Rachel Muse is a chef from Salisbury who has recently started a
pop-up restaurant in the city called Talk Eat Laugh. She first turned to food
after graduating with a degree in maths and finding no jobs on offer.
Here she explains more about her passion for food.
As anyone who has found their passion will tell you, their passion creates an emotional response. Each individual’s passion is a source of both calm and comfort to them. Their passion will also excite and stimulate them. A passion can do many things, but never bore.
For me my passion is food and my overriding emotional response to food, is joy. But more than this, I can make food that brings joy to other people. Not only does food nourish our bodies it help connect us to each other and to the world we live in.
The food we eat connects us to the earth and nature in all its magnificent forms. The things on our plate were once nature.
Food also connects us to each other as we gather around a table to eat. When we sit together for a meal, we are not only filling our bellies and nourishing our bodies we are sharing our stories and our ideas. We talk about our hopes and plans. We make each other laugh. We discuss our frustrations, listen to others and support them in their dilemmas.
I have been very fortunate to be able to turn my passion into my profession. As a chef I don’t spend enough time sitting down to eat. Which is one of the many reasons I started a pop-up restaurant. At the pop up evenings people interested in food come together and chat to new people. It is a source of huge joy that I too get to sit down with everyone at the pop-up and enjoy their company as we are all enjoying the food.
As all cooks know each meal starts with planning and shopping. When I shop for food, as I squeeze and smell each item to see it if is at the ripe, fresh and of the best quality, a new spark of interest shoots through me. Each time I go somewhere new I can’t keep away from the spice markets, the street markets, the vineyards and the supermarkets.
It isn’t just the buying of food that stimulates the senses. Food is a particular type of passion since it brings together all the senses. As it is eaten it all combines into a glorious visual, textural, aroma and as you experience the taste you hear the crunch or the slurp of it.
If there needs to be further proof of my enduring love of food, my ‘in a coma’ instructions are these... All my close friends know that if I were to be in a coma and hooked up to a machine, there is a simple test to see if the machines should get turned off.
If the smell of fresh, hot garlic mushroom pizza (made by an actual Italian) doesn’t at least cause my heart monitor to spike, I have given my friends permission to turn the machines off.
If I do get ‘turned off’ then the instructions continue... Don’t let the pizza go to cold, eat it over my dead body, knowing that ‘this is what she would have wanted’.
Below Rachel shares a popular recipe she often prepares for one of her clients, an England footballer.
Shortbread or crumble topping
300g plain flour
200g salted butter
100g granulated sugar
Butter should be out of the fridge for five minutes. Cut the butter into squares. Rub it into the sugar and flour.
If you are making a crumble, spread mixture over stewed fruit, making sure it entirely covers the fruit in an even layer. Cook it in the oven at 180 degrees for 30 minutes or until it smells delicious.
For shortbread it’s the same ingredients but once the butter has been rubbed in, squeeze the mixture together and the warmth of your hands will make the mix start to come together so you can form it into a long sausage shape...
Once in a sausage shape, wrap in cling film and place in fridge for half an hour. Unwrap it before cutting it into little discs. Place onto greaseproof paper at 180 degrees centigrade for 12 to 15 minutes until they start to brown at the edges and smell ready to eat. Society 31