My name is Neal, and I’m an avid chef. I was professionally trained a million years ago, but for better or worse, I chose a different profession. By day I run a mid-size highway and bridge construction company but by dinner hour I morph into full chef mode. I’ve worked in restaurants, catered both intimate and large events, and occasionally taught cooking classes, but my perspective for this blog is overwhelmingly my personal journey with food.
I found the hardest thing in writing about food is actually drafting a recipe. I can't tell you how many times my wife will ask 'how much' or 'how long' and the best answer I can give is 'when it looks right' or 'when it's done'. I rarely, if ever, cook with a measuring cup, much to Hillery's frustration. Virtually all the recipes here are the result of trial and error. This blog is new territory for me....learning how to translate what I cook into a recipe someone else can follow. If you want to follow a recipe and something seems vague, please contact me...I always monitor and respond to requests.
Often my dishes are inspired by meals I've had in restaurants, in which case they are truly interpretations. Other times they are inspired by cookbooks, newspapers, websites etc. Although I always tinker and adjust to my own tastes, ingredients, season etc., I'll always credit the source of the idea. Finally, please bear with me on the photography...I take all the pictures and I'm continually trying to improve my skills.
Hillery, my wife and better half, is an ardent supporter, occasional sous chef, head taste tester and tireless dishwasher. If you find a recipe you like, chances are she has endured several trial versions. When things go well, particularly if there is salmon involved, that’s not a bad gig. Then there was the time many years ago when I bought my first offset smoker and I smoked a corned beef brisket…..err…best not to ask!
Our two young daughters have become quite enthusiastic in the kitchen themselves. Ready to help, they love to watch and ask questions. My nine year old, like her mother, will willingly try anything, no matter how odd looking, and gleefully lists prosciutto and veal as her favorite foods. Our seven year old is still navigating the transition from pasta and chicken tenders to more ‘adult’ foods, but is gaining confidence everyday.
Finally, we have Charlie, our 3 year old Vizsla dog. We don’t spoil him with table scraps, but Charlie is a never give up kind of guy, and is always by my side in the kitchen.