Private chef challenges reality show concept

My Home Chef owner-operator Rita Yosef says popular cooking shows such as MasterChef and My Kitchen Rules can have a ...
JOSEPH JOHNSON/FAIRFAX NZ

My Home Chef owner-operator Rita Yosef says popular cooking shows such as MasterChef and My Kitchen Rules can have a negative effect on kitchen confidence.

A personal chef wants to empower Kiwis in the kitchen by helping them to get back to the basics.

My Home Chef owner-operator Rita Yosef is an advocate of the international Slow Food movement, which is about good, clean and fair food. 

Through her personal chef, cooking school and catering business, the Christchurch woman is working to make cooking more accessible by breaking down the cooking process and encouraging people to source local ingredients.

"I always loved to watch my grandmother and my parents cook. I was always in the kitchen and with the nice smells. I would taste and enquire and lick the bowls when they finished baking," Yosef said.

In October, Yosef will launch a new range of cooking classes to the public from her certified kitchen in Burnside.

"I enjoy meeting people and feeding people. I think that's the Jewish part in me."

Yosef, who is Russian-born with Jewish parents and married into an Israeli family, moved to New Zealand 12 years ago. Before turning her hand to chef work, she ran a business setting up baby bedrooms in Israel.

Yosefwas studying Food Preparation and Cooking at the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology when she discovered a passion for private chef work.

A woman recovering from breast cancer and who Yosef was a personal chef for, encouraged her to go independent and the mother-of-two opened her business in 2009.

Now operating in a time when reality cooking shows, including MasterChef and My Kitchen Rules are all over prime time television, Yosef said these could have a negative effect on "kitchen confidence".

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"What you see on television is not actually the healthy cooking and home cooked meals for the family. I want to encourage them to investigate new flavours and spices and cook really nice, healthy food for the family – not just the posh things you see on tv or the fast food things you can buy in the shop."

Yosef wanted to encourage people to eat local ingredients and by the season to help keep costs down.

"When you know the basic things then you can go forward and move on to more complicated recipes and play around afterwards.

"You need to slow down in the kitchen because it's not a cooking show. It's not about the competition but about making a nice meal for your self or family in a reasonable time."

Yosef specialises in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Eastern European and traditional Jewish dishes and enjoyed catering to Paleo, dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, organic and/or vegetarian diets. 

* My Home Chef's new range of cooking classes will launch in October. To make a booking, call (03) 359 6444.

 - The Press

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