About The Campsite Chef
I am a restaurant veteran of 25 yrs., who has held every position from dishwasher to multi-store management. I gave up food service and the confinement of the restaurant atmosphere in order to spend more time enjoying life. But I began to miss what attracted me to the industry as a 15yr old boy: the creation of food from raw ingredients. This site is a culmination of recreating restaurant style food using fewer ingredients, limited resources, and sometimes even primitive methods.
My wife and I decided to sell our home and set out for a lifestyle of full-time travel. However, cooking in a 36’ motor coach creates a challenge for someone who is used to professional kitchen space. Dedicated prep tables, sprawling countertops and multiple burners are not an option when your entire living space is squeezed into a few hundred square feet. So, one of the things that makes this site unique is that I will be recreating traditional dishes, but without the ability to spread out across a large work area. I will be taking advantage of one of the best parts of the full-time camping lifestyle: the great outdoors.
Along with limited cooking space comes limited cooking tools. The hardest thing about moving out of my sticks and bricks home was purging all of the kitchen “toys” that I had accumulated over the span of my career. For example: I traded in a professional grade Kitchen Aid mixer with thousands of dollars in attachments for a “stick” blender, a whisk and a couple of stainless mixing bowls. But the one thing that stayed with me was my knife roll and forged steel blades. A good chef’s knife and the know-how to use it can rival most of today’s modern equipment. Food prep may take longer and possibly look a bit less artistic, but my knives are the most valued possessions in my cooking arsenal.
Since leaving “the business”, I have gotten used to not having walk-in cooler storage but cutting my residential refrigeration space in half was quite a challenge. I am no longer able to dedicate entire shelves to multiple jars of pickles, olives and other seldom used condiments. The time of putting off refrigerator clean out until I had to “find the mystery smell” is over. Now, every inch of space matters and what goes in must come out in a rotation that makes sure that all of my ingredients are fresh and well planned. This also, keeps portion sizes down because storing leftovers limits valuable space.
One trade off for limited space inside our “bus” is having UN-limited space outside to work with. Nothing makes me happier than the smoky flavor that smoldering coals of wood leaves on food, but rarely do you get to light a campfire in your home kitchen. So, I will be taking advantage of the opportunity to use open flames, natural cooking fuels, and getting back to the cooking methods that our ancestors used before modern technology took all the fun out of it.
Today’s grocery stores are stocked with ready to eat foods that are full of preservatives and added scientific ingredients to keep it more crisp, colorful and hold shape longer that God intended for it to. But I am a naturalist when it comes to food and firm believer that many of our health problems stem from our modernized diet. I am excited to be close to the outdoors because it will give me an opportunity to obtain fresh raw ingredients that can be found in their natural habitat.
Food is not only required for survival, but it is also a reason for fellowship and celebration. Families today rarely spend time around the dinner table due to the daunting tasks of shopping, prepping, cooking and cleaning up after a freshly cooked meal. The main goal of The Campsite Chef is to bring people together using food in its most basic form. I want to get people back to the roots of cooking by recreating recipes in a natural environment using the fewest ingredients and tools.