“Whether it be a movie about a rat who pursues his dream to become a chef (Ratatouille), or a quixotic idea to change my relationship with food, or just a desire at the age of 60 to inject some passion into my life, I was ready for an adventure.”
So writes Bob Foulkes of Vancouver in his book Adventures with Knives. Surviving 1000 hours in Culinary School (French Apple Press). Also available through Chapters.
I recently reconnected with Bob, a former colleague and true pal, only to discover that he’s fully embraced an adventurous life and published a couple of books about what he’s been up to since our paths last crossed some 13 years ago. This month we exchanged books. My Tide Cracks and Sastrugi for his first book Adventures with Knives and my Finding Dermot for his Off The Couch and Out The Door. Bob has become the consummate adventurer and he talks about his journey in a very easy and thoroughly engaging style. He’s a pro writer from a similar career to myself.
Knives is difficult to lay aside for such mundane things as shaving or eating lunch. It goes really well though with coffee and leads the reader into the inner world of chefdom, the training, the discipline and the amazing advantages of cooking from scratch. I learned about French cooking, presentation and style. All the while there’s the ever present dangers of contamination and yes, what about those knives. “We are five-thumbed, knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing incompetents when we try to duplication his (chef’s) demonstration. I am paying sizeable chunks of money to be told how to cut a carrot to look like a little football… but I’m determined. The knife isn’t the problem.”
For several evenings after supper Lois and I would have Bob readings and laughed aloud as we worked through his 1000 hours of culinary school.
Knives is an fun read of a man’s adventure into the world of a student in a place we all know — the kitchen.