Boring stuff

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Sunday, 27 February 2011

This is the one where we finally lose the plot.

You know in these times of austerity and widespread economic hardship we consider ourselves very lucky indeed to be at the helm of a successful business.We heard a couple of weeks ago that the pub has finally made it into the last of the guide books which we weren't in(toot toot)
So a very comfortable position for us,time to kick off our shoes,sit back a little,rest our heads on the antimacassars and toast our toes in front of a roaring fire.
A chance to feel a welcome respite from the pressure and enjoy the fruits of our labour,perhaps even take up a HOBBY.( I do actually have one in mind for when I retire, its a bit controversial might tell you about it at a later date..)
Actually no..
You know when you are chasing something and the anticipation is such that you can constantly  feel the excitement of getting close to your goal,but its just out of your reach and there's the danger that you might not quite make it?
I think its called adrenalin.(Or maybe the build up is invariably better than the main event,if you get my drift).
Then when you finally get there,it all feels a little bit,well FLAT...
We should be feeling like Charlie Bucket after he's discovered Willy Wonka's Golden Ticket,but what we actually feel like doing is going in search of another ticket..

Chef summed things up with typical but accurate brevity:
'That's it then..Its all a bit boring now isn't it'
Followed by:
'What are we going to do next ?'

Rural pubs are still closing at a rate of knots.Anyone entering this business in the current climate would need their head examining.

A glance at the trade press and its easy to find some amazing bargains just crying out for someone with a bit of enthusiasm(well to be honest you need more than enthusiasm,a bit of expertise and some spare cash wouldn't come in wrong) to snap them up..

(Its becoming a tad obvious where this is going isn't it..)


Imagine if you will,a rural pub,even further off the beaten track than this one, which is about to close its doors.A dying business,just waiting for someone to breathe new life into it.
Imagine balancing two businesses,one a thirty minute drive from the other,setting up one(this is the bit we're particularly interested in), whilst not taking ones eye off the ball with the other..now that would pose one hell of a challenge.

We pick up the keys in two weeks time.

I think there's a fair chance we're a couple of serial business start up offenders,hopefully this one wont be the first to go pear shaped...

Bizarrely I found this today,amongst the selection of antique books which I have scattered around the pub for customers to browse:


No one admits to leaving it and its certainly not one of mine..
Do you think its an omen??

So if things go a bit quiet on here for a while,you know why.
You can follow the chaos developments on Twitter @mynewpub ,if you're interested...

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Friction in the ranks

There's a run down pub in a village not very far away from here that's recently been purchased and has been the subject of quite an extensive refurbishment.
Today, I eavesdropped Compo,Clegg and Foggy having a good old chinwag about the money that's reputedly  been spent by the new owners.There was a lot of sniggering going on,lots of nudging and secretive whispering followed by raucous laughter,which needless to say sparked my interest.In truth, the comment which made me sit up and listen was the reference that 'it was obvious that one of the new owners hailed from the Big Smoke,due to his mode of attire'.
I was intrigued to discover which item of clothing in particular identified this fellows origins so precisely.Apparently the dead giveaway were the 'crumpled cream slacks' which are only ever seen on chaps from the Big Smoke ...
To put this observation in perspective,we are actually in the heart of Johnnie Boden/Fat face country here,so anyone wearing something even remotely cosmopolitan would be viewed as controversial.In fact on a Friday evening I would be very surprised if you looked around the bar and didn't manage to spot the same(current season of course) Fat Face sweatshirt at least twice.

Ahem,how can I put this diplomatically.. the gist of the conversation centred on the hilarity and exquisite aptness that these particular two gentlemen incomer owners had purchased a pub so named: 'The Queens Arms'.

This week saw the erection of the new pub sign:


The sign has caused a bit of an uproar,with some villagers even citing the outrage as treason..You probably cant make the out the detail from this picture but the tat on Lizzies arm appropriately depicts the name 'Phil'.
One of the partners has been quoted as advising that the cartoon represents his mother,his fathers name being 'Phil'.(Before you ask- no his name isnt Eddie)
The article in the local rag outlining the blasphemy contains the best quote I've seen in some time,possibly ever.
The local squire landowner(a Major no less),and regular customer of ours, was quoted thus: *dons raspberry corduroy pants,tan suede brogues,sucks in cheeks and adopts exceedingly plummy accent*:-


'some of our villagers are JOLLY CROSS..'

How I wish worldwide conflict could be resolved so politely..

Personally though not offended, I'm baffled at the audience a sign such as this seeks to target.Certainly not the betweeded ladies/gentlemen(of which there are plenty in these parts) who grace our fireside.

For some reason instead it evoked the memory of this particular gem:


BTW:We're off to check out the opposition next Monday.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

What I ate on St.Valentines Day

 8am-Mug of Earl Grey tea,bowl of yoghurt with blueberries
(I know out of season but special offer in Waitrose)


11am-2 Cadburys Creme eggs(80p each now-can you believe that?) and a bottle of Lucozade in the car on a 40 mile round trip up the Dales to view a pub
3pm-A bag of Salt 'n' Vinegar Hula Hoops,a Galaxy Ripple and a Cappuccino (back at home).
As you can see basically nothing eaten all day (other than trash),so ready for a good feed..
6pm-Newcastle Quayside for drinks,looking at The Sage across the river.


The Millennium Bridge at night

 7.15pm-We arrive at the restaurant politely on time,we like this place, treated our staff to their Christmas meal here.Quite a raucous evening(hope we're not recognised).
We were offered the regular menu or the 'Valentines Special Menu' (see below).Due to our line of work its the first Valentines night we've been out in twenty years, so we decide to treat ourselves and opt for the special.
Chef is allergic to squid,so we requested they leave this off the platter(just in case of fatality).We cheekily asked if we could have a couple of crispy chicken wings instead from the regular menu.
Chef enquired if the beef was served medium rare.
'It can be if you like'replied the waitress.
'Yes, medium rare please'said Chef.
We sat back to enjoy our drinks whilst waiting for the seafood platter starter to arrive.A chilled Chablis for me,Becks blue for Chef(driving again-he pulled the short straw).

The seafood platter.
4 scallops,3 shell on king prawns,two chicken wings(bottom left-cropped off photo),half a lobster.Bowl of rocket salad.The small white pot is the Calamari which was sent anyway-I wondered if the waitress hadn't realised that this was the squid Chef was allergic to.Sadly it was of no use to use us, I couldn't eat this either as it was breadcrumbed(gluten allergy).
We frowned quizzically in unison, as a small bowl of 4 turned (torpedo shaped)potatoes and some greens arrived at the table (just out of shot on the photo).
'Thats a bit weird' says I.
'Mmm indeed,yes' said Chef,tucking in anyway..'probably meant for another table..'
I allowed Chef to gorge the lions share of the platter as I was looking forward to filling up on the rib of beef.
I politely consumed:
  • 1 prawn
  • 2 Scallops
  • half of a half of lobster(2 bites)
  • 1 turned potato
  • greens


 We sat back and awaited our rib of beef with anticipation.Presently,I nipped out to the loo.As I returned I observed the waitress was back at the table with menus.

'Would you like any desserts or coffee?'
'What??'said Chef....'what about our main course??'
Short stunned silence....
'But the seafood platter was your main course..'
'I thought it was a bit weird that it came with a bowl of spuds'  says I..'but we asked you if we could have the beef medium rare and you said Yes that's ok...'

The waitress  gave us a look of horror, then with out a word ran to the safety of the bar and didn't return to our table for the remainder of the evening.
A hard faced bitch different waitress was despatched to our table.
'Ill just explain what the sharing desserts are'  she advised condescendingly.......'because its quite complicated..'
'Its ok' said I, sheepishly, 'we're not stupid....'

We didn't bother with the sharing dessert.The evening had become a tad flat b'now.
Pannacotta

Rhubarb trifle

8.30pm-Just over an hour after our arrival bill £74.50 paid, but sadly hunger not sated....

 9pm- back at home,Chef felt sorry for me and made this.

And I ploughed my way through half of these.




Question:-Are we a couple of planks? or would you have made the same mistake??

There's a valuable lesson to be learned from this experience.Always instruct staff that if they're unsure of what any diner has ordered to clarify at the table and not to make assumptions.I mean, did she think we were enquiring after the rib of beef out of polite interest??
Had we been informed the seafood platter was a main course:

a.we wouldn't have ordered it in the first place(would have preferred the beef)
b.we would have ordered starters.
c.we wouldn't have gone away disappointed
d.she wouldn't have cost the restaurant in lost revenue.
(Oh and one other thing,why didn't she offer us something else when she knew we were still hungry???)


Next year we're going to open for business as usual and fleece some unsuspecting diners instead..
much simpler.......



Sunday, 13 February 2011

Service!

I'm not really one for reality TV programmes but I've really enjoyed watching Michels Roux's service.Aren't Michel and Fred Sirieilx such brilliant ambassadors for the industry? So much enthusiasm, professionalism and patience with the trainees,I hope the programme helps to raise awareness in this country of Front of House service as a possible career choice rather than just a stopping off post to something else.

I once met Monsieur Albert Roux, albeit briefly.
Many years ago I worked at a country house hotel.The Sous Chef was a nasty piece of work who made the lives of all the waiting staff a living hell. At the time Gary Rhodes was at the height of his TV Chefdom.Sharing a name with his idol was a constant source of pleasure to Gary Sous Chef,predictably, his hair was pimped up in a similar fashion.God I hated him with a passion.
I'm a strong believer that if you wait long enough,the opportunity will present itself to give individuals such as this their come uppance.
News filtered up from reception late one afternoon that Monsieur Albert Roux would be arriving later that evening.Never being one to miss out on an opportunity for self promotion,Gary Sous Chef conscientiously offered to stay back late after service in the event that the great man might require any manner of  refreshment.
He spent all evening preparing a plate of canapes,consisting mainly of smoked salmon and cream cheese pin wheels which were a staple on every buffet at the time.Quite basic stuff really.There were a few other bits and pieces, nothing notable.The plate of delicacies was placed in the fridge with a damp tea towel on top to prevent the treats from drying out.(Yes folks, that's how those assorted buffet sandwiches are kept moist prior to being displayed on your buffet..the Chef will hold a clean(hopefully)tea towel under the cold tap,then wring it out and place carefully over the top of the flat of sarnies.Delicious).
That evening I wheeled the plate of delicacies up to Monsieur Roux's room on a linen clad hostess trolley(country house hotel style).Later, I returned to collect said trolley and when arriving back at the kitchen, as expected Gary Sous Chef was waiting eagerly to check the contents of the plate(yes that's also what we do,check your plates to see if you've left anything..).It had all been eaten.His face was beaming with contentment,he actually flashed me the first smile Id ever had from him,he was positively basking in the reflected glory of his success and fishing for further positive feedback:
'What did he say??Did he like them???'
My chance had finally come.I looked up at him and smiled.I held his gaze,just for a minute to prolong his agony.I spoke calmly and in even tone:

'You bloody idiot,do you really think that a man such as that,coming as he does from the very Temple of Gastronomy is going to be impressed by your bloody stupid poncey salmon sandwiches??Is that the best you can do??The reason he ate them is because he's been travelling all bloody day and he's bleeping starving.Alternatively, he may have binned them in the room to avoid upsetting you,Id have a word with the chambermaids in the morning if I was you...'
Past experience taught me that I had around ten seconds before he exploded.I counted down from ten in my head...

10,9..
look of disbelief beginning to register on his face...
8,7
 breathing becoming short and laboured...
6,5
Starting to fill up with colour,face twitching uncontrollably..
4,3
visibly shaking with anger now,not much more time to go,but I stayed as long as I dared..to enjoy the moment...
2,1
lift off....

I ran ,feet barely touching the non slip safety flooring to the refuge of the fine dining restaurant.
I could see him through the port hole in the door.He didn't dare cross the line between kitchen territory and front of house.He looked like the Incredible Hulk shaking his fist at me,beetroot red though, not green.I strolled around a bit in his line of vision,glancing up periodically and smiling contentedly,I may even have waved at him..
I steered well clear of the kitchen for the next few days,staff meals were an absolute no no, just in case he pulled the laxative trick.
I survived the next few days on dried out leftover banqueting meals courtesy of the Alto Sham.It was worth it though,it may well indeed have been my finest hour...

Service standard can have such an impact on the eating out experience. I'm not saying outstanding service can make up for a bad meal but it definitely softens the blow, as Fred rightly said in the programme:
' if you smile you can get away with anything'.
Well almost anything..

Last Monday we ate at a local pub where one of the Masterchef semi finalists *may* in fact be Chef. Rather than post a negative review,I thought we'd just use the experience as a positive learning curve..


We didn't have a reservation but being a Monday we just headed out on the off chance.
Approaching the bar we were asked if we would like a table.A good start.It was 6pm and wasn't busy.We purchased a drink and were left standing at the bar like a couple of spare parts.After about 10 minutes we were shown to a table.Now at this point there were very few people in the pub,and no one ordering food.

Lesson 1:
Always get early diners seated quickly so that you can get an order to kitchen promptly, thus avoiding a backlog later.Easy.


Seated at the table we were presented with a menu and asked if we would like to 'order a bottle of wine for the table'.(for the table?? what an odd turn of phrase..)
'No' I replied 'Ill just stick to glasses' Chef was driving(his turn).
With the delay,at this point our drinks were almost finished(no flies on us).
In addition to the printed menu,we were informed there was also a specials board which we could choose from(in the bar)so trudged back to the bar to look at it.
We enjoyed a further 10-15 mins chat before our order was taken
Lesson 2:
If there's a specials menu not visible from the seating area,make sure you point this out to your guests prior to sitting at the table(we observed this happen twice more-some of the diners were elderly and moderately infirm)..Or here's a novel idea, why not get the waiting staff to advise diners personally at the table of the specials,providing an opportunity for some dialogue???

By now our drinks were quaffed,frustratingly we were sitting with vacant glasses.
In the time we'd sat at the table waiting for our order to be taken four more tables were seated.The dining area was quite large,yet the staff chose to seat everyone at the top end of the restaurant on tables sited cosily together.So close, that once chairs were pulled out waiting staff  could not negotiate the gap between without asking diners to shuffle chairs in.We were in the middle of the melee,surrounded on all sides.
The waiting staff(we observed 8)were all congregated at the other end of the restaurant unable to see easily what was going on.It was a game of two halves,'arry.We wondered how long it would be before we were offered another drink.After 20minutes with empty glasses I was parched.Chef wondered if he should make an expedition to the the bar to procure another round,but didn't fancy attempting the narrow space between the tables.He stayed put.The waiting turned into a test of how long it would be before we were offered a beverage.
Lesson 3:
Make sure your staff are positioned so they can easily observe what is going on at diners tables and don't crowd everyone into one area if you don't need to.


As we played the waiting game,we observed staff speedily take orders from all four tables that were now seated, in the space of about 5 minutes.Lets think this through.Though there's more space and usually more staff(except in ours) in a commercial kitchen, why cause unnecessary pressure?Imagine plating up meals at home for 20 people when you could choose to do a few at a time.The same principles apply to a commercial kitchen, I often think people surmise all meals are in the oven cooking just on the off chance the local rugby team might stop by for dinner.Oddly, they're only cooked if someone orders them,so if 20 people order meals at the same time inevitably there will be a wait.Seemples.
Lesson 4:
Stagger the orders in order to avoid the kitchen being in the shit and subsequent unhappy diners.




By now we were seriously considering squeezing past the other diners to solicit a drink,it had got to that stage where one was beginning to regret cutting off ones nose to spite ones face(I mean I only get one night off per week what's the point in going thirsty just for the sake if a stupid test?)
At this point a waitress came over to tell us that our food wouldn't be long.Yes you've guessed it we had been waiting a while *obviously* since all the orders had been checked on together..I was just about to order myself a drink when she spotted the empty glasses and offered.Thank God.We'd sat for 35 minutes at this point..
Lesson 5:
Offer additional drinks to guests a regular intervals.Its the easiest way to increase sales/ensure the profitability of the business- I never refuse a drink if its suggested..


For a further 35 minutes we amusedly observed diners at the tables around us becoming increasingly agitated due to no meals appearing and during which time the eight waiting staff remained at the far end of the room with no interaction with the guests.Every time the kitchen door opened 20 heads turned with eager anticipation,we heard the phrase 'this must be ours' muttered repeatedly. Coincidentally, I once worked with a girl who took great pleasure in purposely doing exactly this.By the time she was finished with her guests they were more akin to a Centre court crowd at Wimbledon than a restaurant full of diners.Tres amuseant..
Lesson 6:
Don't keep going into the kitchen if its not to collect meals,this will only heighten the sense of disappointment for diners as their hopes are repeatedly raised,then dashed.


Our meals came out first.This is mine.

Savoy overload


At this point Id like to go back to the comment made by Fred :
'If you smile you can get away with anything'.


And Chefs:
Rare steak?......methinks not.And look at all that cutlery on the table-we hadn't even ordered a pud...


Now, if we'd had attentive service and an all round enjoyable evening then perhaps the meal I was finally presented with might have seemed a little better.It certainly wasn't disgusting,
The lamb chops had obviously been cooked 'Sous vide'.They were very tender(almost sponge like in appearance) though not particularly tasty.The fat was white and flabby. I've been reading up a bit more on this subject and have had a few conversations on Twitter about this cooking method. I've come to the conclusion that it has its place though we're still undecided as to whether it will suit our style of cooking.Clearly on this occasion the vac pack and waterbath hadn't been used correctly,the meat was unseasoned and it certainly needed to be finished off in a pan to crisp.I wondered whether the Chef had been forced to cut corners due to the checks all coming on together and whether he'd been forced to compromise standards in order to get the meals out in a reasonable time.Maybe he cut out the last important(but vital) stage of the cooking process  and simply snipped the vac bag and placed the lamb on the plate.The temptation to do this under pressurised situations must definitely exist.
As one Chef said to me the other day:'you cant replace skill with equipment'.And if the equipment isn't being used correctly then its there's no point.


Full marks to the Chef though for picking up on the fact that I'm anaemic..


Finally,
Lesson 7:
Having the proverbial 'more staff than customers' doesn't guarantee good service. Far better to have four well trained staff who are kept busy,than eight who are standing idle. If staff look busy diners will be more patient and it will buy an up-the-wall kitchen valuable time...


Rack of lamb cooked in the conventional fashion,outside caramelised,pink in't middle.

PS.This is the lamb dish which we had on our menu last night,not wanting to blow ones own trumpet,but I know which one Id rather eat..

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Chef's Ass

Calm down.This isn't what you think it is,if you've stumbled by as a result of some dodgy internet search then I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed.Lets just take a moment to admire John Wayne's statuesque pose whilst you sling your hook.


I had a bit of a panic on yesterday lunchtime.We couldn't get the door to the pub open which when you think about it is quite fundamental to the success of the business.We messed around pulling at the door in case the torrential overnight rain had resulted in it swelling and the lock not turning(even going out via the back door and coming round the front to give it an almighty kick) but despite prolonged fiddling the key still refused to turn.By five past twelve there were around twenty people queued up outside who ordinarily might have been amused by the comedic shenanigans but given the gale force winds and rain I'm sure there were better ways to spend ones Saturday lunchtime.
In desperation I sent for Chef,perhaps his brute force might effect a result.As he stepped up to the oche I glimpsed a momentary look of dismay on his face as he clocked the increasingly impatient punters queueing orderly outside.He glanced briefly at me then calmly took hold of the handle and effortlessly pushed open the door.
The reason the key wouldn't turn was because it was already open,in fact it had remained unlocked ALL NIGHT.

 It was obvious Chef was now questioning the wisdom of  last nights late poker game and subsequent unsatisfactory short sleep.
You see, normally he is the responsible one in our relationship,he follows me around turning off electrical appliances,locking doors and has only recently convinced me to stop  leaving my car keys in the ignition 'just so I know where they are'.(serial car keys misplacer).He's very organised and meticulously plans ahead, unlike Moi who much prefers to let things happen,on the odd occasion I have witnessed the phrase 'daft as a ships cat' directed at me.
Unsurprisingly, he always takes responsibility for battening the hatches at night.
So in a rare and unexpectedly welcome role reversal, I was strutting around the kitchen with an unbearably smug face and Chef was uncharacteristically quiet.
By late afternoon the Karma police had caught up with him,clearly all was not well.

I  sensed by his waddling gait that there was indeed a problem.
I suspected he may be suffering a particularly shockingly severe case of Chef's Ass.
What's Chefs Ass I hear you say?

(NB Also known in the trade as Chefs A*se I've avoided this word in an effort to avoid being inundated with  Chef fettish interweb surfers of which there must be MANY judging by the search words which have brought weirdos individuals to this blog in the past few weeks..)

Well let me tell you, Chefs Ass *big wink* is no laughing matter.
Chefs Ass, *adopts serious face* is an occupational hazard of the busy Chef,which strikes without impunity or warning.A debilitating and quite painful condition usually occurring following extended periods endured in hot and sweaty kitchen temperatures, the resultant chafing twixt the cheeks of the ass causing extreme soreness and discomfort.


'Everything all right' (smirking).

'yes fine' (clearly not fine..)

I snapped this sneaky photo as Chef plated up at the pass.Please note,adopting a John Wayne stance is not his usual Modus Operandi...



Later that night my suspicions were confirmed(YESS!!) as I went to turn off the light in the Gents loo and something caught my eye just inside the cubicle.The sprinkling of fine white powder visible on the floor(no not that sort of powder,that sort of thing doesn't go on in this neck of the woods..)was a dead give away.
You see,the only product that successfully relieves the symptoms of Chefs Ass is a liberal dusting over the affected area with cornflour.The silky properties of this particular store cupboard ingredient  both soothes and lubricates the inflammation,allowing the delicate surface skin to recover. 
(BTW I've often wondered if Custard powder, preferably Birds,would do a similar job..has anyone ever tried ??)

Now here's the puzzling thing.In over ten years of working in searingly hot kitchens, I've yet to be stricken by this condition.Chef might try to suggest that its because I don't work so hard as he does,but I'm sure there's a much more scientific explanation.It may be something to do with gender and perhaps the physical attributes of the respective male/female ass.Possibly the wider child bearing female hips afford some protection in that the cheeks aren't forced together so closely, thus reducing friction.Or perhaps its to do with a gentleman's hind quarters being firm and (ideally) muscular whereas a ladies derriere(how can I put this politely) being an altogether more peachy proposition?

What do you think?
I'm particularly interested in feedback from any female Chefs out there,am I a freak or working in this industry should I just be thankful that I don't have those elusive buns of steel?
I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Politically incorrect post

Chef tells me that Andy Gray has been the Face of Sky Sport Football for 20 years,that being the case,I cant imagine that in the whole of that 20 years there hasn't been another occasion when he and Richard(wax m'hands please) Keys have been overheard to enjoy a similar blatantly sexist exchange of views.

(BTW has anyone else noticed that Marcus Wareing seems to be similarly challenged,on the hair front?

Sporting arms reminiscent of  an AW10 Shearling jacket must pose a potentially dangerous fire hazard in any kitchen,worthy surely of a mention in the legally required Fire Risk Assessment.Makes me wonder how much cooking he actually does given that our lower arms are permanently hair free due to being singed on a daily basis.Though he could possibly be wearing gauntlets at the stove...)

Not that I'm condoning their Neanderthal banter,of course,but the publication of Gray and Keys' conversation must be viewed as a timely occurrence with perhaps more focus on monetary matters than any real outrage from Sky Sports.Gray was ripe for the flick,I hope he's the first male victim of the ageism on telly vendetta.

Coincidentally, I used to work in professional sport and in my experience their exchange was moderately mild compared to some of the conversations I've witnessed,and I'm not just talking of the male contingent here.A particularly memorable occasion which springs to mind being a back office discussion following a visit from a representative of a well known lingerie company, tasked to kit out the team with some trendy smalls(or not so small as later proven).The ensuing discussion debated the comparative attributes of  various  members of the team,with one notable individual being singled out for particular praise attention due to apparently being(Yeee-haaa!!) 'hung like a donkey....'.

In consideration of the vociferous and often over enthusiastic language interactions which occur regularly during particularly fraught times,in the event of our kitchen being bugged, Chef says we'd have no other option than to sack each other..

We experienced our own little politically incorrect incident last Sunday.In the midst of the usual manically busy lunchtime service this note was passed to the kitchen.My apologies in advance for any offence caused by the terminology,which is clearly outdated.To be fair the chap who penned this will have had no intention of it being bandied about the internet,but given that he's already retired, the danger of any resultant sacking is nil.




I posted the note on twitter,off the cuff, as it had given us a laugh.As a result I've unexpectedly  received pressure from certain parties to post a photo of said 'hot chef.'
There is no way I would dare post a photo of Chef for public perusal as:

a.posting pictures of Chef on line has landed me in trouble before.When facebook first became popular I created myself an account,but had no friends so(as you do), I created a profile for Chef and then made friends with myself.Subsequently Chef was inundated with e mail notifications of friend requests from an assortment of ex colleagues,school friends and other random people that he had no recollection of.He was actually quite ticked off,instructing me to take the thing down immediately lest people think him ignorant for not replying.

b.he knows I write this blog but is blissfully unaware of the content or even that he features heavily in a starring role.In addition, he doesn't agree with Facebook or Twitter(I have enough friends-why would I want any more??)so would be most displeased to find his portrait up here.

Image is so important  isn't it?I was once asked to provide a current photo with a job application and was so enraged that my physical appearance might be a factor in securing me the post that I cut a photograph of an attractive model from a magazine and stuck it to the application form.When I arrived for the interview I could see the interviewer glancing quizzically and repeatedly at my application form, with furrowed brow.
So, in the spirit of this little escapade and by way of a consolation, I thought I'd source a couple of tasty Chef pictures instead from the interwebs.

[cough]I've always had a bit of a thing for The Great White.Though lately admittedly he and I haven't exactly been seeing eye to eye. In the past I've overlooked his inept and at times tedious overuse of the word 'proper' within his menus,though he must be held responsible for the gut wrenchingly distasteful use of this word on many gastropub menus:
'Proper Prawn Cocktail' [sic] ick....
An example of the offending usage seen here in the form 'properly'

Which appeared in here...

FYI this apparently is the 'proper' way to garnish smoked salmon..

Lets also draw a veil over his Shepherd in the Nativity play period and just thank God he drew the line at the dressing gown..Ditto the Knorr stock cube episode..and please,don't even mention turkey twizzlers...

If I'm honest his main attraction was always his applaudable reluctance to answer the call of TV Chefdom and his somewhat enigmatic maintenance of some semblance of anonymity.

That and the Bob Carlos Clarke photos.










Has there ever been a hotter Chef?






Pity he failed to identify his USP....

In other news and continuing synchronistically with the non PC theme, we've advertised for staff and have intriguingly had an application from one Mr David Brent.
Cant wait to check out his moves meet him for interview.
More later...

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