What’s one tip for those who may be intimidated by cooking? How can they gain confidence in cooking for their family?
One tip for those intimidated by cooking would be, don’t be afraid to experiment with different vegetables and proteins. Set your mind on making a dish and follow through. Most likely, the result will at least teach you how some ingredients go together or not. Also, invest in a good saute pan and a good stock pot. These two tools are invaluable to family cooking.
To gain confidence in your cooking, a couple of good basic cookbooks are great as references. I would recommend La Technique by Jacques Pepin and The Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer.
As a chef, food is part of your everyday life, how can something as simple as cooking dinner help bring the family together?
I believe that cooking dinner and gathering the family around the table opens up channels that can be lost in the hustle of day to day life. It allows time for catching up with family, and really helps people to connect with each other in the most basic, human way.
What’s one skill to master that can help parents with everyday cooking?
One skill to master that can help a parent with everyday cooking is to how to cook a perfect fried egg. This fundamental skill may seem simple, but it teaches you a lot about patience, attention to detail and how heat, fat and a protein all interact together in cooking. I believe that it has a lot of other side benefits that you learn while mastering this skill.
Have you seen or heard of more fathers taking over or contributing to daily cooking duties at home? If so, what do you think may be leading to this change?
I don’t know any fathers that are taking over the majority of cooking duties at home. Other than a few chefs that I know with kids. I do think that overall, American culture is starting to really starting to embrace the fact that dads can cook more than just burgers on a grill on the weekends.
As a father and Executive Chef at a very successful restaurant, how do you balance time with your family and your work?
This is a hard one. I spend so much time at work, and now that my wife is working as well, it has been difficult balancing my home and work time. When I do have time with my son, I try to maximize our time together. We read a lot, cook together (he helps with pulling out utensils and such) and play with toys. My wife and I have worked out a schedule that maximizes our family time while not hindering any work duties.
Kyo Koo, Bluehour Executive Chef is a Portland native who developed his love for cooking at a very early age. His primary influences range from the cuisines of his mother’s Korean home-cooking to ingredient-driven modern American cooking. Koo has worked at renown restaurants including Rockenwagner in Los Angeles, Scooter Kanfer in West Hollywood, Mona’s Bistro in Seattle, even Magaritz in Spain before returning to Portland. Koo and his wife have one son.