Welcome to Cafe 4111! A site to demystify the kitchen for anyone who thinks making delicious food is too difficult, time-consuming or expensive. Through this site, I want to take you from thinking “I can’t” to “I can make that!”

I’m Nick, and I have NOT been cooking my whole life. I didn’t grow up in a restaurant or on a farm, nor did I start making family dinners at age 13. I didn’t start cooking until I was 23. In college, a gourmet home-cooked meal consisted of pasta, store-bought vodka sauce and chopped up hot dogs (Today, writing that sentence makes me cringe). I figured there would be way too much to learn, plus I would be wasting so much food due to my mistakes. I thought a delicious meal was something other people made, not me, and so I left cooking to the chefs.

Not anymore.

Let’s knock out some misconceptions right away:

  1. As with any new skill, there will always be plenty to learn. Through the recipes on this site, you will see that the barrier to learning is surprisingly low. Can you go to the grocery store? Yes. Do you have a pot and pan? Yes. Then, let’s get after it.
  2. Good ingredients taste good. If you buy organic, local, preservative-free ingredients, your food will still taste good regardless of what you do to it. We can only screw it up so much. Overcooked wild caught salmon? It’s still going to taste like wild caught salmon. Undercooked it? Call it sushi. The point is good inputs = good outputs. Invest in good ingredients, and your results will be good tasting food.

If you have been wanting to venture into the kitchen but don’t think you can or don’t know where to start, these recipes are for you. We will tackle everything from the staples to the gourmet and show you simple, delicious ways to cook anything at the grocery store using only standard tools and appliances.

On top of learning a new skill, having fun and impressing your guests, you will see how cost effective home-cooking can be. Each post contains an ingredient-by-ingredient cost analysis to showcase how affordable home cooking is (all the costs are based on Houston, TX or Amazon prices). Regardless of where you live, I guarantee that when you compare the costs of your homemade creations to the local restaurant’s prices, you’ll come out on top. For example, if you can make a homemade espresso for $0.13/shot, how much money are you throwing away to the coffee shop every year…

To get the most out of this site, use it as a guide and not a rulebook. Everyone has different taste buds. So if you want to tweak something, tweak it. Triple the vanilla. Halve the vinegar. Experiment and be creative. And don’t give up on any recipe until you’ve tried it twice!

You can do it!