Being in the hospitality industry is sometimes really challenging. Trying to keep up with the new trends and having a good variety of items on a menu can be difficult.
To try to get inspiration in my cooking I’ve have done a lot of traveling. I spent time in Central America, Egypt, South East Asia and Europe learning the culture, studying the history and, of course, eating.
One thing that really stood out was that almost every culture took time to prepare the food and every thing was either grown or was sourced out locally.
During my travels, I spent a month in Vietnama and I was fortunate to go up north and spend a week with a hill tribe. These people grew everything from rice and vegetables, also raising pigs and chickens. I think one of the best meals I had was a slowly braised chicken in a simple broth with steamed vegetables.
What amazed me the most was that everything we ate was grown and raised in the land that surrounded us. No quick run to the local supermarket that day.
Most of the time these people would make amazing dishes with not much more than a few simple items that they planted, grew, picked and cooked.
I think that is what makes great food ,fresh items that are prepared properly. Fresh fruit and vegetables are abundant in flavours and do not need to be masked with overpowering and unnecessary ingredients.
Putting delicious dishes together does not have to be complex: the palette enjoys the simplicity of pure flavor brought on by a few tastes.
A great dish that comes to mind is a roasted chicken with fresh thyme.
Roasted chicken with fresh thyme
1 2-3 lb whole chicken
kosher salt and pepper
2 tsp fresh thyme
Preheat oven 450. Leave the chicken trussed. Season chicken with about 1 tbsp of salt and 3 pinches of ground black pepper. Place chicken in roasting pan and cook for 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from oven and add fresh thyme and add 1 tbsp of butter, baste chicken with juices and thyme. Let rest for 15 minutes. Makes 2 to 4 servings.
Marc is the Executive Chef and a co-owner of Birchwood Restaurant in Invermere. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.