We spent an unusually warm January day with an unadulterated enthusiast for cuisine, food and wood-fired oven cooking.
Cornelius Veakins, South-African by birth, French for some time and English by adoption, made his own passion a real job. He defines himself as an “outdoor cooking expert” and his own mission is to prove that everyone can be “an outdoor chef”.
He came to us early in the morning and after a few jokes and a strictly Italian espresso coffee, we turned on theprofessional oven and put our hands in the dough!
The occasion for a cultural exchange of UK recipes and ideas with Italian ones, thanks also to the participation of our pizza-chef Giuseppe.
We prepared together typical dishes of the two cuisines, from baked pasta to his salmon grilled on a cedar plank or the “dirty vegetables” as he called them, that is veggies cooked right on the hot coals.
And right in front of the burning flames of, the professional oven, Cornelius told us his story…….
Many years ago, during his Parisian stay, he realised that food is not just for human survival but it can become a magic that brings together hearts and people and with simplicity and excellent raw materials may produce wonderful dishes.
Tired of his drab and monotonous office job, he decided to resign and devote all his time to research and specialisation in cooking in “alternative” kitchens and, mixing business with pleasure, he found some companies to establish a partnership and to endorse their products.
It was definitely a wonderful day and we learned once again that there isn’t only one way of cooking but there are as many ways to use the wood-fired oven as there are countries in the world.
Thank you very much Cornelius, we will see you again very soon!