Monday, 1 September 2008

Press Play......NOW!

Bonsoir à vous tous, mes tartlets tomberry scrumptious et savoureux !

There is an incandescent light at the end of that exceedingly long and arduous tunnel that is the School Holidays. Eight weeks of shear Hell on toast and it is now almost over. In just over 24 hours, the waifs will be back at their re-inforced chairs and tables behind double-glazed windows with only their teachers to control and hear them. No more juveniles scampering around the restaurant like it was some outdoor adventure playground. Never again (well, at least until October break) will I hear screaming toddlers and babies crying in unison and drowning out the thrash metal music I have taken to listening to during these distressing times ( I don't like that sort of music, but I thought it would drown the high pitched sound of the youngsters......they just seem to be able to tune in to the high notes and sound just like the 'singers' in these bands causing my ears to bleed and finally my brain to implode. I now also seem to have a disturbing penchant for ritual sacrifice, face painting and smashing the living crap out of pots and pans with wooden spoons. Time to go back to my Soft Rock, Hed Kandi and anything by Blue Man Group I think! ).

Which brings me to this weeks 'discussion'!

"If Music be the food of Love, then play on". If Shakespeare were alive today, I would personally deliver a message and that message would be that he is a blithering idiot! Music is not the food of Love. Music was designed and made with Chefs in mind. I know, I know, I struggled with this revelation also but it is true. Chefs cannot and will not survive without Music. It is one of the staples of the Chef diet. No Music, no food. It is that simple. In my Kitchen I have three means of satisfying my desire for the elevating sounds of which I cook to. I have a main CD/radio, a small and compact portable stereo set up in my Pastry Room and an Apple iBook conveniently placed close to my section of the Kitchen where I can indulge in my own obscure tastes of Music, Film and, if all is quiet on the Western Front, surf the Web.

My Staff hate my Music! I love that. It means I have that balance right. So when I am not there, they love being in the Kitchen. It makes them happy, which in turn makes me happy as they work better when I am away. They can listen to whatever they want and I don't have to put up with Classic FM or Radio 'bloody' One.

I have to thank Chef Anthony Bourdain for this in a way. After reading 'Kitchen Confidential', ( available from Amazon at around £5 ), he tuned me into his passion for NYC Punk music from the seventies. The New York Dolls, The Stooges, Dead Boys and Richard Hell and the Voidoids are bands I would never had come across unless I had read His Book. There are many other Chefs I have to thank also. Colin for his introduction to The Smiths and Alternative Eighties, Matt for promoting Drum and Bass during the mentally crippling busy nights and my Father for everything else. My Dad ain't a Chef, but he sure knows his 'Choons'!

So where would the customers be if no Music was played in Commercial Kitchens? Buggered, that's where. No Chef in his right mind would have a calm Kitchen. In fact, I adjust my Music during service just to make sure the right song is playing at the right time. It's almost an art form. In the morning, when I wake, I think about which Specials I will do for the discerning diners, then I make myself a very strong cup of coffee and after that I sit down at my PC and record the Music I will need for that day. Chill out for the quieter days and more upbeat Music for the weekends. It is an integral part of my time which borders on ritual or quite simply O.C.D!

Without Music in Kitchens, there would be no Food. Music helps create Food. So, to correct Mr Shakespeare, "If Music be a contributing factor to the Love of Food, then play on". Case rested and now it's time for Tea.

It is with great regret that I must tell you that I will be on Holiday next week and that my darling wife is refusing to let me take my precious laptop with me! She seems to think that Holidays are far more important than my regulars here at Who Dares Cooks. I am trying to rectify this situation, but to no avail, so far. Maybe a shopping trip will warp her mind enough? Who knows, we will just have to wait and see. I will try my hardest my Culinary Cookies, but just in-case I fail, remember I will be back the week after and prepare yourselves for a Spanish Rant!

Now the News......

If you have been perusing the Telly Box recently, you might seen a little program called 'Rogue Restaurants'. It exposes the Health and Hygiene standards of some very large Pub Companies running your average restaurants, most likely in your area. So far the Yates and Punch Groups have been targeted which has resulted in many Chefs and Front of House Management being fired due to negligence and extremely bad hygiene standards. Do yourself a favour when in these nationwide corporate houses of boil-in-the-bag products and demand to see the Kitchen. You have the right! Grasp it with two hands. You may get a shock!

Hell’s Kitchen winner Terry Miller has been forced to close his Tyneside restaurant as a result of the credit crunch, it emerged today.

The Geordie chef, winner of the show in 2005, opened Rockafella in Newcastle using his £250,000 prize money.

However, Miller’s daughter told the BBC that tough economic conditions had lead to the decision to close down the venture and concentrate on the family’s catering business instead.

I feel for him. It has become a very different world for the owners of restaurants, hotels and general foodie eateries this year. The 'Credit Crunch', that is apparently a figment of our imaginations, has struck hard at the Catering Industry. We only hope it will get better soon. Here's hoping......

I have a quest for you all this week. Not only Chefs, but for you all! I would like to know which musical track spurs you on when cooking in the Kitchen! Don't be shy now. We seem to have a lack of commenter's here and that is very worrying. Chef Sturgeon, Chef Watson, Cyst Bovine and Grumps, I'm looking in your direction! No pressure of course. :)

Well, until next time ( unless the missus caves in about the laptop )......

Bonne Nuit mon épi de maïs culinaire!

Le Chef Grincheaux


croquecamille said...

Frankly, just about anything other than bad hip-hop/R&B (which is all I get at wor these days). Last week, when I was working by myself, even Coldplay was a welcome change of pace. Ah, to have options other than French radio!

Taenia Saginata said...

BONJOOR. This used to be Bovine cyst now taenia saginata (24ft). Usually in the kitchen I do not like music while I cook. i much prefer a Harvieston Bitter and Twisted and one or three wee haufs. I just cannot stand that Smiths guy, he has a voice like a wean drawing a shovel up a hill. Come back Buddy Holly

SheR. said...

I wish my Head Chef could read this article! You are so right.. Music is the essence of food creation. Yeah.. till my Head Chef decided it was too noisy.

Tell you what.. I guess Heavy Metal should be really bad on a busy evening. Beethoven Symphony No 5 should be great. At the end of the shift, you will see a lot of people tearing out their hairs!! That explains why most chefs are bald.. or balding! :P