Bonsoir mes omletes wonderous de baleine!
The Bank Holiday is looming over the horizon and the rooster is preparing his morning overture to awaken the masses, ushering in the weekend of fried foods, alcohol and an extra day off. I'm sure the rooster means well, but I will serve him up in my classic Coq au Vin recipe for my eager consumers. I'm sorry, I just cannot stand a pushy bird!
This coming weekend, for many kitchens, will be a bombardment of screaming children, adolescents in baseball caps and hoodies, middle-aged Peter Stringfellows' and blue rinse brigade o.a.p's, all foraging for their reformed chicken teddies, homemade beef burgers with relish on the side, burnt sirloin steaks with gravy and battered cod and chips. I have always wondered how I, personally, have managed the onslaught that is a Bank Holiday and now I have the answer. It is a variety of items you will use everyday yet as a Chef, I use to the point of overkill and mass indulgence.
First, we have coffee. For those of you who drink the delectable brown sludge, I would hope you would understand where I am coming from. The first cup of the morning is like a breath of fresh air, a rude awakening to the imminence of a busy, hard working day ahead. It 'sets us up' to be prepared for anything. Reviving our withered, exhausted bodies from a gentle slumber. As the first sip flows down the gullet it slowly rises to a crescendo of "Good morning world, here I am, give me your best shot!" After my tenth cup though, I am starting to wither. The buzz has gone. Even an extra hit of espresso in my standard Latte doesn't help. So its on to phase two.
Second, we have sugar. Most people will partake in a tub of Hagen Daz during a good film or that sneaky danish pastry while out shopping. For me, I don't think you can beat chocolate fudge cake. This is not just any fudge cake though, oh no, its also laced with two robust layers of dark fudge, rich chocolate icing and succulent chocolate fondant and the only way to make it even better is to drench it in in thick, luke warm custard and finally dust it with a blizzard of icing sugar. Over-indulgence never tasted so good. As you pour the custard on you can hear the cake soaking every last morsel up like a sponge. I then make another coffee.
Third, we have bread. Lightly toasted ciabatta, with a diced chicken mayonnaise, fresh roquette, sliced plum tomatoes and basil pesto. Sounds healthy, but certainly not in reality. Full-fat mayo, pesto and ciabatta. Full of extra virgin olive oil, enhancers and covered with lashings of butter. As I am sure you all know, any type of bread in vast quantities is bad for your waistline. If you have a jar of Hellmans in the fridge, look at the fat content and as for pesto, its mainly just oil! Omit the 'bad' stuff and it ain't going to be much fun, is it? After another coffee......
Last, and by no means least, I will treat myself to another derivative of the sugar family......Jellybeans. The Food of the Gods is among us and comes in the form of a bean. You can't just have one jellybean or even two, it has to be all or nothing! Each flavour opens a world of nostalgia to the consumer. Summer days of building 'dens', riding bikes through the local woods and football on the bright green common spring from every memory gland within the brain. A sugar rush of great magnitude pushes you further through your evening, egging you on into the final furlong of service.
As the evening draws to a close, your on your way down. Customers are making you irritable and grumpy. The food they have ordered won't cook with the speed you require. The end is in sight, the end of service is nigh......but wait...... some 'person' is looking at the menu! That can't be right? It's time for all Chefs' to be heading home to their comfortable beds. What do they think their doing? Ah, it's a booking for next week. Peace is restored and the clearing down can begin. All the stimulants have now left your system and your finishing your day with the inadequate waste products they have been enhanced with. Never mind, a Belgian Waffle with Banoffee Sauce has just been returned, topped with a Vanilla Bean Ice cream......Nice!
We all have vices or habits, it's human nature. Be it edible, drinkable, movable or touchable, we all have them. It gets us through our day to day existence and makes us happy. The items above are just a few of mine. Without them, I would cease to be me and that would make a pretty boring life. Tell me, what are yours? Please keep it clean, we Chefs' are very easily embarrassed.
Well, it is that time again. My comfortable bed beckons and tomorrow is my wife's birthday, so sleep is next on the agenda. My sister site, 'The Chefs Prayer' has been updated regarding the new seasonal produce and a new recipe as always. I have also added a new link to a site called 'The Brigade' that will be explaining the internal mechanics of kitchen personnel and their roles within the lunacy that is catering. So until next time.....
Au revoir ma lumière hearted des langoustines, soit heureuse!