Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Kitchen Grillings And How To Survive Them


I walked back into Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant that afternoon, and after changing into my whites, was summoned to Jimmy the executive chef’s office. He was there with one of the managers. Their reception was cold in the extreme.
“Sae whit the fuck happened the-day whit the pasties?” asked Jimmy.
I began jabbering again, apologising profusely, and moaning about how I hadn’t brought an alarm clock with me. They made me squirm for a bit, then asked why I hadn’t used the alarm on my mobile phone.
I was forced to make more pathetic excuses. It must have been painful to watch. I promised them I wanted to learn as much as possible, and vainly hoped that would be the end of the matter.
Jimmy changed tack. He was enjoying himself thoroughly.
“Sae whit exactly dae ye dae?”
“I’m retraining as a chef. I gave up my job as a journali...”
The word slipped out before I could stop it.
“A fuckin joornalist! Sae ye went intae cookin' fur th' poppy!” he chided.
“Do you still write anything, Mr Nash?”
The office manager was eyeing me suspiciously. She was one of those scary, orange-skinned, public school girl types...
:: This blog eventually became a bestselling book, called Down And Out In Padstow And London by Alex Watts, about my disastrous attempt to train as a chef, including stints at Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck and Rick Stein's kitchens in Padstow.

You might like it if you're a foodie or have ever entertained the ridiculous idea of entering the padded asylum of professional cooking. It's here on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle book if you want a read...

6 comments:

Some Chilean Woman said...

My stomach hurts now...I think I'm actually nervous for you...

Anonymous said...

It's strange how this story has changed since it was previously posted at http://http://salmonandtroutinpadstowandlondon.blogspot.com/ - only small things; I think you were a banker in the first version, and paid the poor guy who drove you to the pasty place a fiver not a tenner. What's going on?

Lennie Nash said...

Hi Anonymous,

Thanks for the message. You're quite right. I had to change some stuff and relaunch the blog for legal reasons, which sadly I can't go into. I am referring to the banking stuff of course.

The content remains true, and is based on real facts. It comes from notes I took during the time, and my ever unreliable memory. There will be inconsistencies with the original for the above reasons. However, the fiver was changed when I went back to my original notes. Perhaps it should have been much more, considering my appalling behaviour.

Lennie

Lennie Nash said...

Hi Chilean Woman,

It was a dreadful time for a while, and indeed nerve-wracking. I still have nightmares over some of the stuff to come.

Anon

Lennie

MsMarmitelover said...

How pedantic Anonymous...the flavour of the piece is still the same!
All writers play with their stories just as cooks play with their ingredients...

Kavey said...

I've been reading in fascination... and come to the conclusion that this whole escapade is more about gathering content for a book or perhaps just a gap year off than an honest-to-goodness attempt to genuinely become a chef!
Am I right?
Whatever it is, good luck and carry on posting! :)