Monday, 17 March 2008

Culinary Artistry?

Guter Tag meine kleinen Würste. Another day is upon us (quite inevitable really) and here, within the Cheshire countryside, life moves at its usual pace. The hoi polloi are journeying homeward from the cities and towns, motoring along the highways and by-ways in their 4x4 tractors and plush sports cars. Cruising to the latest Pop Idol/X Factor clap-trap at an annoyingly loud volume, oozing from the inadequate speakers on their factory fitted, high-fidelity sound systems. Meanwhile, the industrial kitchens prepare for the onslaught.

Cooker ranges, char-grills, deep-fat fryers and heavy duty ovens are fired up while Chefs' don their pristine white jackets, checked trousers and toques blanche. The resonance of stainless steel against diamante encrusted metal as knives are sharpened to a keen edge ensuring that any slip in the wrong direction, during the preparation of produce, will result in an accidental cut not being felt by the user. Food stuffs are being prepared with care and respect. Table surfaces are polished to a glistening sheen, Kitchen Porters stack plates in hot cupboards, sweep the floors and dispose of lunchtime rubbish bags into gigantic waste bins outside. The atmosphere and tension will begin to mount soon as the patrons begin to arrive in their droves, preparing for a night of culinary artistry and excellence. Before long, the Dance of the Morons will begin, a crescendo of "Check On" and "Table Clear" will echo amid the white tiled walls of the kitchen, hackles will rise and the minions will shudder with petrification as the Chef begins his tirade of language and verbal abuse, everything coming together in perfect synchronisation......organised chaos......a tense, exquisite harmony.

Its a wonderful thing, almost beautifully idyllic, when a busy service begins. So much happening and going on throughout the whole restaurant, front of house and also back in the depths of the kitchens. So much excitement, you can feel exhilarated, so much adrenaline pumping through your veins, pushing yourself harder and faster to keep up with the demand from the customers.

So why is it, that some over eager, experimental American artist, is putting on a piece of "modern art" at the Tate Modern, titled 'Making A Salad', and expecting to gain notoriety from such a piece of excrement? I thought Tracy Emin was bad for just being a manky cow, not tidying her bedroom, then cutting it out of her house and entering the pointless piece in for the Turner Prize. Its a load of cobblers! I believe its along the lines of giving the Nobel Prize to Ronald McDonald for creating the McRib, giving Colonel Sanders the Humanitarian award and informing the Wimpy chain that they will be awarded a Michelin Star for their restaurants because they use a seeded bun as opposed to the non-seeded bun of the other, more popular groups.

The event curator, Kathy Noble commented "It's a participatory event in every sense. The work of the chefs, the observation of the audience and then their chance to eat what they have seen put together." Well, that still sounds like a bag of grapefruits to me. In fact I think its preposterous that an over-rated 1960's feminist (who probably hasn't seen a razor or bar of soap in years) has the audacity to go and produce such nonsense with no apparent reason other than to feed 300 or so snotty art school students, lecturers and gormless passers-by.

Myself and possibly a few Chefs' reading this might well agree, that they have already achieved such a feat. Possibly even catering for more than 300 people at one time, and certainly more than just a basic salad. Yet, I have a phenomenal idea.

My brainwave is this; petition the Tate Modern and the artist herself, state that until she can do a 5 course meal, for approximately 500 people, in a marquee, in a field with only 1 gas stand-pipe, a 4 ring stove and a portable baking oven, minimal staff as the others have called in sick due to "a dodgy kebab" and the possibility of torrential rain and gale force winds, only then should she be able to get on her high horse and start mouthing off about a bloody salad!

On that rather abrupt, finishing note I am off now to contemplate the upcoming weekend. As I'm sure you are all aware, it is Easter time once again. A weekend where the whole nation collects their thoughts and emotions and heads off to Church to begin this religious weekend as good neighbours, as a community, as a whole......hang on, that's Italy. The majority of Brits' will see this weekend as they always do, an extra 2 days off work for no reason whatsoever, a time to drink copious amounts of alcohol, eat there own weight in junk food and possibly, if they have enough time left, mow the lawn on Monday before they must return to the hum-drum of modern life. We, my elated eggplants, will be on the Front Line, meat forks and carving knives at the ready, praying for its end. We are the forgotten Culinary Soldiers, a myth in peoples minds, because, who in their right mind would work a Bank Holiday weekend?
Gute Nacht und gutes Glück.


The Grumpy Chef Groupies said...

Yo Grumpy Chef! Nice 2 hear from u again been waitin for more of u! Luv the girlies. xx.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Good to see your on TOP form chef, good luck for the easter weekend!!!!! Keep it coming.

Anonymous said...

Hey Grumpy Chef! Would like to acknowledge you in German but the only German I know is frankfurter and Berlin so a "Hey" will have to do! Really enjoyed this one and thought u were really too kind about Ms Emin! Good Luck for the weekend and look forward to your next post. Xx.

parfitt said...

I have to agree with you on getting this salad artist: Alison Knowles: to prove her street credibility by first mastering the real thing. And as for catering colleges, I have seen students stirring pans of water to stop the liquid from burning! Much impressed by the quality of writing and the route you appear to be going Grumpy Chef.

big grand coulis dan said...

Who is this Alison Knowles?. Salad Artist ! aye right, Being a bit of an artist in my own right and a keen amateur cook, I say keep the art off the plate. Food is for eating, art is for looking at.
When you spit on the fat in the fryer and it sizzles you can lob in your chips, Keep it simple.

welbeck said...

Really rolling along now. Especially like the 'celebrity chef'spot. Also like your turn of phrase, although it does remind me of someone else - cant think who just at the moment.

Anonymous said...

Iv just read your full blog in the comfort of a nice Sheffield lounge and not in your kitchen. Lots of which I didn't understand but you really are cleaver to put all that together and get all them meals out on time. Have fun cooking, have got six months to keep contacting you so please make your blog interesting.