Wednesday, November 25

Job Hunting Blues

Earlier in the year it was agreed that I would stop working at the production company in October and do cooking for a living full time.

I am looking for work in London, a lovely friend has loaned me her apartment to use as a job-hunting base. My friends are concerned, they write to ask if I’ve found a job yet. This is one of my recent progress reports:

Dear Em,

I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch for a while, London’s been a bit up and down, well quite a bit of down actually, and I’ve been waiting for an up before writing.

Last Tuesday I put on a smart black dress for an interview with a titled lady who needed a cook for business meetings. I spent 2 hours in a Holland Park basement listening to an aide telling me all about Her Ladyship's 'funny ways', she asked me no questions at all - not even about my axe-murderering past. I met the Lady very briefly on my way out.

Wednesday: a fashion company asked me in to cook a lunch for 60 staff members then totally sabotaged my efforts - I couldn't start before 10 am, they changed the menu, didn’t order what I asked for - it all became so bad it was funny.

Thursday: An aide to that fancy pants photographer Rankin rang to ask if I’ll come in and cook for a day (lunch for 20, top models, hysterical assistants - you know the thing) and will I lower my rate by two thirds!

Friday: cooked lunch for 10 vegans, 2 babies and a very bouncy dog, that went quite well actually - I think I even enjoyed it and they've just written to tell me that they thought it was marvellous!

This week all the meetings I set up have been postponed or cancelled, it’s also been a week since the monologue from the titled lady's assistant, I’ve not heard back from her - I guess she’s found out about my axe-murdering past!

Much Love


  1. I am baffled by the logic of Rankin's assistant! Of course, I am not good at math.

  2. Ahh Lulu, before the light there will be the dark. Keep at it. If you lived closer, I'd definitely hire you as my chef!

  3. Someone should interview you, for the Guardian Weekend or Sunday Times Magazine. That's a thing that should happen.

    Regretfully I work for the NHS.

  4. Wow, four days work in a row, it sounds like you're really rather successful at this commercial cookery business. Well done with the vegans, showing better humour than they're usually given credit for.

  5. I once worked as personal assistant and cook to a wealthy German woman and her two schnauzers. I'd had no experience in being a proper hausfrau but she hired me simply because I was a Virgo born in the Chinese Year of the Monkey.

    Perhaps if you let that slip at your next interview.....

  6. xl - baffled was how I felt.

    Scribe - I know, apparently it can only get better - but I'm not so sure!

    Glory - and we all know about NHS food...

    Hi Gadj - that was only 2 days paid work, better than a kick in the pants - actually Wednesday's gig was a kick in the pants.

    Nursey - Wealthy people often have arcane ways of deciding who to hire. I was once employed to muck out horses because I spoke 'properly'.

    I'm a virgoan ox , I'll see where that gets me.

  7. Keep at it, Lulu! Too bad one can't live on quirky experiences... This must be very stressful. How do you manage to seem so calm?

  8. Oh Lulu. These twats don't deserve you. OK, maybe the vegans, babies and the very bouncy dog deserve you - they seem nice.

    Your wonderful sense of humour will see you through this and a crop of very cool clients will find you soon. Sending a big hug in meantime. xo

  9. Impress everyone with Canada’s national dish, poutine: the holy trinity of fries, gravy and cheese curds.

  10. You cracked me up! And I feel your pain...

  11. Screw her! I'm sure you'll find just the right opportunity soon.

  12. Ana - the calm is a blog mirage, I had to scribble pages of furious outrage in green ink and scrunch the paper into tiny balls to achieve my present zen-ness.

    katrocket - I would take a brace of normal, healthy families over the cool clients any day, but thanks for hugs

    MJ - I will make poutine - actually could you send a houseboy to show me how?

    alphawoman - I know you do

    Dedene - thanks sweetie

  13. Poutine reminds me of Calvin Trillin's Tummy Trilogy (that's not the actual title), the best books on food ever.

  14. I'm wondering who you axe-murdered; best not tell, eh? ;)

  15. Inky - I shall order them immediately

    Ms Eyeball - I'm trying to keep it a secret but I have a nervous tic that makes me keep mentioning it!

  16. yikes, sugar! i can't even imagine how y'all stayed calm dealing with such difficult people! i wish i still knew folks in london! xoxoxo

  17. Eat The Rich!
    Methinks that it's high time that we "commonfolk" had a little societal culling and ate the 3% of the inbreds who either inherit or steal 50% of all the wealth on the planet.

    I thought of you last night as I watched Sir David's episode on Insects :)

  18. I used to cook for a living too, but found that the madams were too madam for me. I have a title of my own, in fact two, but have never been a madam. Shocks me it really does. Best of luck. I used to cook for Lumley's agency - wonder if they are still going? Have you tried them? Used to be very nice and loved my quirky menus. Now I write novels and design websites, funny old world.

  19. Oh I wish I moved in the sort of circles that could say 'Hey, Lu - come and cook for all my parties - I have dozens of them every year'

    Considering you have cooked for rock gods I think all these picky people who have been so difficult should fall to the ground in obeisance when you even turn up at their door.

    Hope things work out okay though - we must be going through a joint 'dry spell'.

  20. Have a virtual hug off me, too.

    I just thought: can we get major discounts off Rankin 'cos we had a trial and he's taking photos at a rate of one or two a minute at 1/30th of a second?

  21. It all sounds as though it could be very dispiriting, but lets hope that the vegans have plenty of friends. or plenty of bouncy dogs. Good luck.

  22. C'est pas juste !!!!
    Tous ces nobliaux qui ne sont jamais satisfait ,ils bouffent et la cuisinière déguste !!!

    Pour réussir une bonne soupe à la grimace,il vous faut :

    Ignorer les personnes qui vous énerve.
    Ne pas répondre lorsque l'on vous parle.
    Rire seul face à aux idioties que je raconte :)
    Montrer que vous êtes joyeuse par des gloussements qui viennent de l'au-delà virtuel.
    Rater l'heure du repas. Mieux encore ! Oublier de le préparer ou pire, le laisser brûler en faisant croire qu'il s'agit d'une nouvelle recette indienne :(
    Oublier que vous avez mit trop de sel. Au cas ou, leur faire sentir qu'ils vous em....
    De temps en temps, répondre dans le vide: "oui ", "non." C'est bref mais poli car vous avez répondu.
    Arriver en retard aux rendez-vous,sous prétexte d'avoir été retenu par "Elisabeth", voire, zapper le rendez-vous.
    Prouver que vous êtes un génie car vous possédez la science culinaire , si !! Si !! Vous êtes la Maître Queux du gloubi-boulga pour les dinosaures !!!
    Montrer votre exaspération lorsque que l'on vous parle.

    Et enfin ! Dites haut et fort:
    "Ne me déranges pas , je travaille MOI "

    Avec seulement 2 de ces ingrédients !!! la soupe à la grimace sera bonne .
    Et pour ceux qui aiment le pimenté, aligner tous ces ingrédients à la suite en une seule journée.

    Je vous fait une énorme bise sucrée

  23. Oh Lulu - this is news. All cooking, all the time? Does this mean you will be living in London now? Do private chefs have agents? How does one hear about openings with incurious nobility and celebrities in general? I am reading _Alice in Wonderland_ with Shack right now and, though we haven't gotten to it yet, I recall a scene with a Duchess and some tarts and a lot of "off with their heads!" so you may be well clear of the titled aristocracy. I send love and best wishes.

  24. Sav - I only stay calm on the outside sweetie.

    Donn - Eat The Rich!
    I have had a similar idea (note my other life as an axe-murderer)

    And I believe that there were our ants in that very episode, spraying formic acid.

    Hello Hodmandod welcome to you

    Thank you for your good luck wishes, I do indeed know Lumley's agency - I have a feeling that we have been living eerily similar lives.

    Frenchie - It's infuriating the way people won't just fall at one's feet when required isn't it?

    Thanks for the good wishes

    Kevin - Lovely hug thank you.

    I did actually send Rankin a very sarky email suggesting that I'd be prepared to do his job if he would come over and knock out a few photos for me on a reciprocal basis.

  25. Madame DeFarge - it is dispiriting, am hoping that there's a corresponding upward curve.

    J'adore ton recette, je le ferai demain.

    et tes bises - merci!

    Hi K - there are agencies for cooks but there is a bit of an oversupply at the moment. One hears about job openings in very curious ways.

    Depending on the work I'd probably be living part-time in London, it's not that far from Bristol.

  26. You've been loaned an appartment? Do you have a concierge service, some one to buff your shoes?

  27. Are you offering your services Emmy? I can only pay in pies

  28. Dearie me. So sorry that you are pounding the pavements, as it were. This seems very hard.

    Wondering if titled ladies, (as well as promoted-beyond-their-skills managers, and those who inherit wealth) ALWAYS have "funny ways."

    Because the rest of us can't afford them.

    Cow wafting Topiary wishes your way and hoping you find a nice situation with someone who has a well-groomed garden.


  29. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  30. Ellis - sorry to hear that!

    Hello Mrs Cow - Money certainly ssems to allow people to express their 'funny ways' without getting locked up.

    Thanks for the Wish Wafting

  31. Oh crap. If I had the funds, I'd hire you straight away. !!

  32. Lulu, you are so clever and daring and creative!

    I should think you'd open your own catering business instead of just looking for a job working for anyone else. Move over Martha Stewart!

    And you might edit your wonderful postings up into a book in the event you have any spare time.

    :0) Best of luck... I'm a freelance book illustrator & writer and often wish I just had a 'real' job too. It would make life so much more concrete and understandable.


  33. Hello Anon - Thank you so much for those lovely words, I can use all the boosting available at the moment.

    real job vs freelancey bits n bobs

    they're both rubbish, I'd just like to be rich and lazy please.


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