Welcome to My Daddy Cooks! My name is Nick Coffer and I am the 40 year old dad of a wilful, funny blur of perpetual six year old motion who goes by the name of Archie and a new kid on the block, two year old Matilda.
I set up this blog in Novemver 2009. I had lost my business earlier that year and found myself at home as a stay-at-home dad. Although it was in many ways the worst year of my life, it was also possibly the best as I was lucky enough to spend my time with my growing toddler. The blog was initially just a creative side-project to give me something to focus on but, 18 months later, it has now become my full time activity and spawned a whole new career.
The My Daddy Cooks book was published by Hodder & Stoughton in 2010, featuring 100 fresh new recipes for the whole family (including nearly 90 brand new ones). It was a best-seller in its category and continues to ride high on Amazon.
The blog has also spawned a whole new career for me and I also present a daily show on BBC Three Counties Radio from 12-3pm and weekly food show, Nick Coffer’s Weekend Kitchen, on the same station on a Saturday lunchtime.
Going back to the history of this blog, I set it up to simply document what and how we cook in our house. We try to eat fresh, healthy and interesting meals, using all manner of herbs, spices and ingredients, all cooked on a very modest budget.
We always wanted to help Archie have a good relationship with food and when he turned six months and we began to wean him onto solids, we followed an approach called “baby led weaning” whereby he ate at the table with us and ate what we were eating, when we were eating it. For sure, in the early days we had to ensure that his food was soft enough to chew but the principle remained the same. By no means at all does Archie eat everything but he does engage with food and is curious about what he cooks and eats.
In reality, Archie has been “in” the kitchen since pretty well six months old, when he was hanging off my hip while I cooked. Once he was old enough to stand, we put him in a FunPod and he was more than happy to help. This help takes a number of forms. Some days he is really interested in the preparation, other days he wants to cook – and on many days he just wants to do his creative play in the sink and on the work surface. The key is that it is not about the “cooking”, it is about spending quality time together. Yes it can get very messy indeed but, for me, that is all part of the fun too!
Although the videos may appear relaxed, in reality I am extremely vigilant at all times and constantly talk to Archie to ensure that he is concentrating on what is going on. I never leave him near hot pans unattended and never leave sharp knives in a dangerous place. I just try to apply common sense in the kitchen and I know Archie responds well to my relaxed demeanour.
The time I spend together with Archie in the kitchen is true quality time. We talk, we laugh, we make a mess, we create, we argue, we break things, we sulk. But more than anything we just have fun.
With the arrival of his little sister, the kitchen has remained ever important for us. She loves joining in and, if anything, is currently trying to muscle him out of his fiefdom.
Before setting up this blog, I had no experience of film making, nor had I ever been on television. You will also notice that our kitchen is barely big enough to swing even a toy cat in. It is not professionally equipped and I am no trained chef. But we do eat fabulously tasty meals in spite of our financial limitations and lack of space and I hope you will enjoy watching, reading – and of course making and eating – some of the dishes we eat.
Thank you for coming by and I hope to see you back here often…