The secret of French cooking
Occasionally, I find myself with the need to test the culinary review of a cross town rival (I’ll let the record speak for itself). I actually go and eat the pieces and stems of organic flotsam that someone has made to look appetizing (or not!). There was that time when I visited a local restaurant that was apparently (and apparently is not good enough) initiating their new French chef. I ordered the ‘whatever.’ Unable to decipher the arrangement or the substance, I called for my waiter. I simply asked, “What is this?” and he blanched (he too was undercooked). He recovered quickly with, “Would you like to discuss this with our chef?” I followed his lead and stepped into the kitchen. The chef was scowling so large that his lower lip stuck out 4 inches (I exaggerate not!). From that lip hung various kitchen utensils. As my glass of wine took effect I thought to myself, “This is the wrong person for me to meet!” (The right person would not have been wearing a goofy hat) but there I was so…I quickly tried to humor him.
ME: So, Chef, what would you say is the secret to your cooking?
CHEF: I owe it all to my mentor Chef Boy R. Dough.
ME: Don't you mean Chef Boy R. Dee?
CHEF: No, it was definitely Dough--he was a pastry chef.
ME: So, he is the one who taught you to cook?
CHEF: No. He did not teach me to cook, I learned from many, many books.
ME: But I thought…
CHEF: He taught me to be very, very, very picky.
ME: So, being picky is the secret of your cooking?
CHEF: Each morning we would rise at 4:30am and have coffee in a small café. Always the coffee-THE COFFEE! He would start in on the waitress, “This is not how you roast coffee! Bah, who grinds this stuff? It is all wrong! You call these beans? These are not coffee beans!” Pick, pick, pick.
ME: My, he was picky. Are you still in touch with him?
CHEF: No, unfortunately my friend and my mentor passed on. After his memorial and cremation, I’m the one who read through the exacting directions of his will. I carried out his wishes, though it was not easy, I had to claim his ashes, but I knew what he expected me to do.
ME: Interesting... So you were given instructions on how to… or where to…well anyway what to do about his ashes?
CHEF: Yes. I went to the funeral home to pick up his remains. It was my duty...I opened the lid and inspected his ashes. Then I told them, "You idiots, he distinctly ordered ‘dark roast’! You call this coarse grind? You call this a nice box?” Pick, Pick, pick. I do it for him, Chef Boy R. Dough.
I suspect his mentor is somewhere, resting in pieces.