing taste. Good food has to have the right functional ingredients and complementing food flavorings to bring out great tasting food. Food that tastes good is not enough; addition of good food texturizers will ensure that your food also feels good in your mouth. We usually rush at what tastes good to us every meal time, and probably our best meal is usually what we remember tasting best. With the proper application of food seasonings you will always have a feast of even the smallest meals.

In terms of nutrition food and health are great concern all over the world. The major concentration is on the threats exerted by kinds of foods, and how we can cut them by avoiding junk foods and modifying our daily diets. For example, many consumers avoid the white sugar as they perceive that it is harmful for health.

Many nutrition and health authorities offer guidance for people to avoid health problems associated with over or under-consumption of certain foods. However, it largely depends on the attitude of the people to their food intake and health. (more…)