There are countless online resources when it comes to finding recipes and cooking/baking information. When I first started out in my journey into the baking and pastry world many years ago (before blogs ever started!), I only had a few websites that I regularly visited to gain insight into basic baking techniques and theories. One site that I turned to quite often was Baking911. Baking911 contained a treasure trove of information on baking science in addition to tried and true recipes. It was a fantastic resource for me during my introductory days. As I progressed further in my culinary education, I craved for broader topics which went beyond basic techniques and theories. Books satiated my cravings somewhat but it was when I discovered food discussion forums that opened the world of other people’s experiences that made me a much better baking professional.
eGullet is a food discussion forum that I have been visiting regularly ever since their early days of operation back in 2001. At that time, eGullet was really one of the pioneers in collaborative discussion forums that focused on the different topics related to food and drinks. It was legitimised when many food professionals started joining the forums to either host and moderate the discussions or would appear as guests to answer questions from participants. This was a place where anyone could pose the most basic or most advanced questions and there would always be at least one professional on hand who would be able to answer them. No one felt they were asking “dumb” questions and it was truly a learning and discussion tool for everyone. In the Pastry & Baking forum, for example, guests have included reknowned pastry chefs like Pichet Ong, Nicole Kaplan, Michael Laiskonis, and Steve Klc. Celebrity chef personalities like Anthony Bordain and cookbook author Dorie Greenspan have been contributors to the forum as well. During the heyday between 2001 – 2005 were the most interesting years at eGullet. Due to some management problems, there were many defections from 2005 onwards and a number of big name professionals had dropped out of the forum completely. Nevertheless, there remains many very qualified contributors like Lesley Chesterman, Louisa Chu, and others who still provide expert commentary and advice within the forums.
Since the introduction of eGullet, there have been other food forums that have sprung up like Chowhound, Dan Lepard, LTH Forum, Mouthfuls, and Opinionated About, but none have achieved the status or depth as that of eGullet.
If you haven’t done so already, take a visit to eGullet. Not only will you have an opportunity to learn new techniques and exchange knowledge with the participants but you may also meet some new friends there as well!