A 'seven-things' meme landed in my in-box, here are seven memorable kitchen moments:
1. I am 18, in Athens, I have a job in a restaurant kitchen. I arrive in the morning to wash up piles of plates stacked on the floor. There is a toy sink in a room the size of a shower cubicle. I have tepid water and the last gasp in the bottle of washing-up liquid at my disposal. As I pile up the plates on the draining board the cats start using them as stepping stones to come in from the roof through the ceiling window.
2. A few months later I’m in Amsterdam, an employment agency has sent me to a family home where they have told me that I will be required to babysit for a couple of hours. I am met by a woman in a hurry to leave. She says that I should have dinner on the table by 7pm and I’ll find what I need in the fridge. At 7pm there is an old man shouting at me to get the table laid. While I’m doing that, the chops catch fire. The food I set before these people has many faults but the man decides to focus on the fact that there is no gravy, he gets really noisy. I hear his plate hitting the wall as I run out of the door.
3. Aged 19 I am supposed to waitressing in a restaurant but I am in the kitchen watching the chef at work.
4. I am being interviewed in a pub kitchen, I have applied for a job as a barmaid, the bar manager hasn’t actually read my cv, just the name of the restaurant I last worked at (as a waitress) he assumes that I am applying for the cook’s job. I went along with it - and got the job.
5. Three months later I bump into the chef from kitchen 3, now working at a posher restaurant she asks me to be her sous chef. In this restaurant kitchen the proprietor tells me that the waitresses will classify the customers by putting an alphabetical code on their order, AA being the best, these customers will get favourable treatment. I ask what happens if I see a 'C' on the order
It’ll be a couple of lesbians drinking tap water - give them the bum end of the paté or anything else you want to get rid of
6. Aged 22 and working as a freelance cook, I have a contract to provide lunches for a Sexy Beast architect and his clients in a country mansion. Sexy Beast’s wives wear fishnet tights, shorts and thigh boots. Lining the corridors are explicit photographs taken by the Beast. The house is built around a central courtyard which has been roofed over and turned into a tropical-themed swimming pool with a wave machine, there are trees clad in orchids and parrots. I have to carry food across a suspended rope bridge from the kitchen to serve lunch by the pool.
7. Two years later I’m attending agricultural college during the day and cooking vegetarian suppers at a recording studio every evening. Although I change my clothes at the end of the day there is nowhere to shower. Halfway through a week when I am working in an intensive pig unit I arrive at the studio kitchen and see that we have an extra guest for supper. It is Kate Bush, wearing the most pristine white top I have ever seen, she looks utterly sparklingly clean. All I can think about is the intense piggy odour emanating from me.
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