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
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!
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.