What’s my style of cooking? Although I have a French cuisine background as well as Mediterranean and modern cooking tendencies, I enjoy cooking all kinds and types of cuisines, with methods and influences from around the globe. Still, no matter what I cook, the style of my cooking will always be Sensible Cooking. Sensible cooking isn’t a type of cuisine but rather a way of life, a set of tools which guide me through the process of planning, shopping, cooking, serving and finally eating in the most reasonable, responsible yet realistic way. I strive to be thoughtful, educated and appreciative of what is available and come up with the best results to accommodate modern fast pacing urban life. These are the ten principles I keep in mind throughout this process:
Learn to cook for yourself, from scratch. It’s so important to be able to cook a healthy simple meal for yourself and your family, to avoid being dependent on take outs and deliveries. Only when you cook for yourself you know what went into your dish.
Strive to eat great tasting, nutritious, balanced meals, diminish processed convenience foods from your diet. Don’t be afraid to try new flavors wherever you go. Keep eating everything you love but in a controlled portions. Eating should make you feel good and not the opposite.
Exploit what you already have in hand, use the entire ingredient, be resourceful in the kitchen. Use leftovers to make a new delicious dish. Look what’s in the fridge and try to make something out of stuff that’s already there instead of looking up a recipe then buying a long list of ingredients for it. Substitute an ingredient with something you already have. You can use almonds instead of walnuts, celery instead of cucumber, coconut cream instead of whipping cream.. You get the point. Change things up a bit to fit your preferences. Keep the bones to make soups and stocks, keep the meat scrapes to make a sauce. Creativity in the kitchen is an acquired skill!
Use the produce of the season, it’s better tasting and cheaper in its peak. You don’t have to have tomatoes in your salad if it’s out of season, use leafy greens instead, fennel, citrus. Be aware of the season and be patient for your favorite produce to come back.
Food should be enjoyable: enjoy the making of food as much as eating it. Great tasting food is one of nature’s gifts to us, so cherish it. Don’t feel guilty about eating. Food has a large part of our lives, we have to eat, so might as well do it the right way. Food is also social platform. Enjoy your family dinners, eating with friends, conversations around the table and of course, good wine always pair well with good food.
Strive to minimize waste, garbage and packaging material, recycle and compost when possible. Buy less disposables, use boxes more than once. Go around carrying reusable bag, refill your water bottle, lower water waste, buy in bulk. There are so many ways to reduce waste and as small as they may seem, they do count. Read More…
Support local economy and businesses whenever possible. Buy produce at the farmer’s markets, prefer locally owned shops, privately owned small butchers, fish mongers and specialty stores. Discover what your area is known for and celebrate that.
Understand your food, where it comes from and what it does to you. If you learn the basis of the kitchen principles you would be able to cook better and make better choices about your diet and your health. What happens to protein in different temperatures? What happens when you freeze and thaw? What can cause a foam to break? How to make oil and water to stick together?
Cook in the most efficient methods to suit and flatter a specific dish. There are so many tools and cooking techniques that it might be overwhelming to choose when to use which and for what purpose. Sometimes the fastest way is the most efficient but sometimes it changes the texture of the food, sometimes slow and steady brings the best results and sometimes it makes the food dry out. Be aware of the options and choose wisely.
Learn how to preserve food to be able to enjoy produce later in the season. Cook larger batches and freeze for later consumption, make jams and marmalade, preserves, pickles of all kinds of vegetables. I also really like to turn herbs into pesto and keep them a lot longer, make different oils, dry tomatoes etc. There are tuns of ways to maximize the use of your produce and enjoy it in so many different ways.
Inspired by International and Asian cuisine and her bringing up in Tel Aviv, Mashav Shelef leads the team of Le Couloir, tailoring private events, creating new and inspiring menus and making sure every event is one to remember. A graduate from Ferrandi - Paris and experienced in several Michelin starred restaurants. In 2013 created a Pop-up Secret Kitchen in Tel Aviv and now starting her way as a Personal Chef in San Francisco. She brings dedication, creativity and her undeniable passion for food together with a fresh approach to cooking derived from her scientific background.