Real Life

REAL LIFE: It started with a friendly bet, now, this dad is helping other dads get inventive in the Kitchen

Spicing up the kitchen, one video at a time.

By Mitchell Jordan

Cameron Douglas, 47, from New Norfolk, TAS, shares his tantalising story:

The tantalising aroma of garlic and cheese wafted out of the oven as I placed the tray of lasagne on the kitchen bench.
"Yum!" my two kids, Josiah and Ruth, cried.
I admit it was a great feeling to know how much they and my wife Sally loved my cooking.
Of all the meals I prepared, my lasagne was the one that always went down a treat.
The more garlic, the better, was my motto!
Ever since I was a kid, cooking had been one of my passions.
My parents had separated when I was young and I'd grown up quickly.
With my family. (Image: supplied)
When it came to being in the kitchen, my dad had given me some great advice.
"If you're gonna cook," he began, "you might as well make sure it's tasty."
So with that philosophy, I'd set about making each dish as memorable as I could.
Many, like my lasagne, were adapted from 1980s The Australian Women's Weekly cookbooks.
Once I was in the kitchen, much of my cooking was instinctual.
I figured that if something looked and smelt good then, chances were, it would taste great too.
And so far, no one had complained.
My wife, Sally, worked in an office job, while I was the stay-at-home dad.
As a reverend at the local church, I could be home with the kids during the day, which gave me plenty of time to cook.
Ruth and I in the kitchen. (Image: supplied)
One day, I was on the internet when I noticed my mate, Dave had posted a video of him cooking.
Lift your game, I commented jokingly, to which he replied: Put your money where your mouth is.
Now he'd issued the challenge, I couldn't help myself and started sending him some videos of me cooking that I'd filmed on my phone.
Dave was involved with The Fathering Project – a not-for-profit organisation that helped men be the best dads they could.
"We're always looking for content," Dave said. "How about sharing some of your videos with us?"
As a dad who loved cooking, I was more than happy to encourage other fathers to get into the kitchen.
Growing up, I'd been all too happy to study cooking at school but I knew there were plenty of blokes who thought that the kitchen was for girls and would struggle with making anything more than baked beans of toast.
"I think that's a great idea," Sally said when I mentioned it to her.
Cooking with my kids. (Image: supplied)
So I started filming more videos of me cooking recipes that were filling and easy to master by anyone.
I also gave viewers plenty of tips, like the importance of cleaning up as you go, and – where possible – involving your kids in the process.
"The kitchen can be a place to connect with others," I tell them.
Josiah and Ruth help me with chopping and stirring but most importantly, we all share a laugh with each other.
There have been times when I've made mistakes, and that's part of the fun.
"This was meant to be pulled pork but I used the leg, not the shoulder and it won't pull apart," I admitted. "So now, I'm making chopped pork."
My videos grew so popular that dads around the country were tuning in for my tips.
We want Cameron's cooking, one dad wrote in. He cooks stuff my kids want to eat.
It's been an enormous pleasure to transform my passion into something that's helping others.
I hope my videos will keep giving dads a taste of the magic cooking brings to our lives.
Find Cameron on YouTube at Cameron's Tassie Kitchen

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