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Name: Derek Bocking

Blog name and URL:  Derek’s Kitchen  www.derekskitchen.blogspot.com

Where were you born?  Montreal

Where are you living now?  Montreal

Why did you start your blog?  To share the recipes I make at the restaurant with home cooks.

How did you decide on your blog name?  I thought of a bunch of really cheesy names at first, like “ridiculously tasty,”  but even the most terrible or banal names that I could think of where all taken already. I figured I’d reduce the chances of the blog name already being taken by including my own name in the title. That’s how I settled on “Derek’s Kitchen.” It’s simple and to the point.

What do you blog about?  All my posts are recipe, mostly dishes I’ve done in restaurants. I try to keep things simple and not too intimidating to a novice cook, but I also like to challenge my readers to try something that might be outside their comfort zone. I put a big emphasis on making everything from scratch, using local ingredients, just like I do at the restaurant.

What post are you most proud of and why?  I’m fond of my post for homemade smoked salmon. It pretty well represents the ethos of my blog because it’s a recipe for something that most people only ever eat at restaurants or from a pre-made package at a grocery store, but is actually easy to make at home. I have a few recipes like this on the blog, like homemade ketchup, mayonnaise and bbq sauce.

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Which post do you wish received more love and why?  I did a recipe once for pork tenderloin with spinach, butternut squash and hazelnuts that kinda flew under the radar. I was disappointed it didn’t get more hits because it’s one of those recipes that uses just a few ingredients that are easy to source locally, yet it really delivers on flavor and texture. And it looks cool too.

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Which post’s success surprised you and why?  That would be my recipe for Pommes Fondant. It’s a recipe for potatoes cooked in chicken stock and butter that is super rich and delicious. They’re even easier to make than mashed potatoes and so much better.  I love resurrecting forgotten, old-school recipes . I originally intended for it to just be one element in a larger recipe, but decided that the technique was involved enough to merit its own post.

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What’s funny is that it took off right away, and then I soon realized that one of the reasons for its success was a grammar error! I left off the “es” at the end of “fondantes” as it should in French.   By the time I noticed the error, I was already getting tons of hits from people making the exact same mistake when googling the recipe, so I decided to just leave it.

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What is one (non-kitchen) gadget you can’t live without?  I don’t know of it counts as a “gadget,” but my electric piano is pretty important to me. I’m not a very good player, but I find it extremely relaxing sitting at the piano.

What is one kitchen gadget you can’t live without?  Sous-vide machine. At the restaurant the sous-vide machine is a life-saver. You can precisely pre-cook almost anything in a water bath and then store it in the same bag that you cooked it in. Sous vide cooking give you amazing results and vacuum sealing the food keeps everything super fresh. I have vacuum sealer at home, but I often just use ziplock bags to do “sous-vide” cooking at home.

Favourite food, care to share a recipe?  I love lobster rolls. Perfect example of a simple dish that is just delicious. I use some homemade mayo or ranch dressing and fresh cucumbers & dill. For the bun, I take cheap white-bread hotdog buns and fry them in butter.

What else should we know about you that may or not be in your “About Me” page?  I got a bachelors degree in English Literature with a minor in Philosophy at Concordia University. I don’t exactly use it every day in my job as a chef, but at least in writing the blog I feel I kind of putting the degree to use. More importantly, I loved learning about literature & philosophy, so the experience itself was worth getting the degree.

What makes your blog unique?  There’s no shortage of food blogs out there that offer “quick & easy” recipes. While I do like to keep things simple and a lot of the recipes I do are pretty easy to follow, I’m not afraid to post recipe that are a bit more involved. What important to me is that I can show people how fun cooking can be, especially if you challenge yourself a bit.

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