Q: How did you get involved in cooking to begin with? Was it something you learned to love early on or did you come to it later?
A: I come from a family of women who love to cook and who cook really well. Family functions have always involved menu-planning, recipe creating, and hours of cooking together. Though, cooking was the norm in our home, I didn’t realize my own passion until high school; I began taking an off-campus cooking course and was asked by a family member to cater his company holiday party. It was that point in which I was given a chance, that I realized my love of cooking.
After the party, I continued to experiment, pour through cookbooks, and was eventually introduced to The Food Network and internet. I continued to try new recipes and create my own, which allowed me to hone my skills. I also found people who were willing to take a risk on me by allowing me cater different parties and events.
It was September 2009 that I began my blog (JensGonePaleo.com) and really found a love for creating and sharing my food with others. I have grown to love not only the cooking and creating aspect, but the health, wellness, and nourishment that quality food provides.
Q: Why is eating grass-fed meat and sustainably-caught fish different? How does it affect your cooking?
A: Grass-fed meat tastes like what I think meat should taste like, clean and natural. It affects my cooking in that I can be as simple or creative as I feel, knowing that when it comes down to it, the only thing I really need is a little fat and sea salt.
Q: Is it just about health? Or is there more to it than that?
A: I stopped eating meat at the age of ten and just recently (two years ago) made the decision to do so, again, after discovering many food-related allergies and issues. I believe that our food choices are integral to our overall wellness and that these food choices should be as clean and as unprocessed as possible. I feel better knowing that the animals I am choosing to eat have been raised in a way in which they were designed to eat and which limits their likelihood of disease and infection.
Q: How did you learn about grass-fed meat?
A: I had qualms about reintroducing meat into my diet, but knew that my body needed it. I learned about grass-fed meat, and the positive impact of such, while reading Robb Wolf’s, “The Paleo Solution”. This introduction helped me to feel better about my decision and literally changed my life.
Q: Why is it so important to have the right ingredients?
A: Having “the right ingredients” allows you to create beautifully presented, flavorful dishes with limited preparation time.
Q: What are the most important keys to success for the home chef?
A: Be Prepared — I find that choosing a shopping day and then prepping (i.e. cleaning, slicing, dicing, etc.) my food for the week helps me to be better prepared when meal-time rolls around, midweek.
Use Your Resources- There are so many videos, shows, books, and online resources available to help home cooks refine their skills and gain confidence in the kitchen — take advantage of them.
Q: What are your best tips for home cooking?
A: A good tip I learned, from Ina Garten (“The Barefoot Contessa”), was to have a handful of basic recipes that you do really well, and which can be modified to switch things up a bit, and always use the freshest, highest-quality ingredients available.
- My tips would be to:
- invest in a really good, sharp knife; it’ll make food prep more enjoyable.
- practice, and perfect a few easy recipes, before you begin to venture out too much; as with most new endeavors, confidence and success seems to make things more fun. Experiment and don’t be afraid to mess up.
- find someone else to clean up after you; it’ll make cooking way more fun.
Q: What is your favorite recipe using grass-fed meat?
A: Mini Steak Medallions w/Crispy Shallots and Rosemary-Balsamic Reduction. I created this recipe as an appetizer, but could easily be used as a Main Course.