Protein + starch = creative new recipe

claire robotJanuary 29 — Cooking well is like creating a great science project, like a robot. And that’s the principle that Chopped Junior winner Claire Hollingsworth focuses on when she’s coming up with new recipes.

“I am really interested in the science of cooking,” says Claire, who knows that cooking is an experiment with benefits for her tummy.”

To keep her skills sharp, she heads to the refrigerator and pantry and picks a protein and starch ingredient — then she logs on to her computer to look online for recipes that will enable her to incorporate them into the dish.

But that’s not all. “I look for one thing I can change,” she adds, such as using cloves instead of cinnamon or Chinese 5 spice, instead of cumin. “The important thing is to only change one thing in the beginning when you are cooking so you can taste the effect and decide what you would do differently next time.  If it is a recipe that I like, I put it in our family cooking binder.  If I didn’t like it — I throw it away.”

I also am inspired by brilliant chefs like Alton Brown, and Julia Child, as well as classic texts such as Cooks Illustrated, and The Food Lab. “Study, experiment, and have a ball,” Claire insists.