A Culinary Journal by Dena Testa Bray


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Any good recipe—be it for a simple bread or an elaborate soufflé―begins by asking us to gather ingredients. These ingredients represent flavors, the taste and textures that we make come alive through the process of cooking and eating.

My favorite flavors and foods—gently poached farm-fresh-eggs, chilled wine, freshly baked bread, homemade Greek yogurt—are invariably connected to the joy of sitting down to a meal with people I love, to memories of a particular time and place. This is why I love to cook, why I love to  bring people together around food. I may sliver garlic for a soup. I might toss salad greens gently with oil and balsamic vinegar. I roll out a pie dough, perhaps. This process, the transformation of simple ingredients into a delicious dish, is  a metaphor for the transformation my family, my friends, and I go through when we gather together.

My Sephardic grandmothers taught me the power of good food. Their teachings guide my love for food and feed my need to connect with others around a meal. I am a trained chef, but my temperament and skills in the kitchen are better suited to family life than to restaurants.

This is why I started teaching others to cook out of my home in New Hampshire. My cooking school has closed its doors, but my need to feed others and connect has never been stronger.

Gathering Flavors is born of Dena Bray's Cooking School where I had the pleasure of breaking bread with anyone willing to walk through my kitchen door.  My recipes are based on fresh, seasonal ingredients. 

I'm glad you're here. All are welcome.

I look forward to seeing you in my kitchen, gathering flavors, soon.


Notes: Unless otherwise noted, all the recipes published on Gathering Flavors are my own. In the instances that I have modified a recipe found elsewhere, I include my sources. The photos are my own, as well.