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In the Company of Chefs


In his book Kitchen ConfidentialAnthony Bourdain described working in the kitchen like

being on a pirate crew. Chefs are a bit of a rough and tumble crowd. They spend their lives playing with knives and fire. Their busiest work hours occur when the rest of the world finally settles down. They spend hours in cramped conditions while fires, tempers, and egos flare. When their shift is finally over, once the final beer has been emptied, they return home weary with fresh battle scars on their hands.

The shiny, clean, non-potty mouthed versions of chefs portrayed on food network seem a bit disturbing to me. Real world chefs are more Bourdain and Gordon Ramsey than Rachel Ray. Pixar‘s Ratatouille did a better job of portraying your common kitchen characters than the Food Network really does. You know the guy who supposedly killed a person using only his thumb? Those are my kind of guys. In a bit of a side note, Pixar actually consulted with Chef Thomas Keller of The French Laundry during their production. Thomas Keller is one of the top chefs in the country right now and I would love to eat in his restaurant someday. Ratatouille’s legit. Ahem. Anyway, I’m not a chef, so how do I know about their wily ways? I’m married to one, and therefore married into the pirate crew.

I generally get the same reaction from all women when I tell them that my husband is a chef. They sigh and become extremely jealous exclaiming, “Oh my God! You’re so lucky!” I’m sure they all have this picture in their mind of coming home from a long day of work and finding Fabio in chef whites (hair still blowing alluringly in the wind somehow). He lays out a gorgeous gourmet meal for two, complete with candlelight and flowers with some sexy mood music playing softly in the background. I have to admit that there is something incredibly sexy about a man who can cook and my hubby does look pretty amazing in his whites, but the whole Fabio scenario is far from the reality. We actually eat a lot of Chinese takeout.

I have the good fortune to be married to a romantic. He does give me those lavish gourmet dinners when we have time and when we

My Chef, Jeff

can afford those kinds of groceries. What the chef groupies don’t understand, is that chefs have a very rough schedule. They work long hours over nights, weekends, and holidays. We have to celebrate Valentine’s Day a few days before or after because a chef would be laughed out of the kitchen if he tried to take that, the busiest of restaurant nights off. Chef groupies don’t imagine soothing burned hands and patching up cuts. I actually had to fetch half of my husband’s finger off of a mandolin slicer once. I’m scarred for life.

The best part of being in the company of culinarians is the adventure. We vacation with our stomachs. We are always seeking out new restaurants to visit and new and strange foods to try. Going to dinner with a group of chefs is a unique experience. The menu and our choices are thoroughly discussed before we even talk to the server.

No one will order the same thing off of the menu. When we receive our food, a communion of sharing and tasting dishes commences. We pass our plates around, and if something is exceptionally good, there is much shouting and elation. We have terrible table manners and the restaurant people either seem to love us or hate us. I guess it’s a good thing that the culinary community is a small, tight- knit network. All of the local chefs seem to know each other, so our antics are generally well-tolerated and even appreciated at times.

So, do you still want a chef in your life? Here’s my advice:

1. Be open to new experiences.
2. Do NOT be a picky eater. I’m not much of a veggie fan, but I am willing to try brains, so it works.
3. Leave you prudeness at the door. Cuss words will fly and massively inappropriate conversations will be had. You’re on a pirate crew now, remember?
4. Stop caring about things like Valentine’s Day. Know he loves you and don’t make him feel bad about not being with you on that particular “holiday.”
5. Get over any blood aversions. You’re a nurse now!
6. Cook for him once in a while. He’ll appreciate it, even if it’s just mac & cheese.

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About melaniekoraleski

Hello everyone! I am a graphic artist/makeup-artist-in-training/bookworm from Omaha, NE. I write about whatever happens to be floating around in my brain at the moment. Stop by my blog and take a look around. Cheers!

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