Tuesday, October 1, 2013
The Messy Chef
The deep white pan with our roasted italian vegetables has been removed from the oven to make room for a gluten free baked chocolate lava pudding. The aroma from soft purple onions, long slices of tender carrot, plump moist mushrooms and herbs from our garden fill the kitchen. Every burner on the induction cook top is either steaming, simmering, sizzling or gently heating.
He flurries about the kitchen in a type of contemporary dance, tasting his recipes before cracking fresh pepper and sea salt to season our scotch fillet steaks. He rubs herbs between his palms before allowing them to fall onto the tender meat as it hisses away in the hot cast iron pan. He lowers a spoon into a red wine jus with fresh rosemary from my herb garden before dropping plump slices of shitake mushrooms, and a single bay leaf into the burgundy sauce. Minutes later, he stirs through a a blob of semi-melted butter. Tiny spirals of steam rise from the spoon as he blows on it before offering the liquid gold to my lips, seeking my approval. The sauce is glossy, aromatic, rich and flavoursome. I wonder if I could partner this sauce with a gluten free vegetable pie or perhaps roast chicken, it's so delicious I must stop myself having a second spoonful.
Local honey is drizzled into the sweet potato mash, along with local butter and more seasoning. The broccoli is simmered until vibrant green and slightly crunchy before he drains the large florets in a colander over our sink. The floor is covered in drips of water, garlic skin, the odd slice of carrot and now a splatter from a spoon that has accidentally been dropped, before being thrust into the deep sink. I'm on washing duty tonight, I feel my heart drop slightly as I take in the impressively stacked tower of dirty bowls, knives, chopping boards and the empty colander, all haphazardly piled into an architecturally unsound mountain. It never ceases to amaze me that Byron will use almost every pan, pot and dish in the kitchen but only the one dessert spoon to taste the various dishes. Are chefs messy by trade? Working in a large kitchen, they usually have a 'dishy' assigned to create sparkling miracles on the sideline.
Tonight I am the dishy 'dishy'- Ha ha! I laugh triumphantly. My payment is better than the sixteen dollars an hour I used to make when I slaved my way through restaurants, bars, cafes and functions as a poor student. I recall once working for ten dollars an hour in a fish and chip store in a tiny seaside town. That was the busiest easter of my life.
Tonight however, we dine on the finest restaurant quality food. We grow what we can to contribute to our plates and shop locally to support our neighbourhood growers, farmers and beekeepers. The food is exceptional, worth every mouthful, a treat for the senses. My husband, you may be a messy chef but I love what you do with your imagination, your hands and your passion for cooking. I might take longer to prepare our meals, usually because I clean as I go but the different cooking styles reflect our different personalities in the kitchen and honestly, I wouldn't want it any other way.
Do you live with a chef? Perhaps you are a chef or cook by trade... Can you relate to Byron's whirlwind style of cooking? Do you take your time when cooking at home, like me? I'd love to hear what meal times are like in your household, please share your stories in the comments.
Love Bella xx