brussel sprouts

Nurturing hobbies outside work is essential when you work in a creative field.  If we don't take time to fill up the well of inspiration, it runs dry.

We sat down with our retail operations assistant, Sarah, to discuss the joy of cooking. Keep reading to learn how she started as well as her tips for anyone who is still working on building confidence in the kitchen.

Have you always loved cooking? When did you start and how did you learn?

No, I didn’t always love cooking, but I loved baking from a young age. It was a special bond my grandma and I shared. Cooking, on the other hand, really intimidated me. My mom was a wonderful cook and made it look so effortless, and could seemingly keep recipes in her head, or just make one up in the moment. When I moved out and to big cosmopolitan cities around the world, I had so many restaurants and takeouts at my disposal I never felt the need to learn to cook. And so went my life. And then my husband was suddenly traveling a lot for work and I realized that air popped popcorn was not going to count as a home cooked meal when he was gone. So I took a leap from my comfort zone and picked up one of the pretty cookbooks in our collection, and flipped through until I saw something that looked manageable. And it wasn’t a disaster!

I realized it wasn’t a science, and that I could get creative with it.
How do you feel when you're in the kitchen cooking a favorite recipe?
I feel so free and creative. I tend to be a control freak in many aspects of my life, and it is so nice to just let go. I especially love it when there aren’t any time constraints and I can put music on as loud as I want and have a coordinating cocktail or glass of wine in hand. It doesn’t always work out this way with a young family, but when it does it feels like magic.
Is there a specific dish that you like to prepare that feels nostalgic or reminds you of a specific memory or time in life?
Not a particular dish per se, but definitely Mediterranean focused meals. Growing up my family always made a very big deal of milestones, and in particular birthdays. We always chose our own birthday menus, and I always chose family style Mediterranean inspired meals. Now when I am missing my family I often make a watermelon feta mint salad, lemon roasted potatoes and grilled fish and it brings me back to the shared meals and celebrations with family. I also have many of the soup recipes that my mom would make and making those are the ultimate in comfort. 
Share your favorite cookbook with us!
I always say that I learned to cook with Jamie Oliver’s cookbooks, however my hands down all time favourite cookbook is Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights by Sophie Dahl. It is full of personal anecdotes, reads like a book, and is separated by seasons. Many, many years in and I am still charmed by the pages.
Any advice for someone who is not very confident in the kitchen?

Don’t be afraid of making mistakes and making a mess! Cooking isn’t like baking, there is so much more creative freedom, and often there are a lot of gifts within the mistakes. Confidently chop and get your ingredients prepped and then go for it. The more you cook, the more confident you will become. Start out with fairly basic recipes, like a really simple red sauce. And sharpen your knives!

Get to Know Sarah > 

Shop The French Kitchen > 

Laurie Furber