MATT PRE­STON

After spend­ing years hold­ing it in, the time has come to un­leash the things that I thought but never said to the most ego­tis­ti­cal chefs I’ve met

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Stellar Contents -

Lis­ten up, ego­tis­ti­cal chefs.

OVER the years, the good man­ners in­stilled in me by my dear mother have en­cour­aged me to bite my tongue when chefs say out­ra­geous, pre­pos­ter­ous and daft things. But, for one day only, with a dash of wag­gish hu­mour, I’ve un­gagged my­self to share how I re­ally wanted to re­spond.

Chef: My food is sea­sonal and lo­cal.

Me: Well, you’re hardly go­ing to cook from tins are you?

Chef: No, I mean we source all our in­gre­di­ents from lo­cal farm­ers.

Me: Yet you only sell ex­pen­sive im­ported bot­tled wa­ter.

Chef: I learned so much at El Bulli.

Me: Even though you were one of 40 un­paid vol­un­teer chefs for a four-week stint, col­lect­ing sea­wa­ter to wash fish and peel­ing peas.

Chef: My “phi­los­o­phy” is to en­hance what na­ture has given us.

Me: My phi­los­o­phy is to think you are a wee bit up your­self when you talk about your phi­los­o­phy.

Chef: I love mi­cro herbs.

Me: Be­cause they mean you can charge an ex­tra $15 for that dish.

Chef: That meat is cooked to perfection.

Me: So you like your pork raw? I don’t think I’ll be com­ing to your res­tau­rant.

Chef: There’s no money in restau­rants.

Me: Which is why your kids are at pri­vate school and your wife drives your other Fer­rari.

Chef: I live to cook for my cus­tomers.

Me: Which is why you’re al­ways out at launches, premieres and photo shoots?

Chef: De­li­cious­ness has no place in food.

Me: ???!!! One of the world’s great­est chefs told me this. It was something to do with de­li­cious­ness only ex­ist­ing when something was fa­mil­iar and that the true chef tries to cook something no one has cooked be­fore.

Chef: My cook­book was a best­seller.

Me: Com­pared to other chef cook­books, maybe, but it was far out­sold by Mind­ful Colour­ing: Vol 52, Pugs In Cos­tume and a

slew of cook­books writ­ten by those non-chef mag­a­zine food ed­i­tors you se­cretly de­spise.

Chef: I love my wife and chil­dren.

Me: And also some of your bet­ter­look­ing young floor staff from what I can gather from kitchen gossip.

Chef: Why do the me­dia al­ways write about X and not me?

Me: Be­cause he’s do­ing in­ter­est­ing stuff – un­like your de­riv­a­tive, try­hard menu. Or be­cause they don’t like you and your con­ceited ways.

Chef: All in­gre­di­ents have an equal gas­tro­nomic value.

Me: But you’d still rather use im­ported truf­fles and lob­ster than lo­cal sil­ver­beet and bone mar­row.

Chef: I’ve opened a chain of burger restau­rants be­cause I re­ally want to democra­tise my food.

Me: And be­cause your flag­ship fine-din­ing res­tau­rant is flail­ing.

Chef: You are go­ing to love this new dish from our de­vel­op­ment kitchen.

Me: It’s very closely based on something I’ve seen on the in­ter­net.

Chef: My grand­mother was my great­est in­flu­ence.

Me: So she also used a sous vide ma­chine and mal­todex­trin then?

Chef: Ten years ago we had two hats/ stars/rosettes, now we aren’t even

listed in your guide and it’s not like we’ve changed any­thing!

Me: Ex­actly.

Chef: Where is my f***ing limo?

Me: That one still leaves me in gob­s­macked si­lence.

Chef: I’m an award-win­ning chef.

Me: And yet I can’t find any ref­er­ence to what those awards ac­tu­ally are. Per­haps you won a lo­cal busi­ness award for keep­ing the foot­path clean?

Chef: Aus­tralian restau­rants are crim­i­nally un­der­priced.

Me: So glad to see you re­dress­ing that with a $54 en­tree. BTW isn’t the 10-course tast­ing menu at Asia’s top res­tau­rant, Gag­gan, only about $150?

Chef: I’m cur­rently work­ing on the pi­lot of my TV show.

Me: Be­cause there just aren’t enough chefs talk­ing about them­selves on the telly these days.

MATT PRE­STON

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