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    Bruce Benjamin

    Member since Nov 2006

    Chef #383557

    From Redding, California

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    About Me

    I am a dad with an 10yo boy and 13yo daughter. I've been married to their mother for nearly 22 years. My kids are my life and both are really great. Growing up, my mom was a great cook but she didn't do too many things that I would call adventuresome. But what she did cook was usually well seasoned and full of lots of flavor. She is also a master of making great soups out of just about anything. I seem to have inherited her abilities to make foods full of flavor and make great soups. That's the basis for my tastes. Bland food is pretty much useless except to keep you alive.

    I taught myself to cook while in the Coast Guard when I was was about 18 or 19. I was always stationed at tiny stations and lived off-base. I bought a Chinese cookbook and along with a Betty Crocker cookbook my mom gave me I figured it out.

    I got better and better and eventually went to work in restaurants. I've done everything from prep cook and line cook to head chef, assistant manager and manager. I did this for about 10 years but finally got out of that about 12 years ago. I love to cook but the pay is just too low for the amount of work it takes.

    Since then I've done a little catering from time to time but mostly I just cook at home for my family and friends. I've cooked nearly every cuisine in the world and have a large collection of cookbooks. I try to make foods as authentic as I can but I'm not a snob about it. If it tastes good, what difference does it make if it's exactly the way it's, "Supposed to be"?

    Unless I'm baking I will rarely follow a recipe to the letter. I prefer to use them as guidelines most of the time. However, if it's a particularly complicated and unique food, like some Thai curries, I will try to get it close. At least until I get a feel for the cuisine and the dish I'm making. I also try to educate myself in that particular food by going to restaurants that serve it.

    For me, sometimes cooking is art. It's one of my few creative outlets. Other than knowing how to raise amazing children, it's what I do best.

    Favorite Foods

    Anything with lots of flavor. Thai, Chinese, Mexican, American BBQ, and Italian rank at the top. But good ol' "Mom food" (My mom) is also hard to beat. Garlic-roast pork, mashed potatoes, rich pork gravy, and green beans will keep me pretty happy. Substitute my mom's oven fried chicken for the pork and I'm equally happy.

    Even with all of my experience cooking exotic cuisines, I've made the most people happy at my parties with my BBQ and my pizza. I've done plenty of other feasts serving everything from 6 or 8 course Thai dinners, or a Cajun/Creole feast, to 8 or 10 different kinds of hand made dim sum. But what most friends and family seem to like the best and request the most is BBQ or pizza. I gotta give 'em what they want!

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