Nicky Henderson is the Director of Content at SideChef, an award-winning step-by-step cooking app. She’s is also a recipe developer, food stylist and photographer.
We recently checked in with Nicky to learn more about recipe creator, “green” cooking and eating, and how to be more eco-friendly in the kitchen. Here’s what she shared:
Can you tell us the story behind SideChef? What inspired the app’s creation?
SideChef was borne out of a failed Valentine’s Day dinner our founder and CEO, Kevin Yu, attempted to cook a few years ago. He wanted a tool to help guide him through making a meal, from start to finish, much like a GPS does, but for the kitchen. He wanted to go beyond just a recipe and help people build up their skills and confidence in the kitchen by providing how-to videos, voice assistance and other helpful tips and tricks.
What common kitchen headaches are you hoping to remedy with SideChef?
We want SideChef to be everyone’s go-to cooking app. We’re working toward this by including features like hands-free mode for mess-free phone screens. We’ve also introduced cookbooks that allow you to save all your favorite recipes on the app in one place, so you don’t have to remember where they all are. There’s also information on what’s in season, great ideas for using up leftovers and fantastic inspiration for all sorts of meals. One of our soon-to-be released features also include nutritional information, which will give users more detail about the dishes they’re cooking, especially if they are following specific eating plans.
How can novice chefs get over their kitchen fears? What are some basics any newbie can master?
The best way to get over your kitchen fears is to start small. We have a great selection of basic recipes on the app that will allow anyone the ability to cook, and we’ll show them how to do that every step of the way. Eggs are a great place to start, so I’d suggest to any newbie that learning how to perfectly fry, scramble or boil an egg is a sure-fire way to built up confidence in the kitchen.
What are the must-have tools for a well-equipped kitchen?
I’m a firm believer in having the basics like a great set of knives, a non-stick pan, cast-iron skillet, a few pots in varying sizes and a large oven tray. A good quality food-processor and blender are also essentials. I’d also be lost without my salad spinner, and think everyone should own one!
What ways do you try to be more eco-friendly in the kitchen?
I loathe food waste, so I’m a firm believer in using as much of the ingredients as possible with minimal scraps ending up in the bin. Things like chicken, beef or lamb bones, onion skins, carrot tops, celery stalks usually end up in a resealable bag and in my freezer to use in stocks. I usually use any greens I have in things like pestos, which I freeze in ice cube trays and use as needed.
How do you approach to buying environmentally friendly ingredients for meals?
I’m incredibly conscious of ingredients that I purchase, so I always try to buy free-range where possible. We’ve also started consuming less meat and dairy, making use of more plant-based proteins and “milks”. I also try meal plan as much as possible, making purchasing of ingredients more of a thought out process as opposed to aimlessly grocery shopping for things we might end up wasting.
Can you share one of your favorite “green” dishes?
I’ve recently discovered that blending greens like kale, spinach and soft herbs like basil in with coconut milk, allows you to use up greens in curries and soups. My favorite recipe at the moment is a very green, green chicken or vegetable curry. So I whizz up any greens along with coconut milk in my blender, and add it to the pot as you normally would when making a curry. It’s not only delicious, makes use of any green scraps, but also allows you to add additional servings of vegetables to your diet.
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