PLATELIST: The Breslin's April Bloomfield

"Not for awhile, for a long time actually," she said. "I wasn't the most confident of cooks, but I just persevered and I wanted to learn and I wanted to be a sponge and I wanted to be better than the next person and I wanted to learn as much as I could, so I just kept pushing, and it took me a long time actually to be confident in my technique and my ability as a cook."

Memories of Grandma's Roast

Bloomfield said her first memory of food was her grandmother's cooking.

"You know she used to cook the most fantastic roast dinners, and I just remember the crispy roast potatoes and the creamy mash and the peppered onion sauce," Bloomfield said. "You know whatever it was and you could smell it, and all the windows would be steamy on Sunday afternoon, with her kind of slaving away at the hot stove. And we would [be outside] playing, and come in, and it would be all humid and smell really good."

Her mother wasn't necessarily a model in the kitchen, Bloomfield said, but there were other lessons to be learned.

"You know my mom wasn't so much such a great cook," she said. "But I don't know, I think I have a very strong mother, and it's funny, because both of my sisters -- I have two sisters, and I'm the baby, but they all work hard. I'm not sure where I get it from and I'm not sure where they get it from, but they must get it from somewhere. ...I like to work. It's fun to work. It's what I do."

As she worked her way up, Bloomfield began to develop her repertoire, improving her sense of flavor and taste. It was 10 years before she had a real breakthrough, though, she said.

"The turning point for me was working at the River Café, and I hadn't really tasted -- I'd been cooking 10 years at that time -- and I hadn't really tasted food that vibrant and fresh. It was kinda like someone hit [you] on the head with a pan ... and I was like, 'What have I been doing for the past 10 years?'"

It's now been six years that Bloomfield has called the United States home. As she tells it, the transition has amounted to constant work with doses of high (and low) comedy.

"I was ready to move," she said. "But it was difficult for me because people couldn't understand what I saying, for one. I probably had, obviously had a thicker accent than I have now. So you'd call up suppliers and they'd be like, 'Where are you from?' and I'd say, 'The Spotted Pig?' and they'd be like, 'No I don't know that.'

"And then my American sous chef would call up and be like 'The Spotted Pig' -- and put on this faux cockney accent. And I'd be like, 'How did they understand you?' ... It's difficult sometimes with the cuts of meat, and sometimes the fish quality or the meat quality might be different from back in England, or the cuts are just completely different."

Bloomfield dismisses the old saw about fine British cuisine being a contradiction in terms.

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