Monday, 10 November 2008

My Winter Hiatus or 'Oh Holy Crap!"

Bonjour mes amandes légèrement blanchies!

A long time has past my effervescent eggplants, but fear not! In true Chef style......I have my excuses and explanations at hand! So sit back, relax and get comfy on your favorite sofa......

There was an earthquake, a tidal wave, a monsoon and then Hurricane Latte Grande demolished my caboose! What a hiatus much has happened in our ever-revolving existence. Our Government is trying to collapse the job market from the inside out like a cheap microwave, Chef Ramsay is possibly going to loose his Chelsea restaurant Foxtrot Oscar ( apparently that stands for 'Formerly Occupied' but I could be wrong ) and CAMRA have warned that due to beer price increases, more pubs will close......Well, instead of combing their last Steak and Ale Pie from there beards and moaning about the temperature of the last pint of Black Sheep consumed, they should get off their lard-arses and do something about it! Like have a bath, a shave and try a Wine Bar or Bistro! Times have moved on Boys...stop looking like an extra in a Time Team Special and get up-to-date! ( For all my European, American and Worldwide Friends, if you are not sure about this, believe me, its all quite funny! )

Well...I guess we have to touch upon the recent unpleasantness of Chef Ramsay's extra-marital activity! I believe the count is up to 3 Mistresses, not to mention his Wife Tana! There is one thing that puzzles me......How in Hell did the Man have time????? Ramsay Holdings has 25 Restaurants in its portfolio, 24 Michelin Stars scattered throughout those restaurants, he has numerous Media shows and award ceremonies, Kitchen Nightmares (although the American Version has recently been cancelled in light of the accusations), his Cook-a Long show and I am sure that the Bookers Conglomerate will be putting him in adverts soon! So....where does the man find the time?

Personally, I work between 12-16 hours per day! So that leaves me with, on average, 10 hours. 5 of those hours are spent sleeping. One hour is spent driving to and from work. 30 minutes is taken up with coffee breaks and 30 mins is taken up with various amounts of shouting at kitchen staff and morons. Two hours, if I am lucky is taken up with Family time and the remaining hour is the one single, solitary hour i have for myself!

Chef Ramsay has built his career on aggression, verbal abuse of his staff and sometimes, and this may shock you, even his cooking! But one of the main reasons he has become as big as he is the fact he is portrayed as a Family Man. A hard, rugged, ego-tistical, no nonsense Chef at work, but a light-hearted fun-loving family man at home. What a way to create publicity....even the French agree! Though they bloody would!

I think there is a question to be asked......Is it true? Who knows? A sure fire way to answer that is in the lead up to this mornings papers...Almost every newspaper, on the front page, has been following the Mumbai issues.....devastating news! Only one, that i know of hasn't....The Sun/News of the World! You be the judge!

Once is THAT time of year again! This time though, things are different. For the Catering Industry, Christmas is not a time to be jolly. Most eateries are trading down on Christmas Bookings and a number of establishments are remaining closed for the most festive day of the year! Rises in food costs, wages and fundamental bills, like Gas and Electric, have forced many owners and managers to not only close, but close for good! An average of 3 Pub/Restaurants are closing per day! That's a colossal amount! Not to mention the loss of jobs.

The Industry is in a state of uncertainty and despite the good wishes of the major players who seem to be throwing up more hotels and restaurants every day, the smaller, lesser known pub companies and private restaurateurs are getting hit more and more with inflated costs.

We are in a downward spiral, my melancholy maroon chestnuts, and if you are really unlucky, you might find yourself having Chipmunk Roasting on an Open Fire.

Altogether Now!!! (to the tune of "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire")

Chipmunks roasting on an open fire
Hot sauce dripping from their toes
Yuletide squirrels fresh filleted by the choir
They poked hot skewers through their nose

Everybody knows some pepper and a garlic clove
Help to make them seasoned right
Tiny rats with a crisp golden coat
Will really hit the spot tonight

So.....on that delightful note and knowing that all the Ray Mears' associated gifts that you will receive this year.....

Til next time......Fumisterie de Bah

Le Chef Grincheux