I think while I cook. And I often think about my profession when I cook. It dawned on me that cooking and public relations have a lot in common. Or at least I think so. I mean in order for meals and public relations to be successful, you have to follow a recipe or a plan with a good dash of passion and humor.
Over the weekend I made one of my favorite recipes, Pressed Pear Tart with fresh cream, for guests. This is my process for cooking… almost the same process I use when developing a public relations campaign.

  1. Question. What kind of dessert can I make for guests? It has to be yummy and easy.
  2. Research. I surveyed my stakeholders (i.e. husband and son) as to what dessert they would like. Husband’s response, “ I could eat your pear tart with cream every day of the week if you’d make it.” Toddler son’s response, “I want cake with cream!!!”  The research was pretty clear: Pressed Pear Tart with cream was the preferred dessert.
  3. Develop a plan.  Checked the pantry for ingredients. Then I made a shopping list. Made a timeline as to what needed to happen when.
  4. Implement the plan. It is a process that needs to be followed. Went to Kroger to purchase ingredients. (And by the way, I became mayor of the Euclid Avenue Kroger… oh wait that’s a whole other post.) Got home, put on apron. Organize workspace by laying out all ingredients, pan, measuring cups/spoon, and bowls. Soften butter, pre-heat oven, spray pan, make dough once butter is softened, press dough in pan, peel/core/slice pears, arrange pears in dough, combine sugar/cinnamon, spread mixture over pears, place in oven, bake, and make glaze. Do this all while singing and dancing to music played loud. The soundtrack was to a Genius mix based on The Clash. Finally, serve to guests.
  5. Evaluation. Did everyone eat the tart? And what was their reaction? Did it meet expectations? The feedback was good. Everyone enjoyed it, which was proven by everyone having seconds.
So there you have it: the recipe for a good public relations program as well as a good dessert. To be good in PR, you have to be able to balance the process with creativity. You have to love what you do. And I do… for both cooking and PR.
I’m sharing my recipe for Pressed Pear Tart from Real Simple magazine. I use whatever fruit is available: pears, apples, and peaches. I prefer to slice the fruit thin; I think it looks and cooks better.

I’m including what I made for the main course, Chicken Braised in Beer with Belgian Endives served with boiled potatoes. It is from one of my favorite cookbooks, Everyone Eats Well in Belgium.  It has ample amounts of beer and butter so not for those concerned with the waistline. The recipe calls for a whole chicken, but I used chicken breasts with great success.

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