February 16, 2015
A Passion for Cooking
Entry written by Jim Durkee, Battle for Bocuse Finalist
My mother’s ancestors were from Castleforte, Italy, and in true Italian fashion, my Grandma Ferro’s kitchen was always the center of the action. I remember my cousins and me getting underfoot in the kitchen and getting yelled at in a way only an Italian grandmother can yell.
I knew even back then that I wanted to cook. My grandma is where my passion for cooking comes from. She was—and still is—a huge part of my motivation. She taught me about the hard work and everyday grit the career requires, unlike what some of the popular reality cooking shows portray.
She taught me to cook simply, with pure ingredients and a desire to do the very best I can. Her inspiration can be seen in all of my cooking, and when it comes to soup that’s no different. I believe in using the freshest ingredients and taking the necessary time to create something the correct way. Perfectly seasoned stock is where soup starts, and my preference is Minor’s Chicken Base. Another important step is the use of trusted recipes—my portabella mushroom soup, for instance, requires chargrilling the mushrooms to bring out the natural woodsy and nutty flavor that makes for a memorable soup.
Simply stated, a well-executed soup made with fresh ingredients provides a simple pleasure that taps into our roots and takes us to a place where we feel at home.