To me, the term artisan is more than just a word to describe the process of food being put on a plate for you to enjoy. It has a deep rooted meaning and for me means, at a ripe young age, having my granny push me up to the kitchen counter to assist in her daily food creations. Looking back, it may not have been the best thing for me to have my face so close to a pot of oil, ready for fresh made donut batter, but as granny would always throw caution into the wind so have I with how I’ve grown to develop my own “mad” kitchen style. There are no rules and recipes don’t exist. What you have on hand is what you have and if that means altering a dish 50 times ‘cause you’re short an ingredient or two then so be it. I hope you’re starting to get an understanding for where my passion was rooted - in granny’s kitchen. Back then we had a little family farm with pigs, cows, chickens, goats and of course vegetables. I remember pulling those sweet carrots out of the ground to snack on mid hide-and-seek with my sisters and cousins. I never really questioned food back then, I knew if you wanted eggs you would just go to the coop and grab some or if you wanted mashed potatoes for dinner you’d have to get your hands dirty.
So where does “artisan” fit in? It fits in between the necessity to make and eat real food and use the natural tools you were given to create those meals. Your hands! In order to understand food you need to develop a relationship with the ingredients, you need to know the smells, textures and colours of these foods and be able to piece them together like a puzzle. Food is a word that doesn’t give enough meaning to the importance of these nourishing substances. Food brings people together, food comforts and food consoles the heart, mind and body. Having a relationship with food means being able to utilize the many different cooking techniques needed to reach the many different results. Have you ever imagined boiling a roast for dinner? Of course not! That would be absurd! You need to respect your roast and treat it properly, and it will give you a moist and tender meal with deep brown sauce to cover your potatoes and dip your bread. Cooking has many different layers -your energy and passion are reflected in your piece. Artisan means having that passion, acceptance and reliance on the beautiful tidings that nature has to offer. Artisan means picking your own blueberries, to bring to your granny’s kitchen, rolling out pastry to make blueberry pie for dessert, then carrying it home for your family to enjoy! I dedicate my passion, my patience and my love of food to my granny who thought you were never too young to stand at the stove and create.
This is in memory of Elizabeth Hazel Cross. You will always be remembered, respected, admired, adored and your memory will always live through each dish that passes through my kitchen.
-Chef Tanya Cross
Tanya is a whole foods chef and business owner of a whole foods catering service - Artisan Food Co. She is currently completing holistic nutrition and is an advocate for whole body living.