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The chef who wields the pen

A Prominent food columnist, Bron Lancaster speaks to GoDubai about how she blends cooking with writing. "After all,"she says, "food is the one common denominator between races. We all need it, have plenty to say about it and it's not political."

Read on to discover the pluses of writing a food column, Bron's favourite summer recipe and how she rates the eating scene in Dubai.

Contact Bron
for expert comments on food

About me:

I am definitely more creative than I am academic. I love writing, drawing, cooking, photography - in fact anything that involves using my creative mind. I like challenges and have a very inquisitive mind, a plus when you are a writer.

Why cooking:

I guess I was indoctrinated into cooking while still a small child. My parents had a hotel and before that I spent a lot of time with my grandmother who just loved cooking. As a creative person, I find cooking involves the use of almost all of our senses, and one tends to get very involved with what you are cooking. All aspects are important - taste, aroma, texture and of course presentation. I love to give people nice tasting food. After all food is the one common denominator between races, we all need it, have plenty to say about it and it's not political - though many arguments have been lost over whose cuisine is the best. I love it.

What I enjoy cooking the most:

I do enjoy experimenting with other cuisines I just love to learn about other peoples food whether it be Asian or Mexican, whatever it is its so interesting. I think I enjoy cooking French food the best. Auguste Escoffier was a marvellous chef and I learned to cook his way at college, so it stays with you.

The transition from cooking to Writing:

Even at catering college I used to write. If ever anyone needed something writing I was the one who would get the job. My transition from food to writing was quite a simple one. I love writing and, they say write about what you know - I knew about food so I started writing about it. I do write about other things but there is so much to say about food that you never run out of material.

The pluses of being a food writer:

I guess, being in at the beginning. Often one gets invited to food launches and promotions so you get to try out things first. You get to meet a lot of interesting people, especially chefs who are the ones to adventure into the unknown. Their innovative ideas never cease to surprise me.

The downside of writing a food column:

I can't think of too many negative things right now, but I suppose the worst thing is the effects on my waistline if you are not too careful.

A Memorable Meal in Dubai:

My friend Monika's Salmon Mousse. It's divine.

Any notable culinary trends here:

Formal is out, relaxed light and healthy food is the order of the day at the moment. Japanese food is gaining in popularity while Italian is a leader. Being an Arabic country, I think that Mediterranean cuisine is definitely in.

What makes a satisfying meal:

I think a meal, which fulfils your expectations. A meal which fits the menu description - if the menu says basil then lets taste basil.

Foods to be avoided in summer:

I think we need to look at a light diet, fish, salads, non-fried and fibre rich foods. Heavy meals play havoc with the digestion and we need to keep energy levels up during the summer. During the hot weather food should be either kept chilled or hot nothing in between. Watch out for food that has been lying around for a long time.

Favourite summer recipe:

One of my favourite dishes during the summer believe it or not is hot fruit salad. It is cooked but you can serve it chilled with creme fraiche it's delicious. I make it with plums, peaches, apples, pears, and blackberries, redcurrants if you can get them. You just gently simmer together the fruits in a little mineral water starting with the pears, apples and plums, after about 5 minutes add the peaches, blackberries and redcurrants. Simmer for another 5-7 minutes and take off the heat. You can serve this as a dinner party dessert with creme anglais. You can eat it for breakfast with musli or chilled with creme fraiche for a summer evening dessert.

On a scale of 0-10 the eating scene in Dubai:

I think one has to say 8 if not 9. Dubai's food is of extremely high quality; it's innovative and well presented. Value for money; it is good.

What makes Dubai tick:

It's pot pourri of people. The wealth of nationalities makes Dubai an intriguing place to live. Everyone has so much to exchange especially when it comes to food.

My last words:

The climb to the top is important, but it's staying there that counts. Only the best restaurants will survive. Dubai's restaurateurs are a dedicated bunch let them know your comments, they like feedback whether it is good or bad.

Contact Bron

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