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Sorry if this is cosidered off-topic...

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hey Everyone,

 

Most of you probably haven't seen me around the forum, I wander on it occasionally, checking out any cool new recipes or just browse what people are saying. If you don't know my background, I'm 15 years old, and I have been cooking since I was 5-6 years old. I live in boarding school in the UK, and visit family on the weekends. Cooking was always a hobby of mine, even a passion I could say, I never took it as a serious career opportunity until the past year.

I was thinking about starting a blog. I know that many of you have them, but many of you are able to cook daily, while I am only able to two or three times a week. What would I theme mine about considering I have no specialty? I travel a good amount, so that could possibly be part of my blog.

On a final note, I was wondering how I can begin creating my own recipes, I feel like my palette is ready to create things. But I myself, do not have enough knowledge of some basic dishes and techniques to begin making them more suitable to me.

 

Thanks,


Zoui21

 

PS. Any name Ideas would be appreciated. I was thinking something along the lines of "Boarding School Chef" but the problem with that is:

a) I won't be cooking in school

b) I dont know if its catchy enough

c) It is not given that I will stay at boarding school until I finish my education.

post #2 of 8

I don't think I've ever met such a young cook.  Perhaps your blog could be about how a teenager incorporates cooking into his lifestyle.  First you have to think about who you want your audience to be.  Do you want to appeal to other teenagers and show them how food and nutrition can be part of their lives as well?  Or do you want to run with the big folks?  Do you want to share recipes?  Since you're not sure you will remain in boarding school how about something like "School Boy Chef"?  What kind of cooking do you, who do you cook for, and who are you inspirations? 

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply
post #3 of 8

Everything Koukouvagia said, with one additional thought: Boarding School Chef, to me, connotes being the chef at a boarding school; sort of the opposite of who you are.

 

As to creating recipes: Go for it. Take a basic recipe you have and ask yourself "what if." Try, based on your level of experience, to predict what the changes will do. Once you're confident doing that, start from scratch. Take, say, a chicken, and again ask yourself "what if." What if I roast it with a rub made of XYZ? What if I serve a fruit sauce with it? What if I flame it with brandy?

 

As your culinary knowledge increases you will find that you've replicated many established recipes, or nearly so. But so what? Cooking is a process of self-discovery and personal growth as well as formal learning.

 

The real idea is to have fun with it.

 

 

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
Reply
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #4 of 8

I think that it is great that you want to start a blog and I agree, you have a built in theme seeing as you are so young.  I spend a good amount of time exploring food blogs and I can't remember coming across any from a teenager.

 

Don't worry about not having enough recipes to post every day.  With my schedule sometimes I can post once a week, sometimes a couple of times a week and sometimes only once every 2 weeks.  It doesn't matter how often you blog as long as you are enjoying it (or want to try and make decent money off of it).

 

As for wanting to create your own dishes, give yourself time. Take recipes you've seen and just give them your own little twist.  Trying substituting out different herbs, change up the vegetables, start small so you get a feel for what works, what doesn't work and why.  Many bloggers often take inspiration from other blogs they have read and there is nothing wrong with that.  In fact there is nothing wrong with using another bloggers recipe as long as you change it up a bit and give credit for the recipe or idea.  I've even occasionally adapted recipes from other blogs for use in my blog.  If the end result is very similar to the original recipe I always give credit to the blogger and link back to their recipe (it gives them a little extra publicity also.  Just don't rely on that too often for content or people will quickly tire of your blog.  And whatever you do, don't steal people's recipes and/or pictures.  I know I probably don't have to say this to you, but you'd be surprised how often this happens and when you get caught your blog's reputation will be toast.

 

Finally, don't get discouraged if you have a small readership.  The first year of my blog I was lucky to get 20 hits a day.  Even now, after 2 1/2 years I only average around 150 hits a day.  That's small beans compared to some of the better known blogs which can get tens of thousands of hits per day.  Sure, I'd love to see that happen, but I'm very happy with my little corner of the internet and am excited by the small, but loyal following that I have.

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hey,

Thanks for the replies, read all of them throughout the day as they were posted. Just had to think about some of the answers.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post

I don't think I've ever met such a young cook.  Perhaps your blog could be about how a teenager incorporates cooking into his lifestyle.  First you have to think about who you want your audience to be.  Do you want to appeal to other teenagers and show them how food and nutrition can be part of their lives as well?  Or do you want to run with the big folks?  Do you want to share recipes?  Since you're not sure you will remain in boarding school how about something like "School Boy Chef"?  What kind of cooking do you, who do you cook for, and who are you inspirations? 

It could be interesting to create a blog about how I incorporate cooking into my lifestyle, but I just don't really know where to start, tell you the truth I'm intimidated by the subject because I don't know how to make that subject interesting, I'd like this to be a full time project and I don't know what I would write about during the week when I'm at the school itself. The food there is pretty horrid, and I lack a kitchen in which I can prepare anything. All I have access too is a microwave and a toaster, and to tell you truthfully I mostly bring canned soups/foods from home.

 

I think this blog would be more closely focused on putting my name out there rather than showing people they can also be like me, even though that would be a nice bonus if I could pull that off as well. I want people to understand that I am striving to become a professional chef, I would love it if I could become a big name in the world, it would take a long time and a lot of hard work, but I have determination. It may come a bit easier for me considering I do have the niche of being so young and passionate.

 

As for recipes, I think that could be a decently sized part of my blog, but it wouldn't be a weekly thing. I would focus more on sharing my experience of cooking.

"The School Boy Chef" is actually a great name for the blog, much better than the ideas I had, but I won't rush into it, because I think I'm going to think over about the title for a while, considering this is going to be my big project.

 

As for my cooking, I usually focus on making things for my family, I try cooking as wide of a menu as possible, I can't even give you a set theme of cooking that I do. When I'm home at the weekend, it's usually with my sister and her husband. Often, it turns out that one of them and I share the cooking of the meal (I do main course, they do dessert or something like that), but they're expecting a son in February, so I have a feeling I will need to focus on cooking myself, and making them something they will be able to eat during the week.

 

When I read your question about inspirations, it made me think. I've read a lot of cookbooks, watched a lot of TV shows, and acknowledged the vast amount of chefs there are, but I think I know the three that truly push me to that feeling of wanting to be a cook. The three chefs who inspire me would have to be Curtis Stone, Gordon Ramsey, and Madison Cowan. You probably think that Ramsey is an extremely generic choice, but I didn't choose him because of his the amounts of Michelin stars his restaurants have, it's because when I see him cook, it just makes me want to cook, I know that doesn't sound very clever, but I can't explain why he is such an inspiration for me, while many people think he's just an chef with an attitude. I chose Stone because his style of food has always interested me, I'm a big kid, not obese, but I like to eat, and eat good (not healthy, but yummy). I'm slowly starting to slim down, but that's because of the lack of food I eat in school, again, I mostly eat soups. But Stone's concept of tasty healthy food interests me, because that seems like a theme I could explore on in my life, growing up in a Russian family, I ate dishes that very delicious, but consisted mostly of meat, potatoes, cream. Foods that were very high in calories basically, but they tasted good so I loved them. When I do start creating my own recipes, I want to try to use healthy substitutes for things that usually aren't, but without taking any of the goodness away from the dish. Last but not even close to least we have Madison Cowan, ever since I saw the first "Chopped" show on food network with him, he inspired me, it wasn't like it took some time for me to like him, I loved the passion that he had for food, the background of his life was touching, and the fact that he survived from that and became a successful chef was incredible. All the food he cooked looked incredible, and it made me want to go to the kitchen to go make something as well.


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer View Post

Everything Koukouvagia said, with one additional thought: Boarding School Chef, to me, connotes being the chef at a boarding school; sort of the opposite of who you are.

 

As to creating recipes: Go for it. Take a basic recipe you have and ask yourself "what if." Try, based on your level of experience, to predict what the changes will do. Once you're confident doing that, start from scratch. Take, say, a chicken, and again ask yourself "what if." What if I roast it with a rub made of XYZ? What if I serve a fruit sauce with it? What if I flame it with brandy?

 

As your culinary knowledge increases you will find that you've replicated many established recipes, or nearly so. But so what? Cooking is a process of self-discovery and personal growth as well as formal learning.

 

The real idea is to have fun with it.

 

 


I agree with you on the Boarding School Chef thing, I noticed it a bit after writing this post, and it really does portray a chef working at a boarding school, rather than what I am.

You're idea of creating recipes is practically how I try to do it, but the problem with all of it is that I don't think I have enough technique yet for doing some of the things I would like to. Flaming a chicken with brandy- sounds delicious, but I have no idea how to, that's a problem I'm sure a lot of people face when they have no restaurant or cooking school experience.

 

I totally agree with the having fun with it part though, that's what I usually try to do. I never force cooking something, often, I just have a feeling that I want to make X or Y. I try to add my own twists, but sometimes when I make something technically hard, I just stick to the recipe.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete View Post

I think that it is great that you want to start a blog and I agree, you have a built in theme seeing as you are so young.  I spend a good amount of time exploring food blogs and I can't remember coming across any from a teenager.

 

Don't worry about not having enough recipes to post every day.  With my schedule sometimes I can post once a week, sometimes a couple of times a week and sometimes only once every 2 weeks.  It doesn't matter how often you blog as long as you are enjoying it (or want to try and make decent money off of it).

 

As for wanting to create your own dishes, give yourself time. Take recipes you've seen and just give them your own little twist.  Trying substituting out different herbs, change up the vegetables, start small so you get a feel for what works, what doesn't work and why.  Many bloggers often take inspiration from other blogs they have read and there is nothing wrong with that.  In fact there is nothing wrong with using another bloggers recipe as long as you change it up a bit and give credit for the recipe or idea.  I've even occasionally adapted recipes from other blogs for use in my blog.  If the end result is very similar to the original recipe I always give credit to the blogger and link back to their recipe (it gives them a little extra publicity also.  Just don't rely on that too often for content or people will quickly tire of your blog.  And whatever you do, don't steal people's recipes and/or pictures.  I know I probably don't have to say this to you, but you'd be surprised how often this happens and when you get caught your blog's reputation will be toast.

 

Finally, don't get discouraged if you have a small readership.  The first year of my blog I was lucky to get 20 hits a day.  Even now, after 2 1/2 years I only average around 150 hits a day.  That's small beans compared to some of the better known blogs which can get tens of thousands of hits per day.  Sure, I'd love to see that happen, but I'm very happy with my little corner of the internet and am excited by the small, but loyal following that I have.

 

The teenage chef bloggers aren't in fact very big, but there are some. I just looked it up, so I think I'm going to need to try to find something I have a knack for. I was thinking that it could be international cooking. What if I had something like "The Little Intercontinental Conoisseur", but maybe something catchier. I just want it to portray that I am a travelling cook. It's just a question of finding synonyms. It may seem a bit random but you'll understand in a second. So as you already know, I've been cooking since I was 4-5. But I've been travelling since earlier than that. Even as my mom was pregnant with me, I visited something like 6 countries while in the womb, but this wasn't an anomaly. My dad is a diplomat working for the UN, so I'm a very big traveler. At the age of 15 I have lived in 4 different countries, and visited over 25 (not including the ones my mom visited while pregnant). My parents always nag me that whenever we go to a new place, the only thing I strive to do is find a good restaurant where I can experience the countries cuisine, rather than look at fine art with them. But the countries food is my fine art, I strive to have culinary tourism, most of the other stuff doesn't interest me. I think this really could be my niche, my base would be that I am a young cook striving for greatness, but along the way, I travel to a wide array of countries. I have already started exploring the culinary traits of Britain (where my school is), I have a Russian background of cooking from my family, I lived in America for 10 years in total, and my parents live in Central Asia. I think this has potential. Do you guys?

 

The point about not stealing people's recipes is a good one, it's a big thing they teach to avoid in schools nowadays- plagiarism. I'll make sure I cite the source if I do use someones recipe as the main part of my dish. It's a good point though, because its true, people will discredit you if you steal recipes, not even from the fact that you're taking someone else's ideas, but just from the fact that you're not creative to create your own.

 

For me, even 20 hits a day would be impressive when starting off. I think if I do follow through with the theme, it could be successful. Hopefully this could have the potential for launching me to become a great chef. I'm still not 100% sure this will be my definite first career path, but cooking is 100% something I strive to do at some point in life.

 

Thanks for the replies guys,

 

Zoui21

post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoui21 View Post
I'd like this to be a full time project and I don't know what I would write about during the week when I'm at the school itself. The food there is pretty horrid, and I lack a kitchen in which I can prepare anything. All I have access too is a microwave and a toaster, and to tell you truthfully I mostly bring canned soups/foods from home....

 


Your blog could focus on the difference between school food and home cooked food.  The state of school food is a very large issue, one taken on by Jamie Oliver to great extent.  Not many people understand the importance of cooking good food at home.  You could write about a number of things, like what kind of food is being served at school, how you could make it better at home.  Most importantly you could focus your time on trying to eat better while at school.  What kind of supplies can you bring with you from home and how could you use a small fridge, a microwave and a toaster oven to come up with some yummy eats.  Or pick a food that you are served in the cafeteria that week, meatloaf, broccoli and mashed potatoes for example and then go home on the weekend and try to make a version of it that you would be excited to eat.  Well now I'm just being creative for you aren't I?  What can you come up with?

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply
post #7 of 8

One purpose of a blog---or any journal, for that matter---is to help define who you are and where you are going in life.

 

Keep that in mind, my Young Culinarian (there's a hint for you, btw), because you're making it sound less a voyage of discovery and more a rememberence of things past. Meanwhile, the discussions on this page have, seems to me, provided enough material for several blog entries.

 

Take the matter of technique. By your own admission you lack techniques knowledge. What's wrong with discussing that openly and honestly? The food at school sucks? No big news, there. What would you do to improve it?

 

While away at school, do you mentally make up menues or meal plans? Another good topic for an entry.

 

I think you get the point.

 

Now, a couple of general comments:

 

1. There are few places where you can learn just technique, other than culinary school. So, especailly at your age, you have to just plunge right in. Cookbooks, and TV cooking shows, and YouTube can all help. But eventually you learn it by doing it. No, you won't be fast, or initially ept. But so what? Good technique is a process of repitition; the more you do something the better at it you get. Then, one day, without quite realizing what happens, you're suddenly accomplished at that particular task.

 

2. When traveling, restaurants are all well and good. But you want to visit the markets as well. That's where you really learn what people eat. Hit the farmers markets, and souks, and fisherman's piers. BTW, guided culinary travel is, I believe, one of the coming things. You're well situated to take advantage of that trend; a way to combine both your interests in a career.

 

3. I used flambe just as an example. Don't burn the house down. biggrin.gif

 

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
Reply
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
Reply
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

OK, so sorry for blanking out for a while. But I was just travelling back from the US to the UK in the last couple of days, and hanging out with my family.

 

Basically I think I got the name: Soups&Socks

 

Its a pretty long story and could be a good story for one of the fist posts.

 

It's catchy and makes the reader want to know more.

 

By the way, what do you guys recommend? I'm thinking of making my own website and having bluehost host it, so it's truly mine. But tell you the truth, I have no idea where I can find good cooking blog themes.

 

 

PS. Had Russian Christmas while I was away, and got a couple of pretty sweet gifts- a cake decorating set (incl. pastry bags, bunch of tips, and instructions as well), but the two coolest gifts were two cookbooks- "Heston Blumenthal at home" and also, the great "Larousse Gastronomique" (it's incredibly awesome). I plan on just reading through them, all 1200 pages of the Gastronomique :D

 

PPS. What do you guys think should be the theme of the blog? Modern? Country? etc. I was thinking modern but I don't know how well that would merge with the name

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