Chefs, Food

Never ever become a chef: advice from a chef

Recently a 13-year-old kitchen dish hand (dish pig, dish bitch whichever you fancy) told me that he aspired to be an architect, something that brought a smile to my face – Ahhh to be young. I asked him what burning desire drove him to this conclusion, assuming he would say perhaps “I am passionate about drawing and design” or “my spacial skills are quite good, and I like challenges” or even “I’ve always enjoyed the aesthetic nature of a building”. however the response was slightly less convivial  “architects earn 6.3 million dollars annually”… after informing him that perhaps if he were Renzo Piano he may indeed earn that annually, however financial gain is possibly not the best incentive (particularly considering the average median salary for an exiting masters graduate employed full-time in Australia as an architect is 45K for a male, and 41K for a female). He then asked me an odd assortment of questions including:

“Should I not go to University?”

“Should I learn a trade/join the mining industry?”

“Why are you a chef?”

Astounded by the daunting stereotype of a generation who no longer follows passion but monetary gain, I hoped that perhaps one day, someone as bright as this young man could channel the same amount of passion he has in his future career as he does in his current endeavours (which I can only assume if he’s anything like I was, would have been: masturbation, anything involving the opposite sex and/or trying to procure alcoholic beverages). But the last was the biggest catalyst of the series. “Why are you a Chef?” What led me here, what keeps me here? After sharing a few stories with him about where I found my passion for food, he asked me what its like being a chef? So I thought i’d share some revelations, and insights. Ideally if this could reach anyone, its kids, teens, tweens and the like who aspire to be chefs, like I did many a year ago. This is a compilation of all the reasons you shouldn’t be a chef:

You will miss important life occasions

Birthdays; Public Holidays; Occasional Weddings; Parties; Christenings; Weekends.

Its unrealistic in this industry to assume that you’ll ever have these off. The rest of the world plays whilst you toil, weekends are almost a taboo – and this will generally eliminate most parties and birthdays as the rest of the world will want to do this on Their weekends. it is possibly the biggest killer of potential chef careers. It can be a very lonesome and frustrating life to those who aren’t willing to make the sacrifice. Regularly I will forgo a friend’s birthday even though I had booked the time off 4 months prior to that occasion (to whom I still have to apologise to regularly) In most industries you can “pick up the workload” on another day if you are unable to work. a kitchen however is more delicate. they have exactly the right amount of staff one person missing can halt the entire functionality of a restaurant. which brings me to my next point.

There is no such thing as sick

If you are not on life support, then you are fine. Cut your finger off? put a band-aid on…or better yet cauterise it on the stove both fast and effective. you have the flu? no you don’t it’s a cold, and even if it were the flu – put a mask on and get your arse to work. In my career, closely drawing a decade now, I’ve had two sick days: both times I was in hospital. If your feet can carry you, you can work…and you will work, nay not even from obligation, but from an odd combination of fear, guilt and compassion. Fear that your family will fail without you, fear that you will return having let them down.

introduction into alcoholism and drug abuse will be very high

It’s no secret that this industry is rife with illicit substances and drunks. We are already sourced from the fringes of society, people who often fit in nowhere else. Some use recreational drugs, some use hard drugs and are completely addicted. Often you will find a waitress or chef racking up lines on a pizza tray at the end of the day before heading out to a night club, looking for escapism. Addiction is high (pardon the pun) among all people in our industry, and your ability to cope, stay away from, or fall into it – is completely up to the individual. You will see some of the highlights of human injustice, and bear witness  to (and possibly be a part of) a plethora, and cocktail of drug (ranging from weed to smack) and alcohol abuse.

Relationships will be difficult

Unless your partner is understanding you will have a string of unfortunate relationships. Another common misconception when someone goes into a relationship with a chef is that we will cook for you constantly. Though we are passionate about food, generally we will be working when you want to be fed. I’m one of the only chefs in my circle of peers who still cooks “properly” at home on a regular basis; most survive on a diet composed of instant meals, take out and dregs of half eaten chip packets. One must not fail to mention that most chefs are courteous and sociable on seldom occasions generally, and they are worse post a shift; only further propelling this relationship over the proverbial waterfall..this babies going over!! Bail overboard whilst you still can!! Time however is probably the biggest killer of relationships in our industry. It is difficult for most (not all, there’s still hope kiddies) to be with someone who is consistently never there, someone who (it seems) is more dedicated to his or her profession than the potential love of his/her life. Time will always be an instigator of hardships when it comes to chefs. which progresses to the next point:

Your hours are fucked

though many people will regularly complain about an 8 hour day (inclusive of 2 to 3 breaks) or even god forbid a 10 hour day, you will savor the rare occasion you get an 8 hour shift with no break whatsoever. The average shift for a chef is around the 12 hour mark (according to a recent census) though I personally and quite regularly work more. You will stand on your feet all day, sweat, and toil. Your entire working career will be an endurance marathon for both your body and mind. cuts, burrs, burns they are all part of the process.

You’re a piece of shit

or at least the majority of your superiors will inform you of this. Where as in the real world verbal bullying is now room for a class action lawsuit, in our domain it is second nature. “You fucking little shit, what is wrong with you?” could roughly translate as “wow, you have made quite a mistake young sir, I’m amazed at how you’ve made such an error” or perhaps “what’s wrong mate? too busy thinking about sucking dicks on your days off to do your fucking job” could easily be interpreted as “excuse me, is something the matter? you seem to have lost concentration and I can see it’s affecting your work”. On occasion it gets multi-lingual “which fuckwit touched my fucking Mise en? are you fucking retarded” which of course means “someone seems to have rifled through my preparation as it is now disorganised, and now I’m in disarray.” Not to mention a lot of this toiling will be for a very minimal pay until you eventually secure a respectable position. Also unlike the majority of things in this modern-day and age you are never “given” anything in this industry – because contrary to the ribbon you get for participating in a school running carnival (coming 4th last) you, like everyone else, start at the very bottom.  you must earn it, you must climb the hierarchy slowly and arduously. No rewards are given for “trying”  either you do your job, or you don’t.. and get fired -simple. Peeling 100kg of potato, picking 1kg of individual thyme leaves (don’t you dare cheat and just strip the stalks, I will throw that shit back in your face) these are all jobs that will challenge your very essence to overcome the sheer boredom, inanity and pain of it, as all of the chefs before you have done. But this is the process, you will start learning, you will always be learning.

But perhaps you are someone like myself, who even after reading this says “who cares” or “I’m better” or even “I’m going to be the best chef who has ever lived” then congratulations, you have the only tool that you’ll ever need to surpass any adversity, to conquer any fear, any challenge and emerge victorious. You have something that people in this day and age lack, something our 13-year-old kitchen hand will one day hopefully learn, something that has driven me to a succesful career. That driving force is passion, passion is not listening to those who doubt you and doing what you’re heart desires, ignoring the nay sayers and becoming what you are capable of. If you so choose to immerse yourself with confidence and dedication, your ends are limitless. If in any profession you are lucky enough to not only be enamoured and passionate about what you do, but also earn a living from it, then nothing will stop you. If per chance this does fall into the hands of a young mind wanting to be moulded I urge you take this wisdom.

Be relentless in your willingness to learn

Never steal, and try not to lie

Be resilient to all adversity; It’s one of the greatest weapons you can use (and there will be many more problems than i have listed here)

You’re never too good, you’re never too old and you’re never too unintelligent to achieve if you so desire

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Uncategorized

The Shit Fight

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The war is over. Though many lay bloodied, scarred or on the edge of a pshycotic breakdown; the “christmas period” of the kitchen is at an end. Christmas parties, new years parties, functions, holidaying families, tourists, dates whatever flavour of consumer you are to our industry, you have come…you have decimated, yet you have not (completely) destroyed. The busy period, or the shit fight as we more commonly refer to it, It is the cooking equivalent of an endurance marathon. where after each service you look at yourself and your fellow comrades in a breath of relief, disbelief and utter exhaustion expressing a barely audible phrase, fought through groans and fatigue “thank fuck…that is over” (chefs don’t thank god…we all think we are god).

but what is it exactly you ask that is so stressful, so spirit breaking that we contemplate driving our heads into a concrete wall in an effort to beat the days hardships out of our still searing (chef pun intended) minds? instead of trying to explain to you the entire period; I’ve instead decided to elude you to “a day in the shit fight” start to finish.

08:04

My alarm clock is almost reminiscent of the docket printer…making me think I’ve woken up in service. After having received around 5 hours sleep, last nights six after work beers have left a very slight tinge on my usually perky rise, yet none the less the hangover: version lite 0.1 is far more acceptable and approachable than finishing yesterdays shit fight sober. Thoughts on my mind include – coffee, what mise en place do i need to do, did i put in the order last night? Seriously I need coffee, I should pee, wait…did i put the fucking order in?! after scrolling through my phone and confirming, yes the butcher will indeed be arriving this morning with my meat I’m gifted with the first (and possibly one of the last) wins for the day.

08:52 
I am up, and stirring – showered and dressed (in casual clothes, only cowboys wear there uniform outside of work) all in the space of about 12 minutes. the other time missing was essentially contemplating whether getting out of bed was worth it. Enough procrastinating now…I really need coffee, local cafe pit stop and then on my way to work.

09:22
I arrive at work and check the bookings for the day…oh balls, we’ve picked up 14 more people a la carte, on top of the downstairs 23 cover degustation function tonight we are rapidly becoming an almost overflowing restaurant.. again… I quickly get changed and check mise en levels. fruit and veg is already here, second win. I can prep the garnish for the lamb dish, the function downstairs, the beef dish, the fish dish and all the sides: all before the meat even arrives because today after all is “meat day”. 10kg of lamb backstrap to remove all sinew, portion to specific weight, shape, roll and store for service. 6 pork belly’s are coming in, i need to confit 5 of them but only 4 will fit in the oven…shit. and that will take up the oven space for at least five hours. double shit. then I have to roll three “dicks” of beef… some call it eye fillet, though I’m pretty sure its phallic enough to be a dick. and where the fuck are my Poussin I rolled from last night? WHO TOUCHED MY MISE EN PLACE?!! after accusing everyone of stitching me up, I eventually remember I had sous vide them last night and put them in the cool room. as I work away prepping the garnishes and side dishes I receive a text saying “sorry bro, running late” which as most know: shits me, not because they are late but because as soon as you have wronged me I am no longer “bro” I am “chef”.

10:30
The kitchen is bustling, preps getting done. the mood is still somehow positive. jokes are told, music is sung, arses are slapped (hit the showers) this is the quiet before the storm.

11:00
Front of house arrives to a parade of chefs saying “COFFEE!!!” fiending for our fix, like a junkie cruising the streets of the Kings Cross at unseemly hours of the morning. we continue with the prep rapidly noticing that the clock is drawing ever so close to 12. and we have the majority of our customers arriving at the same time. talk and music fall to a hush the only sounds are the heel of blades on chopping boards, and the searing and clanking of pans.

11:45
A table of six has come early. “WHAT…IS… WRONG WITH YOU!!” is your life that unimportant you cant last till 12 to eat, can you not see the sign that says we open at 12, or that that’s the time you booked. The front of house will seat you regardless, because they are doing their jobs… you wankers. Now you’ve made me harbor rage toward my team. Great. You stitch up bastards. now i have to stop all the prep (which is now all unfinished) clean down the counter top, sweep the floor set up the pass, my pass cloths to polish plates with, every container of salt, every portion of butter to finish dishes, all oils, all bottles, fresh chopping boards, any prep that can come out, the breads for service, the specialty equipment, my spoons for tasting and plating need to be in canisters of hot water, and there needs to be separate canisters of hot water for my dirty spoons, napkins for easy access, wet salt made, ovens and equipment calibrated I want to taste and check all the mise en place before people arrive to ensure quality. I am in a foul mood and am now behind on what needs to be done, all of which has occurred because you have no concept of the value of time. you sir, and your cohort…are cocks.

12:00
As normal people start to arrive we are already firing the entree’s for the early table. My rage starts to increase further as a waitress queries me things i do not want to hear “excuse me chef”..”yes” i reply sternly.
“there’s a woman on table 5..” she replies
“yes?” i ask
“and she wants a vegetarian meal” I pause as if not to come across stupid
“yeah… no worries..there’s the foraged pine mushroom gnocchi or the Heirloom Vegetable garden” she pauses “yeah she doesn’t want those…what else can we do?” “…what else can we do? WHAT’S WRONG WITH THESE WEASELS!!…how about a big bowl of piss off elsewhere if you don’t want the fucking food, tell her that’s what she can have”. The waitress leaves for a few minutes and returns “so she can have the fish…but she wants the lamb garnish” i stare incredulously at the young waitress “what the fuck is wrong with everyone…what kind of a vegetarian eats fish and then decides which garnishes she can have with it.. you know what… no. she can have the fish with the fish garnish..its not subway you cant design your own meal”. My rage increasing as we start to heave. the kitchen turns into a blur, bodies moving, pans clattering, garnishes and plates building. the only verse spoken are timings – “2 minutes till pass” and a chorus of “OUI CHEF!!”

13:something-ish
“Chef?” a Solemn faced waiter stares at me “I’m really sorry”
“what?” i reply
“the hag on 42 didn’t realise her duck was perfectly cooked and blushing pink and wants a tough, rubbery piece of shit instead. Can you cook it all the way through for her?”
most expect me to blow my top but in actual fact the pleasant manner i was just told this
was actually quite mood enhancing for me. “Oui dat. Re-fire on duck, well fucked and as rubbery as possible please”. the rest of lunch service carries out in similar fashion. the continuous struggle and battle continues. though We will not fail, it is not an option. we will be victorious. as the last tables desserts are sent out we stare up at the clock again whilst cleaning down the chaos of the busy lunch service. shit its 3 already. and we have 5 hours worth of prep to do before 6. I’m no mathematician… but i think we’re up shit creek.

15:00
Re-prioritising Mise en place after the lunch rush is our first port of call. we can do without the second belly, didn’t sell any pork, we’ll do it tomorrow. Poussins ok? yep. what about venison? yeah we’re on the edge…but we’ll run the gauntlet. she’ll be right… After redrawing the new systematic prep list we start tackling the prep. we move swiftly concentrating on multiple jobs at the same time. the chauffante is blanching vegetables for three different garnishes, the oven is low temperature cooking and dehydrating our olives at the same time. meats are being portioned, trimmed, and someone get me some more butter. butter on everything, you can never have too much butter.

16:22
One of the chefs has knicked his finger on the mandolin slicing radishes. its not too bad, but enough for him to slow in prep. also no one has staff meals sorted (which need to be on the pass at 5) alright
someone make it asap…”you had tomato scraps from the tomato dice bro?”
“yip” the reply fires
“garlic chili en place?”
“oui chef”
“alright someone grab the lardons from the freezer down stairs get the pasta on the crackle.
How many for staff dinner mate?” i yell across the restaurant
“Four” he yells back.
“Seven staffies all up oui dat, oui dat.”

17:00
the majority of prep is done, with only small jobs to be done. pasta Matriciana sits steaming on the pass we sit down and relax and shovel food into our mouths for fifteen minutes. for the chefs this will be the only time we sit down for the day and for some their only meal. This occasion, though seemingly rushed, is savored

17:18
we get back into the kitchen and continue to complete the final bits of preperation “lets not get fucked by early tables boys, clean down at 5:35?”
“oui dat chef!!” the chorus sings the ballet begins, burly, sweaty men pirouhette around each other the eb and flow of them needing little to no communication, aside from the occasional “behind” signifying ones position in the kitchen. The symphony of pans and oven doors being closed with feet, and the scene is set for a good service.

17:59
doors open. game on bitches.

18:00
instantly the 23 cover downstairs function starts to arrive I’m elated they’re on time. “Get the canapes and amuse ready boys, lets bang out this big table before we get raped” we start pre empting for the large functions food. small tables of 2 dribble in through the doors as we dictate the rhythm, and it feels good. it feels damn good.

I am chef, hear me roar.

18:45
slowly, gradually we have accumulated a full docket rail. we are now serving over 50 customers out of a small kitchen. timing is imperative. with many more courses to come. 50 people in a fine dining setting can have as many as 350 separate plates, dependent on how they choose to dine.

19:00
the restaurant is full.

19:30
as the downstairs function is served its mains. desserts for the 6 o’clock tables are moving out the door. the night is about to get very hairy. firing pans on a relatively small stove, with a relatively small team can prove difficult at times. luckily the restaurant seems to be wanker free tonight – no well done, no ridiculous requests. just happy diners a gentle raping…the best kind of rape. a waiter walks into the kitchen with a steak cut open my heart drops…how the fuck was that supposed to be cooked…was that the medium rare?
“excuse me chef, this woman asked for her steak medium rare..but she wants it with no blood” the waitress asks
“you mean medium?” i retort
“No, like medium rare..but no blood” i just stare at the waitress as another chef steps in
“thats called meidum love”
“oh, she just said someone cooked her a medium rare steak with no blood”
“THAT’S FUCKING MEDIUM” we repeat in chorus. we don’t have time for these conversations put the steak back in the oven. lets go lets go lets go. table 50, 31 and 32 we can group together then we’ll start on pre desserts for downstairs “oui dat”

20:00
the 13 year old dishy that started at 5pm tells me his legs are sore. fuck off.

22:35
The last of the meals start dripping out of the kitchen. as we start cleaning down we create prep lists for the day tomorrow. pork can go in overnight at 80 degrees
“what needs ordering?” someone calls
“Dry goods” but they dont come on saturdays…
“no worries someone do a shop run in the morning for almond meal”. As we pack down the kitchen, clean out the fridges, the benches and the floors the front of house polishes the cutlery and resets the tables for tomorrow the diary looks quite similar tomorrow, going to be another big day.

23:15
We phone and email through the orders to our suppliers and finish writing the mise en place lists for tomorrow. We get changed into our casual clothes. someone cracks a beer and we cheers in unison the joyous bubbly beverage invigorating our souls and reminding us that life is worth living. Someone suggests a pit stop at the pub, though tempting, is quickly declined. In my earlier years i would have been the last man standing at the boozer, but we have to be back at 8:30 to get started again for tomorrow.

01:30
I’m home, showered and on my third beer. I’m Ready to fall asleep though my mind wont switch off what needs to be done tomorrow? Did i forget anything? perhaps some light entertainment or pornography would help. ahh fuck it to tired to even try. ill just fall asleep with beer in hand as per usual.

02:30

finish my beer and slowly drift all the meanwhile the inane chatter in my head, planning, solving my day tomorrow.

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Enemies of the state

“You odious shit stain of a human being” I think whilst falsely nodding in agreement and smiling.

“You incredulous wanker, do you even…fucking… life” I mull over hateful thoughts internally as I try to drown out the incessant, inane string of words dribbling out of the owners wife’s mouth. I am trying to show grace rather than lose control, shoving her face into a deep fryer and going completely postal before being arrested….or even worse losing my job. Yet another prime example of a kitchens worst nightmare appears as if on cue. Telling me how i “should” do my job, or about how the hospitality degree she received from the Broad beach TAFE in 1988, for hotel management, is somehow relevant to my job, and of course what I can do better – to meet their expert standard. I mean after all you’re very qualified; you don’t work here – you have no restaurant experience, you’re the wife of the owner (whom also doesn’t work here) so I trust you know exactly what you’re talking about when it comes to this venue.

What’s that love? You had soft shell tacos for dinner two nights ago, and they did it for 3 dollars so that’s how much It should be when we do it? I agree they’d fit in perfectly with our french slanted bar snacks and classic bistro food. Oh joy you learnt how to use Facebook, someone get this woman a media and events management shirt stat!!. Wow!!…you made tea towels with our restaurant logo and some funny sayings on them? Brava!! I may as well throw in the towel and let you take the reigns. “Boys, stand back, she’s got this one covered!!”

This particular scenario from yesteryear was in the form of an owners time rich wife, who can’t control her own children from running amuck and breaking everything in site, or her husbands drinking, masturbating and cocaine addictions – let alone a professional kitchen. It seems all too familiar, these vacuous creatures lurking within every corner of the hospitality industry; sucking the life forces out of chefs and front of house staff like a succubus on heat. They come in various shapes and sizes, but all are equally as painful as the last.

I present this guide of unfathomably hated anti-kitchen archetypes, that isn’t confined solely to the internal walls of our workplaces, in hope that if you’re driving and see one crossing the road, you’ll better the world by mowing them down.

the bored housewife

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Possibly the most common of all. Bored house wives whom have no experience, little knowledge and misguided opinions on how things should be operating. Unfortunately as man and wife are an extension of each other, telling her to “fuck off with your shit ideas” is not just insulting to her but to her husband also (weird right). And who in their right minds would try and insult their employer. Fuelled purely on head strong, oestrogen pumping, blatant disregard to all others opinions, bored house wives will fight against all grains to implement their horrid ideas, usually at the cost of core staff members. Ranging from decor – to menu ideas – to website design and staffing. No stone is left unturned by a house wife who knows all.

The Masterchef customer

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Ahhh the masterchef phenomenon. Making people think they can cook since 2009. Don’t get me wrong the notion that people are more concerned with the cooking of, and eating of food will always be a good thing. But like cocaine, babies and firearms; in the wrong hands it’s detrimental. Never have people been so rude or falsely misguided into a sense of know it all-isms “Umm I don’t know if you know…but paella has chorizo in it – THATS HOW GEORGE DOES IT!!!”.
Two things: George Calombaris is a fat annoying Greek. More importantly paella is a Spanish dish, traditionally cooked by men on Sundays for the entire family. The dish varies from region to region and can include, but is not exclusive to: rabbit, chicken, chorizo, prawn, clams, razor clams, mussels, calamari, peas, saffron and so on. We spend countless years gathering knowledge to better our cuisine. So generally speaking – we know what we are doing.

The idea that watching a television show makes you an expert at something is the same as me going down to the latest crime scene and using my investigative powers, because I’ve watched the entire series of the wire (possibly one of the best series ever)

The well done beef-er

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As if transported from a parallel universe from the masterchef cohort. Presented to us is The well done beef-er: who’s soul purpose for eating is sustenance rather than substance. Where any food-stuffs in any other language is a taboo not to be trifled with. “pomme what? Don’t you have like..chips?”. “Do you have any tomato sauce for my steak?” As a waiter sighs, and we place the perfectly portioned piece of sirloin into a pan, knowing the end result will be a dry, rubbery, shrunken hunk of arsehole – our hearts drop a little. Because we do take such a high level of pride in our produce. My main qualm with the well done beef-er is why waste your money in a casual fine diner/fine diner? The end result will taste the same and you might as well have just gone to a fucking hogs breath cafe where tomato sauce is already conveniently placed on the table for you (I assume)

All this talk of kitchen enemies has got me flustered. I’m going to go and consume beer.

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Le Bastard Critics

4177.5 hours.

No, not the unedited version of James Franco’s film 127hours, That’s how long I spent yesteryear behind the stove of a professional fine dining kitchen. Four thousand one hundred and seventy seven point five hours. That’s around five sixteen hour shifts in a row (though occasionally I get half days so therefore there are some twenty plus hour days in the mix). My misanthropic peers and I spend eighty plus hours of our weeks, painstakingly and meticulously preparing produce, using what could only be described as kitchen sorcery to turn food in to a Monet-esque presentation that will aid you and your partner to get laid on your anniversary.

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So it comes as no surprise that the majority of chefs know and are all together more passionate about food than you will ever be or ever want to be for that matter. Unless of course you’ve seen the Masterchef series which would instantaneously make you much better than I am at my job. But if we are such creatures of passion, how do we judge the food that we consume? when you, a mere mortal, place that faux lasagne you saw on Jamie’s 15 minute meals infront of me… chef, nay GOD of cuisine – am I thinking to myself through a false smile “I made a better looking meal this morning on the toilet after my morning coffee”?

I think firstly we have to kill a myth: chefs are not food snobs Yes we would disavow And probably castrate a chef who had committed cardinal sins of cookery like the arsehole who thinks packet gravy is an acceptable substitute for making one because he is too fucking lazy. But most of us were drawn into cooking because we enjoy eating food, not hating and judging it. We all have our guilty pleasures too; David Chang and his chicken nuggets; Bourdain and his love of gooey processed cheese; and my personal preference for any form of sausage, of any mutant variant, slapped on a bun and labeled a hot dog get inside me now you delicious slut. A lot of chefs diets are comprised wholly of a combination of the Golden Arches, the colonel, Chinese take out and the daily staff meal, hence why we look like spitting images of health.

Secondly, when a chef is dining out, you have to consider a chef not only has pre-conceived standards and insider knowledge, a chef also knows what every meal costs to put on a plate, he probably knows how much people are getting paid, a ball park figure of the rent and so on: therefore a chef actually knows whether or not a meal is worth what you pay for oh.. you want to take me to your favourite “family restaurant”? where they sing happy birthday, slap a thirty eight dollar barely passable MSA grade rib eye on my plate accompanied by a fluorescent dressed salad coupled with shit service and that stupid fucking parsley garnish circa 1983, which obviously can only be made better with a cocktail so green it looks like it’s Lou ferrignos piss after he went all Hulk served in a glass so long and phallic I think I may be arrested for lewd behaviour in public. If you want to take me here, chances are I will probably judge your dining prowess quite poorly. Or why not try out the new modern gastro Moroccan, African fusion restaurant bar, cafe, rug and tapestry house …Put it this way, if You can’t describe what the establishment does in less than 4 words it’s probably a shit hole, in fact it may be worse than a shit hole. Just because it sounds different doesn’t mean it is good or that I want to be there…just don’t bother. If you want a safe bet, tell your chef compadre how poor or rich you are and I’m sure they could list 20 places off the top of their heads that would be better than the TGI mc fucking Fridays steakhouse you want to take them to and you also get to cater to their giant and ever expanding ego’s.

Thirdly and most importantly if you decide to cook for a chef at home: KISS – keep it simple stupid a Chef is generally craving home food, it’s a rarity for us to be home and eating, it’s a pleasant sanctum to be in. The main place people go wrong when cooking for chefs is the assumption we require something extravagant or outside the box and give themselves too much and dishes of too high a level of difficulty. PUT THE FUCKING PURÉE DOWN we eat extravagant food often, we make it every day. The last thing I want Is a watercress velouté or a foam of smoke essence which I would actually start to judge because you’ve probably done it wrong. I want simple, home food, barbecues, and roasts. If a dish has a nickname such as bangers and mash or it comes in a pie variety, then we will be immensely happy. Pastas with nothing but butters and capers makes me smile. As much as it pains me to say it Jamie Oliver’s cooking in a home circumstance is good though I differ to his professional work, his food for the everyday home cook is spot on. If what you’re cooking can’t be done whilst drinking a beer or wine, then rethink what you’re doing.

If you still, even after reading this, have an undying desire to prepare food for a chef then heed my gospel

-Thou shalt not cook well done beef.
-Thou shalt not purée or foam.
-Thou shalt embrace pig in all of its glory be it crispy or soft, bacon or pancetta, or any other form.
-thou shalt not put unnecessary sprigs of herbs unless it actually adds to the flavour of the dish.
– thou shalt keep it simple stupid.

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