It’s not often that we blow our own trumpet in this blog, but we are sure you won’t begrudge us making an exception in the week that saw the celebration of International Chefs’ Day.
Yes, dear reader, there is a day dedicated to little old us!
And why not?
After all, we are the people who bring the food you eat to life, whether it’s in a three-star Michelin restaurant, a greasy spoon cafe, food truck or development kitchen, naturally!
As the great Thomas Kellar once said: “A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe.”
There are so many food programmes on television these days that give you an insight into life as a chef, but unless you’ve worked a shift in a kitchen during a busy service, you will never really understand what it’s like.
So, here is some ‘insider’ information on what it’s like to be a chef, along with a few tips:
- It’s hot, damn hot – you have never really experienced heat unless you have worked 12 hours slaving over a grill in a kitchen. Think being on holiday in 80-plus degrees heat but this time you are wearing full chef whites and surrounded by other sweaty people.
- It’s not like working in an office – well that is unless the office has all manner of things in it that could kill or maim you. Knives, boiling pans and the mini guillotine known as the mandolin are just some of the many hazards waiting to trip you up, literally, in a kitchen.
- It’s not a 9-5 job – well, unless you work in a development kitchen, but we have all spent time in restaurant kitchens before so have some respect and don’t turn up 10 minutes before closing at 11pm because the likelihood is that the chef who has been in since 9am that morning will probably not be inclined to make your meal a memorable one!
- Chefs are easy to feed – when we’re not at work, we are just as happy eating junk out of the freezer and we’ll never complain when someone makes us a meal.
- Don’t send food back – unless there is something seriously wrong with your dish, try to eat what we send out. If your steak was 20 seconds away from being cooked to your exact specification, then we’ve done a pretty good job there.
- Specials – yes, what we really mean by this is that we have ingredients that need using up, so we just whack them in a sauce and make you think you are ordering something unique. You’re not!
- Knives – never get in the way of a chef and his knife. It’s like our light-saber. Japanese chefs believe our soul goes into our knives once we start using them. You wouldn’t put your soul in a dishwasher would you?
- Alcohol – yes, chefs tend to drink, a lot. But never on the job.
- We’re not all like Gordon Ramsay – but if you are a shrinking violet, the kitchen probably isn’t the environment for you.
- Love – regardless of how difficult it can be, we become chefs for one reason, it’s the best job in the world!
Chargrilled spiced lamb chops with minted yoghurt
Marinated lamb chops:
- 12 lamb chops
- 8g coriander seeds
- 8g cumin seeds
- 8g Garam masala
- 8g Salt
- 7g turmeric
- 45g garlic puree
- 30g ginger
- 90g rapeseed oil
Dry roast the spices in hot pan to allow them to release
their full flavour, then put in a pestle and mortar and grind together with the
oil, garlic and ginger. Pour over the lamb chops and mix with your hand making
sure all the chops are covered. Allow to marinade for minimum of 1 hour. Put a
cast iron chargrill pan on a high heat. Start off by chargrilling the fat side
of the chop to first to start rendering the fat out, then chargrill each of the
meat side for about 2 minutes, once they have charred bar marks place in a
200oc oven for 4 minutes to serve pink. Longer for a more well done chop.
Lemon, mint and coriander yoghurt:
- 200g Natural yoghurt
- 1 diced green chilli (more if you like spice)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Handful of fresh chopped mint
- Handful of fresh chopped coriander
Mix all ingredients together.