Cater­ing to the lasses

The Central Voice - - Editorial - Terry Bursey

Pssst! Come here a mo­ment. I want to tell you a se­cret. It’s not as juicy a se­cret as you might think, but to me it’s al­ways been one worth hid­ing.

You see, for the past four years or so I’ve been se­cretly work­ing part time as a pri­vate caterer. Through word of mouth I’ve man­aged 19 pri­vate cook­ing gigs, but one thing that this un­der­cover culi­nary work has taught me is that one’s taste in food tends to grow more ec­cen­tric with the amount of money and in­flu­ence that they have.

There was the cou­ple from Ja­pan that hired me to pre­pare live oc­to­pus udon and yel­low­tail sole sashimi. They didn’t speak any English and re­lied solely (pun in­tended) on my ter­ri­ble Ja­panese, but money speaks clearly in any lan­guage. Then there was the jour­nal­ist. She liked ex­otic cur­ries pre­pared so spicy that I couldn’t help but call her a sucker for pun­ish­ment. She ex­plained that the pain was the en­tire point… and that if I saw her bed­room, I would un­der­stand.

I had a very po­lit­i­cal (wink, wink) client whom lived in a hid­den cliffside home. He pro­claimed there would be com­plete si­lence while he ate his meal in front of his fam­ily and that tra­di­tion called for him to eat first. His fam­ily would be served only af­ter he had fin­ished eat­ing. The sym­bol­ism and over­all weird­ness proved too much, and I was dis­missed for openly laugh­ing at it.

Look­ing back now, my favourite se­cret cater­ing job thus far was when I was still be­ing shown the ropes of the biz by my good men­tor, Chef Britt. She man­aged to score us a gig cook­ing for some semi­fa­mous Scot­tish YouTu­bers and their small party of friends at an event that they aptly named “The Ghost Party”. It’s the event where I was taught how to make a tra­di­tional Scot­tish favourite called: un­til ten­der and mash im­me­di­ately. While still warm, com­bine with flour and half your mar­garine to cre­ate scone dough. Roll out ap­prox­i­mately 1” thick in floured sur­face, cover in plas­tic wrap and set aside. In a large pan on medium high heat, fry your ba­con un­til crispy along with your sliced mush­rooms. Re­move all from pan but re­serve ba­con fat.

Cut 4 cir­cles from the dough us­ing a mug and fry in the ba­con fat un­til golden brown on both sides. In a sep­a­rate but­tered pan, fry 4 eggs to de­sired done­ness on medium low heat to avoid crisp whites.

Hol­landaise: In mi­crowave safe bowl by beat­ing egg yolks, le­mon juice and cayenne pepper with salt for 20 sec­onds, mi­crowave for 15 sec­onds and whisk again.

Serv­ing: Top each scone in order with cheese, ba­con, mush­rooms, egg and hol­landaise.

What set this gig apart from the oth­ers was the way that they ate. They were care­free young­sters to be sure – around the same age as me at the time… but they threw their food more than they ate it and seemed to de­light in they could get away with it due to their slight fame. Per­son­ally, I got a kick out of it.

Chef Britt be­came Chef Quit af­ter that fi­asco though. It may or may not have been due to me join­ing the food fight and ac­ci­dently mak­ing Chef cry.

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