Sunday, 20 July 2008

Taste Is Everything

Bonsoir mes kakis patients!

It is extremely unfortunate that I begin my first post in numerous weeks with a slightly sombre tone. Recently, my mentor passed away. I have been rather insular since then, soul-searching if you will. The only way I could deal with this loss was to reminisce about times past with his wife and son, family members and work colleagues. He was a man of great pride, always up for a laugh, a fantastic husband, father, friend and mentor. He will be sorely missed and thought of often. Thank you Eddie.

What can I say? Summer is now upon us, although you would not realise it with the amount of rain and gale force winds battering the green and pleasant Cheshire countryside at the moment. My herbs, especially my Basil and Chives, have been hammered forcing me to buy them in from my fruit and vegetable supplier. An extra cost my Boss could do without. Bearing in mind that is without the increase in many other types of produce, meat just being one of them.

My busy time is now beginning. Hoards of ravenous locusts descending on the restaurant demanding well-done Mixed Grills, over-cooked Lamb specials and a jug of gravy with anything that could remotely have an actual flavour permeate my reality as well as my dreams
I recently had one customer tell me that they preferred a bought in, frozen pre-batterd ChipShop fish to the freshly caught and lightly battered Cod fillet we are currently selling. I would like to know how these people are brought up? Do they actually have buds to experience flavour and texture or is it that they are so used to the bought in crap that seems to plague the public houses of this green and pleasant land that they have forgotten how fish actually tastes?

As Chefs' we strive for perfection, no matter what we are cooking. We trial dishes, correct the seasonings and accompaniments and then place it on the menu knowing we have the balance right. We yearn for the average punter to taste what we taste. To appreciate the actual flavours of the dishes we produce without being smothered in condiments. When you next cook at home, buy a nice cut of fish or meat. Cook it correctly, meat toward medium at the most, and do not smother it in sauce . Eat it plain. Taste the flavour and then decide which produce would enhance the experience next time you cook it. Its almost like meditating, be at one with the food, caress it, nurture it and respect it.

I think I will leave it there for the time being. Just working my way back into the saddle. So I will leave you, hopefully not to disappointed, with the news.

Glasgow’s school children are being “driven away in droves” by healthy school meals, the head of the city’s catering has warned.

Fergus Chambers, executive director at Direct and Care Services, Glasgow City Council, told delegates at last week’s Local Authority Caterers Association that school caterers were losing out to local shops and takeaways.

Would you believe it? Why would this happen? After all, Glasgow has given us the deep-fried Mars bar, deep-fried half pizza and deep-fried kebab. I don't know about you, but where could they have gone wrong?

The Government is set to close the loophole that allows restaurants to use tips to make up the minimum wage, it was claimed today. Len McCluskey, Unite assistant general secretary, said:

“We welcome the decision by the Prime Minister to ensure that the principles of the minimum wage legislation are not betrayed by the practices of some employers who are solely interested in making a fast buck.

“There is now the opportunity for the Government to clean up the system and give consumers confidence that when they eat out the staff who serve them are being treated fairly.”

The system will never be clean! It is one of those Industries that relies on immigrants, students and young trainees to run the businesses and make money. How many of you, except people in the trade, either currently or before, even remember bothering with such trivial matters? Answers on a postcard to......

On that note, I must away. This post has been short and sweet......just be glad it was!

Special thoughts go out to parfitt who had noticed I had not been around for a while. Thanks for the kick up the arse!.

Until then......

Le Chef Grincheux

"Remember Me With A Smile" - Mr E. McKenzie (4th July 1944 - 2nd June 2008)