Cooking for someone famous?

I didn't exactly "cooked" for her but I've prepared her cold starter. Can't really remember the exact dish but I was so honoured to make the salad dish for her.

Who am I talking about? I had the honour of making salad for Mrs Margaret Thatcher. I was hoping to make Tony Blair's portion but they assigned me to make for the dear lady instead. Anyway, it was quite an experience cooking for someone famous.

The restaurant I used to work for was a favourite with many famous people. Bill Clinton ate there when he visited London few years back. Who can resist the breathtaking view of the London Tower Bridge right in front of you while you dine beside the River Thames and the stars above you? Sure the meals start at 50 pounds. But I guarantee it's the most romantic experience ever.

Back to my cooking experience... was it nerve-wrecking, you might ask? Not exactly. My head chef and sous chefs were going berserk. Making sure everything is up to standard and with extra garnishes. For me, it's just another dish. Not too special but as always made from the heart.

I wonder how many chefs out there have such experiences of cooking for someone famous? And how many of them have the same mentality as I do? I always maintained the attitude that every customer is unique and every dish is special to each one. So I should not make this dish more special or sub-quality according to who I'm serving.

The manager at the bakery I used to work for hated my attitude. For him, as long as everything is done. He doesn't give two hoots about how nice each product looks. I was put in charge of viennoisseries production, making something from 200 to 400 danish pastries of 5 flavours or more each day. I told my boss at the bakery, every viennoiserie is a work of labour. Handmade and individually decorated. To the customer who bought the pastry, it is an individual experience. So why shouldn't we make sure that every apricot danish look consistent? They can't look exactly the same as fruits do vary in sizes. So consistent quality is vital in baking industry.

So much for my experiences, what do you think of my attitude? Do you think I'm wrong from an employer's point of view? Get everything done as quickly as possible or making sure there's consistent quality?


uncommon said...

"what do you think of my attitude?"


If I was your customer: I'd hope to get you doing my cooking ALL the time.

If I were your boss, in the chaos of a busy kitchen: with bean counters to the left and right, I dunno. I've only ever worked in my own kitchen and the odd charity thing.

I've always liked employing those self contained folks you can rely on. You know: Sher, bake me 200 cakes by 7pm and make 'em all perfect. If I had an employee like that, I can lose the supervision thing, and that I like, very much.

So, as long as you can maintain the professionalism and care like you do, it MUST be a good thing!


Sangeeta Sinha said...

Your attitude was perfect. 'Consistent quality' comes first and foremost; be you cook for famous personalities or for yourself at home. But that was great, yaar ('yaar' is a hindi word meaning friend). I wish I could really cook for someone great. May be one day ...........


I think your boss was wrong - I never like to go to a restaurant where the food looks awful and is badly presented, it just reflects badly on the chefs! Good on you for cooking for a famous person though. Bet that was really exciting.
Love the blog!


SheR. said...

>>Yes Brendan, I couldn't be bothered too much about changing my work attitude anymore. I rather have a clear conscience and give my customers the best food I can cook. Bosses hate me, go ahead!! :P *bleah*

>>Sangeeta. Thanks for the encouragement. Cooking for someone famous or not, it's all a matter of cooking as a interest. Winning awards and climbing up the chef ranks are all too superficial for me! :P

>>Thanks JamJar Superstar. Hm.. I just did a post about Jams! I would love to be famous and cook for myself one day!