Every time I think of my dad in a food situation the same things always comes to mind. How he would find any excuse to light up the braai (BBQ), savouring a bar of Lindt Chilli for days on end, the ridiculous amount of coffee he drank and how he very graciously accepted the rabbit cassoulet that I made specially for him even though it was sitting untouched in the back of his fridge more than a week later.
My dad was proud and highly supportive of what I did as a chef – even if he sometimes rather hid what I dropped off before trying something a tad too foreign for his palate.
So, after not posting anything for a while I’ve decided to get off my lazy ass, whip out the camera and post this.
Memories of my childhood always replays the same things – my grandmother baking, the early morning sounds of tractors ambling past our house on their way to the fields, holidays and weekends spent at the beach all day while my father fished with his friends.
It’s been twenty years or more since I experienced the last and the one thing that stands out like the swooping glare of a lighthouse at night is the memory of a freshly caught galjoen on an open fire.
At first sight a galjoen or black bream is not a particularly attractive fish, yet it holds a mighty flavor reinforced for me by many sense memories.
But let me tell you, that scaling and gutting a fish is a thankless job, albeit worth it at the end.
Yet the smell that lingers on my hands from the fishy intestines is far from unpleasant. It reminds me of my father and endless days spent at the beach watching him fishing and preparing his catch for dinner.
“Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.”
― Edna St. Vincent Millay
Imagine if you will a small (only in height) man who holds a striking resemblance to a caricature buddha. Now, he can’t reach up very high and at times sounds like a cat hacking up a hair ball, but in-between me bugging him to say things like ‘colorful creation’ so I can relish in his accent which is very intriguing and struggling to find a way to get past the language barrier we are both being fence sitters about, he’s still a pretty cool guy.
Now imagine this little ball of fun going through all the motions of running (going no where pretty damn fast) yelling “Puta! My foie gras.’
Funniest thing I heard all day.
Did I mention I love what I do. It’s great working in a restaurant where there is so much room for different avenues of creative expression. And it’s not just in the kitchen. The boss, head chef and myself are all keen photographers and while sometimes it can definitely turn into a case of my lens is bigger than yours, its fantastic to have such a broad spectrum involved with a single job.
Happiness is an expression of the soul in considered actions – Aristotle
Last Monday my bestest left South Africa for Spain. He had been employed on a luxury cruise liner and met the ship in Barcelona.
It sounds like he’s having a ball. The whole setup is so perfect for him, its astonishing.
Sure I miss him, but I’m so happy for him and will see him again in a few months.
In the meantime, I’m ‘following’ him around in the best way I can (Facebook, phone calls and Skype excluded. Bless technology).
They docked in Portofino, Italy, today and to me that means one thing: Ice Cream!
I remember the days when we worked together and he would sneak into my ice cream stocks when he thought I wasn’t looking. And I’ll never forget every time he mistook the Foie Gras ice cream for some other sweet treat.
To me there is only one way to make ice cream and that is using Pâte à Bombe. Think I’ll make a version of the nocciola, the chocolate hazelnut ice cream that is so popular in Portofino this week.
I love my Sundays. After a awesome (sometimes wrecking) week I love a good lie in.
With everything I need around me fighting for a spot, its pretty damn comfortable. Stacks of magazines, my laptop perched, the cup of coffee that I pretend magically appeared by itself. This is my time to check out whats new and happening. Wouldn’t give it up for anything and anyone.
Admittedly, the only things missing is cinnabuns fresh out of the oven.
Note to self: Don’t forget about the pastries for next time.