Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Finally Only Went And Did It!

Sorry it's been so long...

I haven't died as some of you thought. In fact I'm very much alive. I told you in my last post all the way back in April that it would take a great deal of courage and stupidity to give up a reasonably well-paid job in a recession, but finally I did it.

I don't know where the last badly-formed quenelle of impetus came from, but I woke up one morning and asked to have a word with the boss. He told me he was busy and could I come back in ten minutes. It was a long ten minutes. I smoked a cigarette and didn't sway and kept my nerve and gave up my job.

He looked surprised and quite pleased.

"I've been thinking about it for a while," I said.

"You've been thinking about it for two years," he replied.

My leaving present (apart from the alarm clock) was a five-year work visa for the States (on the condition I file them the odd story). And that's where I'm going - to the West Coast. Where they deep-fry scallops, and serve steaks so big they make your eyes bleed.

Maybe I'll learn Mexican food in San Diego, or shuck oysters in San Francisco, or pan-fry veal in Vegas, or get a job as a personal chef for some Lala Land celebrity who's addicted to lobsters and truffles, and doesn't mind me filling my face.

All I know is it's all in front of me. But first I've got a last work trip to Thailand, where I'll hopefully find time to eat garlic prawns straight from the beach.

Today I handed over the keys of my house to a tenant, who by chance is a chef. One chef goes in, a would-be one comes out. You can't overlook fate like that. I took him to a farm shop up the road where they sell pig's head and venison liver and other foods hard to get hold off, and we discussed how each should be cooked. And it made me realise just how much I want to be a chef, and how I'd missed writing this blog.

All my possessions are in a suitcase. The rest - including the hundreds of cookbooks I've carefully collected over the years - are locked away in the attic (he seemed a nice enough fellow, but you can't trust chefs with recipe books). I wanted to travel with just hand luggage, but I knew they wouldn't let me on board with tweezers let alone my shiny Global knives.

Anyway, in a few days I depart for Thailand and then to the US, and so this resurrected blog will take on a distinctly foreign flavour.

Sorry it's been so long and thanks for the messages of support, especially from those who imagined I'd passed away. I'll write a proper post in the next couple of days (really) but I'd like to ask a favour first...

If anyone has any suggestions for where I should go or what I should do, or where I should work when I arrive in the States, I'd really appreciate it. I don't know anyone out there, and haven't got a lot of savings to fund my return to cheffing, so if you could pass this on to anyone who might be able to offer me a space on their sofa in return for a nice meal I'd be very grateful.

All the best,


Some Chilean Woman said...

That is so exciting, Lennie!!!!!

America is definitely 'different', but so full of opportunity, yes even in this recession, especially in the food business.

I say avoid Las Vegas, it's not doing so hot and the food is not good either, no matter what buffet lovers think. If I were you, I'd go to San Francisco, diversity is what I'm all about. But if you're ever in Salt Lake City I'd show you around!

Best of luck, I'm so happy for you.

Anonymous said...

Hooray for the return of Lennie!

I don't have any advice but I love reading your posts. Pop back when you can.


Kavey said...

Huge congrats and best of luck!

pizza naples said...

nice post lennie..i don,t have any advice but good wishes for you..best of luck lennie.

Christophe said...

Very brave move Lennie! I'm sure it will be an amazing experience.

I wish you the best of luck and look forward to reading about your exploits!

Nicky said...

What an unmitigated pleasure to have you back. Best of luck with your new life!

Craig said...

Well done, sir. All the very best, and looking forward to reading your posts!

Jim said...

Congratulations, Lennie!

Read this by Anthony Bourdain:


Also contact Shuna Lloyd-Fish from the blog Eggbeater. She's an experienced pastry chef and restaurant manager in NYC and might be able to help.

theundergroundrestaurant said...

I'll think on who can help. Put out the word on Twitter, lots of american chefs/restaurants ...
When are you off?

Lennie Nash said...

Thanks so much for your comments and kind words.

I can thoroughly recommend Jim's URL on 'so you want to be a chef' by Bourdain. Rather deflating, but well worth a read.

MsMarmitelover: I'm in Thailand until Christmas and then fly out to California the first week in January.
SomeChileanWoman: Thanks for the advice about San Francisco, and offer of a tour!

Thanks again,


Melinda said...

Lennie, you are back! Good luck and good wishes to you. I hope there will be lots of travel stories and some good food stories with them, too.
I am from the west coast, Oregon to be exact. Probably a bit too quiet for you there. Although, I have heard Portland, Oregon is a really good foodie place to go these days. Lots of good seafood to hand.