Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Give my compliments to the Chef

I've just finished reading a book which starts (and finishes) with the words: Everything reminds me of something. This is a great blogging metaphor- if you sit and rack your brains for something to write about you can sometimes struggle. But if you just let the muse take you, something will set the mind off on a flight of fancy.

Sometimes the results are equivalent to a First Class journey on Singapore Airlines, other times the substitute bus rail replacement service from Bolton to Chorley.

Today's mental meandering was inspired by Terry Wogan who was on Radio 4's A Good Read this evening (click for listen again, although it may still be playing last week's programme or be long gone if this is an old post). Talking about Chefs, Terry described the type of person who becomes a senior chef as "madder than a box of biscuits", an odd metaphor, with no Google hits (yet).

This got me thinking of Chefs I knew moderately well and I could only dredge up two. The first was in a posh Restaurant/Hotel in Jesmond Dene, back in the mid 70s. My friend Keith had a casual job there dishwashing and I helped him out on a few occasions. Our dish washing station was in a corridor between the restaurant (which was in an old country house) and the actual kitchen so we could hear all of the chatter, shouting and tantrums. It was silver service and the serving platters came back with encrusted piped mash scorched onto the edges. We weren't supposed to put the cutlery through the dish washer because it wore out the silver plating but we did when there was nobody looking! For amusement, we used to throw carrots through the window Vent Axia fan and watch them come out the other side, sliced. (They were uneaten cooked ones, not raw!) The head chef was fairly young and used to be friendly but mischievous. He once said we could eat what we wanted and when we suggested chips he said "fine, get on with it". After we had peeled, chipped and fried a number of spuds he pointed out the buckets of ready peeled ones in water! He give us a lift home in the early hours and used to enjoy floorboarding the car, going round roundabouts the wrong way, squealing the wheels, going through red lights and so on. However, he did it very carefully as safely as possible, being fully aware of the road conditions. (This was in contrast to Keith who used to enjoy handbrake turns and got endorsements on his (not even issued) license when he was still fifteen!)

The second Chef was in complete contrast. He was called Colin, a bit of a miserable git and he worked in the Slough Golden Egg so production line worker might be a more apt job description. He was married to an equally curmudgeonly girl called Anne and they lived in Maidenhead. I met them at Maidenhead Eighteen Plus and it was the antitheses of the fun that 18+ was supposed to be. Aligned with another couple, they were caustic cold water to any fresh idea and took pleasure in upsetting others. They had an accidental catchphrase that we used to mock them mercilessly with behind their backs:

"What's the point of having kids if they're gonna get blown up?"


Of course, we all know and love a genuinely whacky fruitloop Chef but he is just a comic creation of Jim Henson. For your enjoyment, I give you (possibly Tom) the Swedish Chef.

6 comments:

Liz said...

Very good. Stooff the toorkey.

jmb said...

I enjoyed this meandering with video entertainment as well.
But you've driven me crazy because you didn't name the book. How am I supposed to answer when I see this in a "famous first lines" quiz?

Shades said...

jmb, I'm keeping my powder dry; that will be another blogpost!

Ian Appleby said...

And your title reminds me to ask - are you aware the SAHB are on tour? They're coming to Holmfirth, among other places. I wonder how many of the original line-up remain (it's at least x-1, obviously, and sadly).

Shades said...

Ian, I wasn't aware. It looks intriguing.

Wifey is tempted by Magnum!

They have some big names there in amongst the cover & trib acts.

Ian Appleby said...

I hadn't checked who else was on - that is a surprisingly impressive line-up, I agree.