Meet our member of the month, T.J. Thering,
the talented blogger behind All Food Considered.
What was your original motivation for your blog? What keeps you motivated?
“Like most people, I started the blog both as a way to organize my recipes online rather than on random pieces of paper, as well as to keep friends and family updated on what’s been happening in my kitchen. After slowly growing my portfolio, redesigning the site a few times, adding culinary lessons and other non-recipe posts, and upgrading to a DSLR camera, the blog has come a ways over the past 5+ years.”
“There are many things that keep me motivated. First, I know that friends, family, and viewers expect roughly one new post each week, so I’m always looking for inspiration for new post ideas as well as suggested posts from readers. Second, looking back at posts from the ‘early years’ pushes me to constantly update older posts to fit the current feel of my blog. And third, I’ve found that simply learning new recipes and more about the restaurant industry opens your understanding of how complex the culinary field really is. I’m motivated knowing that there’s always going to be a new technique to pick up, new cuisine to research, or new chef to learn about.”
If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
“This is always a tough one to answer. I’d say that a ‘guilty pleasure meal’ might consist of crispy, salty, thin-cut fries dunked in a vanilla shake or a good aioli. But on a slightly more sophisticated level, favorites of mine will always include pain au chocolat with a latte, my apple, bacon, and sage pizza with a béchamel sauce, or any pasta dish with homemade orecchiette.”
What has been your biggest cooking disaster?
“I have quite the list of legit cooking disasters (pretzels turned into mush after over-proofing and boiling them at the wrong temperature, or the classic ‘plugging-in-your-stand-mixer-filled-with-flour-on-high-speed scenario’), but probably the most memorable disaster happened this past fall. A few co-workers and I rented a house for the week for the World Food Championships (WFC) in Florida, and after an intense couple of days of cooking, we decided to have a relaxed night with drinks and frozen pizzas. I threw in two of the pizzas and set the timer for the recommended cooking time. After 15 minutes or so, I smelled something burning, so I checked the oven. The top pizza was perfect, but sure enough, the bottom of the bottom pizza was a bit too close to the bottom burner. I managed to fill the house with black smoke in a matter of minutes, set off the fire alarms, and get an immediate call from the landlord asking about why he got a notification about alarms going off. Putting it all in perspective, earlier that day I helped make (1) bacon gnocchi in a Marsala sauce with an asparagus and pea purée, balsamic reduction, and bacon-wrapped chicken medallions, as well as (2) pork belly tostadas with citrus pressure-cooked slab bacon, a black bean and bacon purée, queso fresco, and micro cilantro, and now I couldn’t even handle a frozen pizza.”
What’s a favorite memory or experience from a farmers’ market or a food event?
“Similar to the previous question, my favorite experience at a food event has to be participating in the WFC. The months leading up to it, a close friend and I participated in a few local competitions and gained entry to the WFC with our final placings. We competed in the Dessert, Sandwich, and Bacon categories, which meant coming up with three dishes for each category, packing an estimated 270 ingredients along with all of the necessary equipment and luggage into a mini-van, and making the drive down to Orlando. The knowledge gained both through the preparations done prior to the competition, as well as during the actual live competitions was invaluable, and an experience that I’ll never forget.”
What adventures do you have planned for this summer?
“As much as I do love to plan, I’m taking this summer day-by-day so far. I recently did a decent-sized baking order for a local business’s grand opening in Madison, which was a blast. And in the near future, I’m excited for the opportunities available at my new job, which will include creating weekend specials as well as new baked goods. At the start of 2015, I had no clue that I’d be baking for a wedding and getting my feet wet in the sport of food competitions, for example, so I’m excited to see what surprises are in store for the rest of 2016.”