I am the longtime editor in chief of Food & Wine magazine. While on the job, I've learned a ton about food by eating in amazing restaurants with delightful frequency, tasting recipes in our test kitchen daily and talking to chefs as often as possible. As an editor, moderator of panels, host of cooking demos, I've squeezed chefs' secrets from them (culinary and otherwise). Even with all that exposure to the greatest cooks in the world, I'm still challenged in the kitchen.
Descended from a long line of non-cooks who preferred hosting to actually preparing a meal, I come about my intermittent incompetence genetically. Like my mother, I love to entertain, set a table, throw a theme party. Burning, overcooking, undercooking, oversalting a dish has never been a deterrent. And, to be fair, there are plenty of simple things that I make pretty well. All my guests leave well fed.
But a few years ago, I got sick of making mistakes and realized I had a unique opportunity to improve my skills. Because I'm friends with so many of America's best chefs, I could enlist them to be my teachers. Better yet, I could communicate what I learned with all the frustrated or discouraged cooks out there who, like me, wanted to go from good enough to great, who wanted to try a recipe knowing that there was no way to screw it up. The result is 100 fool-proof recipes in my first ever cookbook, "Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen." Through the process of writing this book, I've come to recognize the power of acknowledging mistakes. By ignoring mistakes, you eliminate the possibility of excellence.
I'm excited to share my new-found knowledge with you through my book and here on this website, a safe space where you can raise your hand and say "me too!" without shame, a place for you to share your biggest kitchen mistake or help someone else solve theirs. Join me. Comment, share, and tweet @kitchenmistakes.
- Dana Cowin