The Secret Ingredient

This touching post, the latest submission to our Apron Strings contest , comes from Wendy Baskerville, a classically trained chef who has her father to thank for an inspired career in food. Wonder what made his food so tasty, read on….Be sure to check out the rest of the Apron Strings contest submissions and rate them. The lucky winners will receive gift certificates to shop at Fiesta Farms.

From the time when I was very young I can remember my father loving to cook. He loved to mess in the kitchen. I am often asked what inspred me to be a chef. I grew up in a family where food and the table took a major role. My mother grew up on a farm and had multiple siblings. My Grandmother was legendary s a cook. But my Dad was the real inspiration. From a fairly early age my sisters and I loved whatever Dad would come up with.

His scrambled eggs were awesome. Once after a trip to the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival, he made us pancakes flavoured with Grape soda. Never knew what the inspiration was but they were good. My best memory is of Dad at the BBQ. He was at his very best with some sort of meat in front of him. He was not a Dad whose only efforts were burgers and dogs. He was bold, steaks, whole Prime Rib roasts, chicken, he was fearless.

My favourite remembrance is of a Prime Rib he used to do. I can still see him in the kitchen making the marinade. It involved soy sauce, brown sugar, lots of garlic, possibly a little cigar ash, and what seemed like a whole bottle of whiskey. He would get that all set up and shove it in the fridge to sit for days. Then there would be an entire afternoon of cooking it in a closed BBQ with the smoke sending the whole neighbourhood wild with the smell. I don’t think he knew he was doing the whole “low and slow” thing but he was a forerunner of the fad for sure. That Prime Rib melted in your mouth.

I can still conjure up the flavours in my memory. I’m a chef now and I have spent more than a few hours trying to come up with that flavour. There’ve been some very tasty tries bit I have never duplicated that actual flavour and he doesn’t quite remember what’s missing. maybe it’s the cigar ash.

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