Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Introduction to my GBC Culinary blog

Hi there,

My name is Tammy Hanlon.  I have lived downtown Toronto for the last 15 yeasrs.  I am currently a freelance photographer and in the past 4 years have taken to preparing, styling and photographing food.  I have used recipes for most of my life but have been creating my own the past few years.  Even when I use recipes I always modify them to what I think are better flavors, methods of preparation and quantity of ingredients.  I always analyze a recipe and change it to what I think would be a more appealing application.

Why do I want to be a chef?  I don't know exactly what I will pursue upon completion.  Attending culinary school can open up so many other roads.  We (myself and my husband) have had a dream for four years and I think going to chef school to gain solid foundations would help me with that dream.  It's buying and running a small 25 seat restaurant on a tiny island of the coast of Cancun called Isla Mujeres.  I am a very artistic and creative person and always have been.  I've been a photgrapher my whole life, professionally for the past 10 years and have always had an addictive interest in anything food related.

I currently do have an opportunity to work in a professional kitchen which is in a retirement residence.  I know you're going to think 'retirement residence' and I'll be serving banana pudding and unseasoned vegetables, this is a quite well to do residence in Unionville.  The head chef (who happens to be a friend of mine) emailed me their menu, which changes often.  They make things like beef bourguignon and sole meuniere.  This past summer I was baking at a restaurant in Cabbagetown preparing homemade kaisers for their sandwiches (burgers, smoked meat, pulled pork).  I wouldn't say I am a baker but I am genuinely interested in bread baking because of the science behind it.  You should check out the master bread baker Peter Reinhart!

My personal philosophy of cooking is that I would describe myself as a person that likes to try new things, what's trending now, new ideas and techniques.  That being said I have a love for the classics.  I recently purchased a smoker at the beginning of this summer and have been studying and researching about smoking meat.  I have recently gained an interest in curing meats and as I type this I have a 3 lb pork belly in my refridgerator awaiting a week long cure to start a maple bacon and an asian bacon.  I like to really master what I do as much as I can and every recipe or dish I prepare spawns 2 new interests and ideas that I pursue and research.  I belive in fresh ingredients and flavours as much as I can and trying new flavour pairings that are not typical is an exciting thing. Anything processed is a no no for me.  In the end it's all about what it tastes like, bottom line.

What I hope to gain from attending GBC culinary program is a more solid foundation and knowledge of not just cooking but other aspects of the industry.  I think what I will learn will take me from a cook to a professional (along with professional kitchen experience).  I admire the instructors/chefs that are teaching me and know that they have worked their tails off to get where they are.  I truly respect the knowledge I have gained from them after only 3 short weeks.

I will now leave you on a comedic note with one of the greatest restaurant reviews I've ever seen on Yelp:

To everyone I've met and those I've yet to meet I hope you have an amazing informative year!



Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lemon Chicken Rice Soup with Braided Sesame Bread

Soup, yes once again.  I guess I can't get enough of it.  Chicken, lemon and thyme - how can you go wrong?  Pair that with amazing fresh baked bread and you're transported to a cozy little place - especially if you're sitting on the couch under a quilt watching The Walking Dead.  Yes, I can still eat with all that decapitation going on. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Way back in the day I had a love affair with Campbell's cream of mushroom soup.  That gelatinous blob that plopped out of the can, indents still intact.  I'd eat it straight up or 'get creative' by using it as a sauce with rice and pork chops.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Vidalia Onion Dip

That  pop of blue in the bowl above reminds me of one thing, Mexico. Last year we were lucky enough to spend 2 weeks in San Jose Del Cabo in March and 2 weeks in Merida, Yucatan in June.  With the weather here in Toronto so grey (still raining) I guess every little thing reminds me of how much  I want to get away - blue anything equals ocean.  I love the city.  Merida is the capital of the Yucatan and the bonus is that within 20 minutes you can be on the beach, cerveza in hand.  Progreso, Mexico.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Rain and Rosemary Bread

This is day 3 of solid rain (or is it day 4?).  I don't have a photo session booked for today.  I don't want to or have a reason to go outside so why not bake?  I just made a cinnamon coffee cake (kind of an 'experimental' recipe, I'll let you know how it went) and plan on making soup for dinner so baking some bread is in order.  

This recipe  makes '4 small loaves' but in my opinion it makes 4 large buns.  These buns are delicious, crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside.  The smell of it baking is intoxicating and when my husband walks in the door he has the 'death by bread' look on in face.  Bread is like crack to him.  Seriously.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Coconut Cupcakes

I don't have a sweet tooth.  Not really.  I have what you call a 'beer tooth'.  Oh yes, my dear sweet Sapporro :)  That being said I still do love to bake.  My faves, cupcakes and bread.  Baking full batches can be tough when there are two non sweet tooth people at home.  We'll eat a couple and within a few days the rest gets pitched.  This recipes yields 4 cupcakes.  Normally when I bake I save a couple for my husband and I and he brings the rest into work to share with his co-workers.  (His coworkers love my baking because I usually cut the sugar amount in the recipe a lot, even by half sometimes).  I made this batch of cupcakes when his union went on strike - he wouldn't be bringing the rest into work.  I hate throwing out food.  I'll try to pawn baked goods off on my neighbors, which they love but sometimes that doesn't happen.  Plus cupcake recipes with butter cream frosting are a huge waste to toss, butter is expensive!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Potato and Leek Soup

I love cooking during the summer.  It's easy (mostly barbecue - less dishes which helps when you don't have a dishwasher), it's lighter and it's always so much fun to check out the local outdoor farmer's markets and grab whatever produce is in season.  That being said, we live outside during the summer. The t.v. collects a lot of dust while we sit outside in the evenings in our tiny backyard patio.

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