(Since first writing this post we’ve updated some of our resources, so I have updated the links:-)
The right equipment for the job
Do you need the latest fanciest equipment to successfully navigate this alternative cooking journey? I don’t think so. Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly perks to having the fancy and expensive equipment (one is they usually save time and some space depending on how many tasks they can do for you). But on the whole, no, I don’t think you need the latest fancy equipment.
When I was learning about cameras because we’d decided to go ahead with this crazy idea and actually produce this show, I did an online course with Andy Jenkins (producer and video editor) and the best advice from that course was this:
“The best video camera to use -is the one you already have”
I love love love that advice. Because it’s real and it’s actionable. I’d like to add my motto when it comes to all of this health stuff as well which is: “Do the best you can with the resources you have available in your budget and your time.”
When it came to filming the episodes of our show, we used DSLRs that belonged to the cast, and in some tight spots – the iphone. I’d learned how to use the DSLR the month before we started filming in an online course created by my friend Louise Glendon). When it came to recording the audio for the show, we got the best we could at the time that suited our needs and fit the budget (first, a lapel mic, and then later, my phone for the ‘voice overs’ in season 3 and 4). They’re not what TV stations or Filmmakers use, but then we aren’t a TV station or award winning Filmmakers with a budget of thousands or millions. But considering we live on a pretty busy road and across from a park where there are constantly kids playing, they do the job (because you can’t hear the kids or the traffic in our videos).
Basically, we did the best we could with what we had at the time. Do I fantasize about fancy mics? Of course I do, but if we waited until we had the fanciest mics, or bought the fanciest mics, this would be a radio cooking show and it’d be infinitely less useful.
So do you need the latest fanciest equipment? Unless you’re running some kind of catering business or professional kitchen service, then I say no, and start with what you have until you can afford the fancier equipment.
(A classic example of us making the most of the resources we had. We didn’t have a big film crew for the show. Most of the time it was just 2-3 people operating the 3 cameras. My husband, myself (when I wasn’t in front of the camera), some relatives, friends or our makeup artist. This is my husband Brenton, who by day is a power line designer. He’s using Hayley’s DSLR which we found helped save us time – (and our butts when we had some issues with the main camera!!). But when the battery would go flat, we used the iphone . Also, yes, Brenton’s wearing his safety glasses which had prescription lenses because he’d lost his prescription glasses and was waiting for the new ones to arrive and couldn’t focus the camera without them!:-) You could sit back and say – “Well that explains why it’s not perfectly focused in some places”. Or you could sit back and say, “Cool. Alright, what can I do with what I have?”)
So when it comes to cooking, the best blender to use – is the one you already have. The best food processor to use – is the one you already have. If you don’t have a high speed blender then use equipment you already have. If you’re looking to buy some equipment for your kitchen, we’ve got some tips in our free 8 week Cooking with Alternatives ecourse .
Sure it would be wonderful to have the latest model kitchen gadget, but I’ve got a $120 Russel and Hobbs food processor that does the job and I love it (because it does the job ). If you don’t have any equipment and can’t afford to spend >$500 on a high speed blender right now, that’s ok too. Anne and I don’t have high speed blenders, and yet there aren’t too many recipes stopping us. In fact in the whole time of filming this show and the 130 recipes we’ve gone through, there are only 2 recipes I can’t do as well as Glenys and Hayley with the equipment I have (it’s their ice cream recipes), but I have managed to work around it with the equipment I have (and that’s the subject for a different post). But in short, yes, having the higher powered blenders saves a lot of time and space because what I achieve with 4-5 different tools, they can achieve with the one, but you have to start some where.
Learning how to cook with alternative ingredients is enough of a challenge. Providing the equipment you have isn’t a safety or health risk: start with using the equipment you already have in your kitchen, or can afford and actually use it until you can afford to upgrade.
Next I discuss following the right map and finding the right guide for your alternative cooking journey.
Until then, happy cooking!