Thursday, 27 August 2009

'Culinarian' Titbit

Bonsoir mes terrapins technologiquement avancés!

Unaccustomed as I am to miniature, spur of the moment posts...I thought I would just remind the tech-advanced trojans among us that their is a Facebook Group called the Grumpy Chef Groupies which you can join. Type it up into your search box on FB and invite whomever you wish!

We also Twitter as well and that is accessible by searching for 'TheGrumpyChef' and keep up to date with 'as it happens' posts.

Also, if anyone wishes to contact me via email, send me a message on, ''.

A further titbit for you is that the website is on hold currently while I find a new web designer and there may be a possibility of a basic clothing range (i.e T-shirts, shirts and headwear), in the near future.

On that advertisement...

Bon Nuit!

Le Chef Grincheux

Monday, 24 August 2009

How To Stay Awake - A Chefs Guide!

Allow me to fill you in on an extreme annoyance of mine...being tired! All Chefs, at some point in their career will become exhausted and start to make monumental and biblical mistakes. We let our working persona's merge with our social and home life creating a colossal chasm...a sort of culinary black hole if you will.

As our various 'masks' morph to become one, it leads to a general existence of work, more work, even more work and household duties and chores becoming a inevitable smelting smorgasbord of things to do and no time for anything else like fun, blogging or even sleep!

It is with this in mind I dappled in a small experiment. My own 'theory of relativity' if you will. Before I get any teachers, teaching assistants or graduates from the school of physics mouthing off about how I can compare this experiment to the likes of the fundamental basics of the world as we know it, allow yourselves this one thought...It's my experiment and any pompous intellectual idiots will be visited by me, a 5kg Salmon and an industrial sized tub of Swarfega!)

Back to the experiment...

I have conducted research into so-called 'power' drinks. Words like 'isotonic' and 'energy' have now been banded around since the introduction of Red Bull to the raving and dance communities back in the 90's and Chefs all over the globe have created their own ways of using these caffeine and sugar filled aperitifs in their own concoctions. Trial and error has usually been the way and recently myself and some fellow 'Culinarians' marched on our merry way to create the ultimate 'power drink'!

We were inspired by a plethora of sources and working on the principles of 'Molecular Gastronomists', a blog article on 'Desperate Chef Wives', sheer stupidity and male bravado. We were astounded at the use of items such as iced tea, espresso and 'Energy Powders' (which we couldn't find so we stuck to Lucozade Sports Tablets and Pro-Plus). So, with shopping list in hand and the male bravado forefront we set out on a monumental shopping spree. Once our spree was completed we began our 'Culinary Mixology'...putting our 'bar-tending morons' to shame.

We started lightly looking for an industry standard benchmark. We took our findings taking into account flavour, smell and 'energy boost'...very boring this science bit so I will just post our results and the innovative names we concocted along the way.

Irn Bull - A delightful sparkle with plenty of zing. Good for an immediate boost. 1 standard sized can of Red Bull with 1/2 a bottle of Irn Bru (Made in Scotland...From Girders)

The Nickleback - A very potent flavour with a fruity twist. 1 can of Rock Star with 2 shots of chilled espresso. For extra sweetness add 2 Teaspoons of sugar to the espresso before cooling.

The Truffle Shuffle - Pure sweetness in a glass. A combination of Red Bull, Rock Star and Purdeys Gold (An Oriental herbal drink available from all good Supermarkets). Boost energy three fold and pile on the pounds with this urban liquid zinger!

The 'Jordan' - With a mix of herbal and chemical tablets with the liquor of choice, the 'Price' will definitely be right. We used the industry standard of Red Bull with powdered Pro-Plus and Yeastvite to create this 'Mediterranean Sangria'. A mortar and pestle is required for the powdering of the tablets but please be warned, it may send you 'Insania'.

The 'U2' - It certainly is the 'Sweetest Thing' as We tell you about our No 2 Mixology Masterpiece...Four espressos, eight teaspoons of sugar, two powdered Lucozade tablets and a floater of the new Relentless Energy Shot (50 mls of pure power)

The 'Ariston' - And just like the advert you go 'on and on and on and on!'. There is no stopping this explosive aperitif... 1 can of regular sized Red Bull, 1 can of Rockstar, 1 can of 24, 1 bottle of Lucozade (Fizzy) and finally 2 shots of Relentless Energy shot. You may need a pitcher for this wonderfully fruity concoction, but believe me when I say, It ain't called the Ariston for nothing!!!

Can I just take a brief moment of your time at this point to ask you to read my Disclaimer...

All the above mixtures can be hazardous to your health and, at times, extremely dangerous. None of the drinks or Companies that produce said drinks, condone the miss-use of their products in this manner and Grumpy Chef Ltd, and all subsidiaries of Grumpy Chef Ltd do not condone the miss-use of the above products. If you you do try and mix your own, we accept no liability to any repercussions that these mixes may do to your physical or mental state. These are including but not limited to Death, popping your clogs, kicking the bucket and meeting your maker (when we say 'maker' please replace with your choice of God, Deity or Entity that you worship, pray or gain advice from).

Any Celebrities (Minor or Minuscule) mentioned above have not given written or verbal consent for their names to be used in this written piece and if objected to will be removed at their request and replaced with alternative titles. The alternative titles will follow in the correct order as written above...

The Steel Cow, The Quarter Front, The 'God my Belly is Fat and Looking like that kid off the movie The Goonies', The Katie 'Come On Down' Cost, The 'I only know how to play one note constantly through the Song and spend too much time dealing with other countries problems' and, well, The Ariston as the company has no money to be able to sue me because they went bankrupt a while back!

On that extremely official and career ending note...The News...

Jamie Oliver is set to expand his 'Jamie's Italian' Chain into Asia. Starting in Hong Kong, 30 sites have been planned with six sites being built in Hong Kong itself and a further 24 rolling out into China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan.

Okay...Can everyone remember when Ramsay began to over stretch himself? Not to mention the likes of Rankin and the Poisoned Dwarf Worral-Thompson? To me it seems like history is repeating itself! There is only one thing we can do dear readers and that is to wait with baited breath...I on the other hand would rather he opened in Italy...let's see him take to that challenge!

Since when did eating processed meat become bad for us? In a recent claim, the WCRF (World Cancer Research Fund) has denounced processed meat products such as ham and salami and now Chef Aldo Zilli is backing their claims. I don't think I need to comment on this as Bob Farrand of the Fine Foods Guild has got it spot on in his retort to these claims..."The most charitable thing these people can do is to shut up,” he said. Well said Bob!!!!!

Sur cette note, les Chers Lecteurs… bonne nuit et (nom de lieu de votre Dieu, entité ou déité choisie ici) bénissent !

Le Chef Grincheux

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Audacity of a Patron

Bon après-midi mes omlettes gargantuesques de baleine!

I was blessed at the beginning of last week with a full three days off. Plans were made, D.I.Y items were sought after, the list of 'things to do' grew more and more as Monday morning slowly rolled on. The weather had held and there was a hazy day awaiting my gusto. So, how far did I travel down my 'to do' list...How many red ticks did I place on my whiteboard indicating 'job finished'...How many times, my valued readers, have you done the same? I'm sure you can guess the outcome of my three delightful days off...I did bugger all! Nothing got done, the 'to do' list grew quicker than a genetically enhanced super melon and I endured the wrath of my Wife who would have been quite happy if I had just managed to put the kitchen clock on the wall! (Nails where they have always been and the hammer is in the toolbox in the cupboard by the front door...get the hint?)

Anyway, let me paint a picture for you. It's Sunday evening, you have been working for around thirteen hours, you have served approximately 85 covers, the temperature in the Kitchen is slightly on the warm side and you are waiting for the nightmare to end. Just finishing your last ticket of the night, you notice the clock on the wall...9pm! The Kitchen is now closed and an expression of relief resides on your face which is usually used to frowning the majority of the time. The door to the Bar opens and a familiar face appears...then the words, sickeningly sweet, filled with presumption, a hint of malice and quivering slightly with an undertone of fear..."Chef, do remember the table of 2 that booked for 8:30, well, they just arrived and, um, wondered if, um, it would still be okay to sort of like, you know, serve them?"

Five words projected themselves from my vocal chords..."You gotta be f*****g me!"

I was flabbergasted. Truly, I was. Dumbfounded, dumbstruck, I was rendered speechless! How any normal person could believe it was the height of good manners to book a table for a certain time, turn up 30 minutes late and then still expect to be fed is beyond a f*****g joke!

I am sure you are asking yourself the question "Well, did you serve them?" and to that conundrum, I will answer in the due fullness of time. Had it been my Establishment I would have personally gone to see the offending couple and, without any hesitation, made this statement..."Good Evening. I'm afraid that I will not be serving you tonight. If you think that you can arrive late, without a phone call and especially without an apology, disrespect me, my restaurant and my staff and still expect to eat then you are sorely mistaken. Thank you for choosing to dine here but I think that it is best if you leave now and never return because if you do, I will thinly slice your butt cheeks and serve you to my customers as Carpacchio of Human Arse...Now F**k Off!" At least my theoretical answer was to the point and there is no way the idiots could have misread the situation...or my obvious intentions.

So, to now answer the question that has reverberated around your cranium...Did I serve them?...Of course I did! It's not my restaurant and its certainly not my money or livelihood so of course I served them. Every motion I made for that ticket was painfully filled with resentment, anger and delightfully chilled revenge.

Please, I beg of you, spare a thought for the people in this Industry. We are only human. We could knock out numerous microwave meals or butter bread quicker than the likes of Greggs, Harveys or whichever local Bakery-cum-Eatery that is near you but that is not our style. Spare a thought for the Guys and Girls of the proper Kitchens...your local haunts...the ones that make sure you have the table you like but you don't need to ask for it and appear like a pretentious t**t. The ones that know which drinks you have when you arrive and the aperitif that you finish your meal with. The wonders of the Catering Fraternity that can have a laugh and a joke with you yet you still feel like the most important person in the room. They are the wonders of this trade...They are the ones that make sure every aspect is taken care of and your every whim is dealt with to the highest standard. Do not disrespect them but embrace there gutsy drive and determination which will ultimately lead to you and your guests having a most wonderful evening of food and drink.

P.S. Don't forget to tip your 'moron'! (Most Chefs get a cut of them!)

On that monetary note, some news regarding yours truly...I have been published! If you would care to look toward my 'Beyond The Hotplate' section which is on the left hand side of the Blog you will see 2 additions. The first is the link to ONE Magazine which I have been asked, with some light aggresion on my part, to become the Resident 'Culinary Crank'! It's an honour that I have been asked to write for this publication and I urge you to check it out at your earliest convenience...if not then it may well be time for the Salmon (Read the article and you will know what that means!) Secondly, for the Super Highway geniuses out there, I am now on Facebook with a informatory group called 'Grumpy Chef Groupies' which is open to all and I am also now on Twitter as of this evening...Search for 'TheGrumpyChef' on the Twitter friends page and 'Follow the White Touque!

Thirdly...another website I think is absolutely wonderful...Kamikazie Cookery! Follow the link in the same section and marvel at these 3 gents living in Edinburgh. An amazing concept and easily described as 'Three geeks. Cooking. With science and Explosions. Described as "Top Gear with food and without that twat Clarkson" (by one of our mates, admittedly), we're putting the "fun" back into "food". Which means we're making "funood". And lots of it.'

Bonne nuit mon carbonisez merveilleusement les brochettes vertes thaïes grillées de poulet

Le Chef Grincheux

Thursday, 4 June 2009

My Hypocritical Oath

mes tians savoureux de tomate, de basilic et d'avacado...mes pains belges succulents..mes goujons gastronomiques de morue…

When I embarked on my culinary journey, I pledged an oath. An oath of great magnitude that I still uphold to this day. A vow so colossal that I have struggled many a time to bite my tongue so that the perpetrators of vile deeds need not incur the wrath of my otherwise calm and gentile demeanor.

I took this oath well over a decade ago and until this day I have followed it to the letter. I have never strayed from my sacred words of wisdom...until now! The aforementioned statement reads thus...

"I, The Grumpy Chef, do solemnly swear never to gripe, groan, grumble, 'put down', 'tear to shreds', deconstruct, 'rip apart' or moan about any dish I eat when visiting a food establishment as a paying customer or regular patron. Nor will I demoralize any 'moron' about said dishes or subject them to ridicule over said dishes. This includes, but is certainly not limited to Managers, Bar Staff and Owners. In the event of a bad meal I will quietly pay my bill and leave calmly via the nearest exit. I will never name or bad mouth the establishment. Nor will I use telephonic communications, hand written letters or verbal speech to indicate my dislike for said establishment. This is my oath...mine and mine alone!"

Shame I never updated it to include Blogging...Oh well...God bless modern technology!

To begin with my Chicken Liver Pate, which seemed to be housed in the same type of receptacle that was used for ashtrays in the gardens, was overly coarse, contained bits of rubbery sinew and was finished on top with an unclarified butter. All of this resulted in the fact that the Pate had not been passed correctly (possibly the remnants from the Chef's last Donor Kebab with Chilli Sauce), it was over salted and was as warm as my nether regions after a busy Dinner Service.

Unperturbed by this ramekin of rubbery crap, I hunkered down and braced myself for the main course...a Beef Fillet Steak, cooked Blue, with full Garni, Homemade Chips and a succulent Pepper Sauce. I think I should have braced myself a little harder than I did. What followed was a Culinary injustice...a meal so detrimental to gastronomy itself that Escoffier must have been turning in his grave.

My Steak was Medium-rare one end and Rare at the other (a Culinary Feat!), the Onion Rings were bought in from a mass-market Giant, the Mushrooms had been sitting in a Bain Marie so long you could taste the stainless steel, the whole Tomato had been microwaved and then introduced to the grill for a fleeting moment before being plated, the Homemade Chips I don't think had ever seen a Homegrown Potato in their manufactured life and as for the Pepper Sauce, well, I think it was more of a sweet Gravy with lumps of Onion and White Peppercorns in. No sign of any dairy product what so ever...maybe he had used Milk to carry on his obvious talent of saving money for his G.P but producing s**t for his customers!

By now I had all but given up and persuaded myself to give this cretinous cook one last shot of the proverbial dice. Dessert was the final course and I waited with bated breath as it appeared on the horizon, awkwardly making its way to the table carried by an inept 'moron'. One look told me that the idiot had failed and failed with such magnitude that I had been stretched to breaking point. My White Chocolate and Baileys Cheesecake was actually a gelatinous and sickly piece of a Brakes-Own catastrophe! Even worse though, a Chocolate sauce that had obviously come from an Ice-cream Van, a rosette of 'Aerosol Cream' and 'the crowning turd in the water pipe'...a solitary piece of Physallis. The 90's answer to the 80's Cocktail Umbrella or the 70's Fondue!

So, in retrospect, the Cook needs to go back to Culinary School! My main worry is that this isn't an isolated incident. I have still to find a restaurant or even a Public House where I have enjoyed eating in the county of Cheshire. Don't get me wrong, there are a few extremely excellent eateries and for that reason I will name them...The Cottage Restaurant and Lodge in Knutsford, The Bridge Inn in Audlem and for good wholesome British grub, The Barbridge Inn in Barbridge. Yet in a county that is approximately 600,000 Acres in size and is home to over a million people, surely there must be more than just three decent establishments! There just has to be.

On that Culinary note...The News...

Following on from last week, We see that Chef Blumenthal has been overlooked by Mr Pegler, Chief Exec of Little Chef and didn't even consult him on the proposed Nationwide roll out of Heston's Menu. Come on Heston, I'm sure Mr Pegler will soon consult with you once he has a Halibut shoved up his bottom and a few New Zealand Green Lip Mussels coaxed up his nasal passages...Where's your 'kahonas', Chef? Probably in his latest weird and wacky molecular masterpiece!

Voyez-vous bientôt mes ramiers merveilleux bourrés de la substance. Ayez une semaine fantastique

Le Chef Grincheux

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Bring Back the Allotment and Chicken Coop!

Bonsoir mes sorbets blancs scrumptious de chocolat!

A little nostalgia for you this evening. This wondrous Bank Holiday has had me thinking of traditional grub. Good, wholesome and home-cooked. The type of food your Grandma would rustle up of an evening...Egg and Chips, Shepard's Pie, Toad in the Hole and even Cheese on Toast. Every single dish being served up 'en masse'! Gargantuan portions of Mashed Potato, proper Chips, homegrown vegetables and not to mention vasts amounts of Meat and Fish. Back then there was no talk of 'haute cuisine' or 'al a carte' food. So tonight, I think it is time to delve into the depths of 'Home' Cuisine! A tribute to the unsung heroes of our heritage and a comparison to today's 'nouvelle' and 'fusion' cuisine that we are becoming to accustomed to. Let the battle commence!

Lets begin with the most recent and utterly over-produced program 'The Great British Menu'. The winners of this 'made for TV' travesty will cook a homecoming meal for around 100-200 soldiers selected from the three armed forces returning from Afghanistan. (I completely support the return of our extremely valued Troops). I will ask this one question though as we approach the final of this ludicrous competition...Are the extravagant and contemporary dishes the Chefs are cooking what our Troops really would enjoy? Are the rations that are supplied, and the cookhouses, really producing such meager meals that the Armed Forces will actually enjoy something the size a Gnats penis after there Tour of Duty?

In my honest opinion, I don't think they would and I will stress at this point that the Chefs feeding all these Troops on the front line and in various areas around the world have a harder job than the likes of Chef Ramsay, Chef Blumenthall and any other Chef that feels they produce the worlds best food, because these guys that feed thousands of hungry soldiers have their work cut out for them...and if they get it wrong, lets be honest, its not a detrimental comment card or harsh could be a whole lot worse!!!

So, what would an 'Honest Tommy' require after returning home to Blighty? A good honest and wholesome meal the size of the latest M.P scandal? Or a jumped up, culinary enhanced, 18 flavoured, tweaked and twatted version which insults the integrity of British cooks all over the country? Answers on a postcard!!!

We have lost our way in this contemporary world of extravagant food and molecular it not time to return to the British way of thinking? Time to return to the recipes our Grandmothers taught us all those years ago? When food was scarce and there was no talk of buying local, as it was all local...our ancestors were doing that trend way before the current 'goody two shoes' chefs were! Are they bringing back a lost tradition?....NO...they ain't, because there are hundreds of thousands of people who have carried on the traditions of home cooking and local produce even when the recent 'Chef of the day' was having his nappy changed.

One item of information I have managed to work out myself...There are no 'new' recipes, but old ones re-vamped and that has been the answer for most celebrity Chefs for the last decade! Pick a loved traditional dish, make it smaller, smooth the nooks and crannys and produce a dish that wouldn't cover a small water biscuit...and apparently that constitutes a meal...I say its time to stop this nou-nouvelle cuisine and return to the dishes that made Britain great and to through in a little indication of the way we should be cooking I quote a Master of British Cuisine, Chef Marco Pierre White, "When I'm making Mashed Potato in the morning, I give myself a fistful. Not a finger, a fistful!". This is how we should be cooking...Cavalier Style, tasting each dish like it was your last, if only our over-zealous Chefs would spend more time letting go and start dolloping the vast quantities of food onto the plate rather than condensing, enhancing and f*****g around with our food and just present it in its 'homemade' state then we could at least hold onto our British food (unlike our Car companies, Water producers and Airports) and start to make Britain a Nation again. Lets be honest, the Government ain't really got a chance now, so I think its time a Chef got into Number 10...couldn't do any worse!!!

SO where does that leave us? At a solution that this radical style of cookery permeating and choking our traditional British values is the way forward? Or does it leave us open to make a choice? A choice to begin again. To devote our average, mediocre or less-than-adequate cookery skills to search the annals of our food history...our inheritance, and start to cook, braise, poach, grill or baste our way to victory?

I think its time to begin again my short crusted steak and kidney puds! Follow the hearts of our predecessors and bring back the dishes that made Britain a force to be reckoned with...hit em with both the rest of the world what our cookery was made of...hard graft, home grown, non-chemical and heart felt. In other words, lets here it for our older generation because if the current state of affairs in this country are anything to go by...we are screwed in the foodie stakes! Bring back British! Its what we live for.

On that patriotic note...the News...

Heston's Little Chef menu is to be rolled out nationwide although it is only in principle at the current moment.

Blumenthal’s revamped menu, which he created during the Channel 4 documentary Big Chef Little Chef, has been trialled at the Little Chef branch in Popham, Hampshire, for more than six months.

The menu, which includes dishes such as braised ox cheeks, coq au vin and Hereford steak and Abbot Ale pie, has been well received by truck drivers and travelling salesman according to Little Chef managing director Ian Pegler.

If anyone has actually been and tasted the new menu, been happy with the delightful flavours that have apparently been enjoyed then please email me...I have had no indication from anyone I know that has actually been to the Little Chef in Popham and I would love to hear any comments on the recent developments...

Dining trends in the US are changing as a result of the financial downturn and restaurants are responding by putting on a variety of special deals, it has emerged.

Starters served as main courses and shared platters, take out meals for free and even courses for the dog are among the promotions being served up by Stateside food service operators, according to food service consultancy Horizon’s managing director Peter Backman.

About bloody the high and mighty have fallen! Forgive me the veritable chuckle...hee hee hee!

On that career ending note its goodbye from me and a "would your dog like a cool, tepid, warm, iced with an undertone of mild, half tap half distilled moderately heated, shaken not stirred water bowl?"...from the Barista's of your local Starbucks!

Rêves doux mes tartlets succulents de poireau et d'emmental

Le Chef Grincheux

Friday, 22 May 2009

Summery Interlude

Bonsoir mes escargots extrêmement chers scintillant avec du beurre d'ail et un ordre latéral de baguette de beurre et comment sont vous ce week-end chaleur-rempli de vacances de banque ?

Well I hope you have languished in the rarely present sunshine today...I know I haven't so I am safe in the knowledge that the majority of you have and there was obviously no need to ask the previous question.

I, obviously, have been working my little arse off in the catering underbelly that is the kitchen...producing delectable delights for you work-shy layabouts in the hope that I might chance upon an ounce of daylight to see me through to my next day off. Undoubtedly you can imagine that I didn't! At least 'morons' see the light of day. Even if it is grovelling to the masses and whimpering when they are told off for forgetting the micro-herb salad with truffle oil for table 2! Bloody Idiots, even my daughter could remember that. Christ, she even remembers how to make Fairy Cakes and when they should be removed from the oven on completion of there baking and she is only four!!!

If only I had been made redundant around this time of year and not in the freezing 'British Hell' of January! I would have been lying on the lawn today, chilled Pimms in one hand, Prime Scotch Beef burger in the other with a dash of Lea and Perrins and a grilled slice of J.S.Baileys Mature Cheddar. Maybe even a thick slice of Ayshire Bacon, crisp to the bite, culminating in a sharp, smooth and yet salty taste! You got to admit, you really cannot beat food porn!

Well, main post tomorrow my little Langoustines. Just thought a little taster would keep you fulfilled for the next 24 hours...Maybe even entice you into definitely reading tomorrow's post.

Bonne nuit mes bucardes et moules somnolentes. Puits de sommeil.

Le Chef Grincheux

Sunday, 10 May 2009

The Front/Back Divide

Bon après-midi mes chipmunks gais

I hate Sundays...inept morons run around like headless chickens on cocaine trying to sit customers, give them menus and then take the orders...not exactly rocket science, is it? Nope, certainly ain't. That is why I, and many many other Chefs, use the term 'moron'. A 'moron' is a plate carrier, a soup jockey, a lowly serf...they are not only there to run around for the customer but the Chefs also. A term such as 'kitchen b***h' is commonly used to describe certain types of morons. They fetch drinks for the kitchen crew, cutlery when we eat, run errands to various shops for numerous items, mop floors, plate desserts and a plethora of various tasks.

In the eyes of a Chef, they are there for him. No one else! Its almost like having a gun dog. They come when they are called and execute the bidding of the Chef. That's it. No less!

For many years this has been the staple of many a kitchen. Until recently 'morons' knew there place. Yet now I find myself in a world unknown to me...a parallel universe has appeared and these 'morons' seem to be treated equally. This sort of bugs me a little. Am I living in the past? Is this my ego trip coming to an end? Has every kitchen in the country taken leave of its senses? Apparently not!

Today, while cooking myself some dinner (a traditional Linguine Carbonara if you are interested) I looked toward one of the new 'morons' I have the displeasure of working in close proximity to and requested a set of cutlery and napkin along with a double espresso and a Red Bull and Coke Chaser on the side. So, what was the answer this 'moron' gave me? What impertinent statement emanated from the mouth of said 'moron'? (Any Chefs reading this please brace yourselves)... "I'm Busy...Get it yourself!".

Well, they say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned...Satan and all his devilish minions have obviously never met a Chef!!!

I turned red then purple, my eyes began to blacken as a dark murk clouded my vision, fixed on my prey, my voice lowered and the words slowly began to rise from my vocal chords, a fiendish undertone shaking my dupe to his very core. Almost cowering, he seemed to prepare himself for the inevitable tyriad of verbal abuse that was about to rain down on his sorry, miserable ass! In his eyes, you could see he was already regretting his slip-up, his misdemeanor...his sacrilege!


It was at this point, his eyes had glazed over like he was starting to float away, off to a little happy place in his mind......I didn't notice, I didn't care. Sixteen years in the Trade and there was no way on this Earth a 'moron' was going to get away with it. Talk back at me????? Was this f**kwit insane? Deranged? Suicidal? Many before him had tried and suffered the consequences...Now it his turn, little s**t that he was!

I use the past tense in my last sentence as he is now languishing in my walk-in fridge, hog-tied, with a delightfully juicy Bramley apple in his mouth and my Sous Chef is currently dressing him in a robust Honey and Almond marinade for the next 48 hours before we drop him off at Knowsley Safari Park in the Baboon Sanctuary with a Banana tightly fixed between his bum cheeks! Let's be honest now, he will get off lightly.

In the immortal words of Mr Bob Dylan...'the times they are a' changin' but is it really the way forward? Personally, I think not. I was trained in an 'Old School' manner...Chefs were treated with honour, integrity and most of all respect! Commis were treated with disgust, contempt and aggression but we all moved up the ladder and became personable people!

With all this New Age hullabaloo focusing on bullying in the work place, extensive sexual innuendo, abusive verbal communication and numerous other unpolitically correct scenarios I have found myself in a type of 'no mans land', forever searching for that true and righteous kitchen that still understands the hierarchy of kitchens past. If it wasn't for the Industry only God knows where I would be! More often than not I liken the old form of training to National Service. You do your time, take all the s**t that is slung your way and come out the other end a better person...hopefully!

The youth of today have a lot to learn about respect...especially for their elders and if National Service wont be brought back to the forefront then its time our schools did!!! Our Governing bodies have become so tangled up in being politically correct that they have lost sight of the hopes and dreams of our previous leaders and academics. They have lost sight of the fundamentals that make Great Britain a country of family values and National Pride! In short...send the kitchens of Great Britain your delinquent and wayward teenagers, We as a collective will sort them out!

And now the I have been out of touch with recent events, you may have picked up certain events that I haven't so please be patient with me...

A Muslim catering manager has taken the Metropolitan Police to tribunal claiming he was racially abused and threatened with the sack for refusing to cook pork.

The 'Chef' in question refused to cook any pork products due to religious values and now he feels persecuted and discriminated against for his beliefs. Okay, lets start with the physical aspect...Michael Caines has one arm and holds Michelin stars and numerous Chefs have extreme allergies to certain foodstuffs (I do also), on religious grounds I can understand someone not wanting to handle produce that is against their beliefs, but to apply and be accepted for a position in a kitchen environment that caters for the general Police workforce, even if promised you would not have to cook certain produce, is pretty laughable! Who would have thought that the British Constabulary would like Bacon or Sausage sandwiches...Unheard of!!!

Welcome to the world of ever expanding 'no win. no fee' law practices! In my opinion...DEAL WITH IT!!!

Very sad news now as country house hotel Shendish Manor in Hemel Hempstead has become the latest hotel to be placed into administration.

The 70-bedroom hotel was refurbished in 2007, adding a new hotel wing with 52 rooms, but it has been hit by falling demand.

Loved by many, Shendish Manor has our full support and our thoughts are with the staff at this current point in time. Hopefully the new owners will honour their obligations as proprietors and also honour the advanced bookings by numerous customers.

On a lighter note and going back to my 'National Pride' comment, I was wonderfully surprised on my way into work on Friday when I drove into the town of Audlem which is in the delightful county of Cheshire.

On my entrance to said village, I noticed an abundance of Union Jacks in the form of flags flying and masses of bunting all leading to the centre point of the village in front of St James Church. A sight I have never seen before except in photos of Coronations and 'times gone by' street parties.

This exuberance marks the beginning of the Audlem Festival 09 which manifests itself every year and is becoming more and more popular as the years go by. Mainly a music festival the village people get geared up for an onslaught of revellers, including the locals, who descend on the many establishments in the area to sing and dance the night away to local groups and solo artists.

For FULL information go to,

Never before have I seen such a Community organise an event with such vigour.

These wonderful affairs on a regular basis. Time to let Britain shine!!!

On that 'wafer thin mint' I must bid you... Nice one Son! (For 'Nice One Son' read whatever dialect you would use to say 'Goodbye'...must make sure I include everyone or I'm for the chopping block!!!

Blimey! goodnight my bread an' butter puddings. . Nuff said, yeah? All the best, innit!

Le Chef Grincheux

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Cry Me A Gravy River

Bonsoir mes fruits savoureux de la forêt!

First and foremost, I would like to thank all sympathisers and well wishers on my recent predicament. Your words of support are a tower of strength at present although that don't pay my bills and the Wife wants a new dining table with matching chairs.

For anyone that is interested, I am now currently employed full time again after 1 month of relaxation and family time followed by another 2 months of transient chef work around the country. Redundancy is an amazing leveller in our society.

Eventually I had to face the inevitable and 'sign on' at the local Department of Social Security which was certainly not a bundle of laughs I can tell you. Those of you that have been in similar predicaments will appreciate where I am coming from and those of you still claiming benefit must be lazy good-for-nothing graduates, sucking the country dry while pissing around trying to find work in astro-physics or micro-biology. Bet you are wondering why you went for that subject aren't you? Degree a waste of time? Can't find work? Well, I am always on the lookout for a Kitchen Porter and I hear McDonald's put a great deal into their Trainee Manager positions.

This week, I will be discussing many items, not necessarily in any particular order but at least you can keep guessing what will be coming up and if I miss anything out, it will give you something to look forward to in my next post.

First......a definition;

gra⋅vy   [grey-vee]
–noun, plural -vies.

The fat and juices that drip from cooking meat, often thickened, seasoned, flavored, etc., and used as a sauce for meat, potatoes, rice, etc.

Let's begin. Okay, I love gravy as much as the next person but why-o-why do people insist on having an extra jug to completely smother there lovingly cooked meal? It completely drowns any flavour that was once there before and renders your dinner into a mass of glutenous brown stodge. What's more, you expect it for FREE!!! Do I go into a Bakers and ask for extra yeast in my Bloomer loaf? Do I venture into a sandwich bar, order a plain baguette, then ask if they wouldn't mind just lobbing in some Chicken, Sweetcorn and Mayo at no extra cost? Do I saunter into my nearest B&Q and purchase a brand new bathroom suite then expect them to throw in a couple of Lazee-Boy Armchairs just because I believe I am entitled to them?

The answer to the above questions is NO! I don't expect something for nothing. If I want something extra, I expect to have to pay for it. I'm not that impertinent. Not only does the ingredients cost money but someone has to make it and then there is gas and/or electric to consider, rent, waste disposal, council tax.....the list is endless.

Running a Catering Establishment costs money. It should not be a career or opportunity that you enter into lightly. Every customer is out to screw you in some shape or form. They will never appreciate the extravagance of overheads and refrigerator repair. This concept is beyond your average everyday punter. They couldn't care less if you have a gas leak or the roof is caving in. It's like "F**k You. Feed me and if its to damned expensive, I'm gonna sit in your restaurant and bitch and moan and complain at the top of my lungs in front of your customers until I get the reduction on my bill I 'BELIEVE' I am owed. Do you hear me? I pay your f*****g wages. NOW GET ME MY F*****G EXTRA GRAVY!"

Just for once, I would love to be able to retaliate at these cretins. I would love to explain in a calm and mild-mannered way that they may have extra gravy but it will cost a set amount as is dictated by my calculations which has to incorporate my costs, the business's cost and a small profit margin. I would make my speech clear and concise, with no room for mis-interpretation while pummeling said customers' head with a soup ladle. I'm sure that would work but I'm not allowed to do things like that anymore. The general public restraining order forbids me to leave my Kitchen through any door except the back where I am ushered to my waiting car by two very sturdy gentlemen in full body armor. As it is a long story I won't trouble you with details but the incident included a Carving Fork, 2 Smoked Kippers, a piece of al dente Linguine, a teaspoon and a copy of the Financial Times stuffed with Pizza Dough and covered in White Belgian Chocolate. Good times I tell you, good times!

Anyway, allow me to enlighten you. The Chef knows how much gravy or sauce or dressing you need! That is why he/she is the Chef. He/She has spent there entire working life learning how to cook, dress, plate, season and serve a culmination of items that reach you at the peak of perfection. Don't fuss with it just leave it alone. EAT! That is the only reason you are sitting in the restaurant. To eat and drink. Enjoy!

This weeks news is all really, really dire and depressing. Closures, insolvency and swine flu litter the papers and websites so instead, I thought I could have just make some up. Then I realised that there is a good chance I may get sued and I really cannot afford that. Not even if I use the word 'allegedly' over and over again. So no news this week I'm afraid.

Until next time my my little petit pois.

Le Chef Grincheux

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Oh Woe Is Me!

Bonjour mes peu d'ananas vitrés par sabyon!

I have grave news my fellow foodies. Just over a week ago the unthinkable, yet almost expected, happened to me. I was made redundant and had to leave my employer and my Staff to face the winter of discontent alone. The decision had to be made and unfortunately it was my turn for the chopping block. I hold no animosity or ill-feeling to my bosses or any other members of the Staff and I wish them all well. I hope that all will come good for them and the Pont-de-Barre will thrive once again. Good Luck Guys!

In our current economical climate, I am beginning to see a 'wind of change' in the way people dine. Where as before it was almost never an issue if you had a full 3 course meal with all the added extras, aperitifs, liqueur coffees, brandy and cigars e.t.c. Times have changed though and the Food Industry is beginning to see a dramatic shift in the way the country eats and drinks.

So as we move forward into 2009 and the recession begins to take hold, we are seeing a rise in the cost of produce, a rise in the cost of alcohol and the inevitable collapse of the Catering Industry as a whole. Having watched numerous companies fall at the feet of bankruptcy, mergers and takeovers, how long will it be until you find your local pub or restaurant fall at the hands of the economy? Many have already fallen foul to the "2 for 1" virus, despite the trade associations calling for calm and restraint. Is this really the way forward? Is the future of this Industry doomed to selling low-grade and sub-standard produce for a pound just so customers will grace their tables? Are we really losing the battle to the larger and more well known companies who can sell pints of beer and lager for 99 pence? The answer......It has already begun and a lot of privately owned restaurants, hotels and public houses have already crumbled under the pressure putting many in debt and many others in search of work!

As we watch our local eateries fall into a state of despair, we would hope for some words of wisdom from the very people who have help contribute to high produce prices and spend thrift customers. Many and baying for some sort of guidance from the ageing Messiahs, but to no avail. No words of encouragement, no shoulder to cry on and no ear turned in the direction of our plight. I speak, as always, of our 'gracious and God-like' Celebrity Chef!

To be quite honest, I am dumbstruck. For years now these Culinary Buddhas have been torturing and mangling our brains for vast wads of cash, but when we need them the most they are nowhere to be seen. apologies, they are on the TV but how are they assisting in this crisis?

Well, 'Mockney Boy' is currently taking on the EU over Pork and is pushing the price over and above an acceptable cost. This will then have an effect on every other meat and will push their prices even higher than before. The 'Poisoned Dwarf' is licking his wounds after having to shut down one of his pubs, The Greyhound, and has also seen a slump in the price of his 'knife collection' in most major stores. I actually bought three sets and use them for opening my mail, screwdrivers and opening tins of paint and varnish. Chef Ramsay appears to be in more difficulty than he is letting on with the rumour of severe financial problems and the possibility of being prosecuted by Companies House in relation to his accounts. Finally, and one that has really sent me reeling, is the new adverts of the Knorr Stocks Range. Marco, Marco, Marco......WHY??? I'm sure you don't need the money, but in promoting these products, you have signed a deal with a devil greater than yourself! For years you have promoted 'from scratch' cooking and now we see you using a product that is undoing all your good work.

As for the rest of our over-promoted cooks......where are they now when the Industry needs them the most?

Now the news and we start with some fantastic news.....

Luke Fredberg, TripAdvisor spokesman “The biggest and best dirtiest list is back, with TripAdvisor discovering that some hotels take the concept of offering dirt cheap rooms all too literally."

At last we will be able to discriminate correctly when choosing our city-based hotels. The return of the list is welcomed by many and will now name and shame the worst culprits of Health and Safety violations through reviews of their poor and unfortunate guests. Well Done TripAdvisor!

'Mockney Boy' is at it again and is urging Caterers to know the origin of its pork and the subsequent dishes that are produced from it. News Flash, 'Me dear old China Plate', it's called a PIG and has been around for some time, and that 'Me fluffy 'aired, Fireman Sam Role', is where Pork comes from!

And finally......On a lighter note, The Anstuthers Fish and Chip Shop in Fife, Scotland has won the award for 'Best Fish and Chip Shop in Scotland' for the forth year running. Not only that, but they have also been awarded the prestigious 'Best Fish and Chip Shop in Britain'. Congratulations to Robert and Alison Smith.

Our website is taking shape and is now looking almost reasonable. We expect it to be online to view within the next month or so. Anyone wishing to promote restaurants, hotels, blogs and anything else to do with catering please contact us either through the comments section or email us at

On that crispy and light battered note......

Le Chef Grincheux