Speak Up

Friday, November 30, 2007

The "Chef" Excuse

My chef has got some terrible disease called "donteverpickuparoundthehouse" and I'm tired of fixing this ailment by doing everything myself. I will no longer enable him!

Do you ever get the excuse: "I work a lot" or "I don't have time for that". I mean, I love my chef but sometimes I think he's immune to housework. And it's partly my fault because I enable him by cleaning up ALL the time. And to top it off I'll do something like let's say pay all the bills and he would never notice because I get the bills from the mailbox, pay them online, and file them away before he even comes home. He doesn't even see half the stuff I do.

Are you hearing me ladies? And I know it's not just chefs either. I imagine that doctors and lawyers and engineers and others who work "long hours" play up the same syndrome to their wives. Yes, my chefhusband does work an abnormal amount of hours as do yours-BUT what the hell does he think I do all day? Lay around watching Oprah and reading RedBook? I work more than full time as a teacher, plus all the work I bring home. PAH-LEEZ!

I just hope he doesn't read this and make me delete it like so many other in-the-heat-of-my-rage-posts.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Under the Kitchen Christmas Tree

Has your chef been naughty or nice? Now is the time to make your list and check it twice. My chef has been asking for several cooking related items (other than all the video games and electronics he wants).

Obviously my chef forgot how much teachers make because this year he asked me for a:
- professional mixer
- professional food saver
- deep fryer
- pressure cooker

I'm curious to know what your chefs are asking for this year. A new knife? Prada shoes for the kitchen? A Blackberry to email 'corporate office'? Bacon of the month club membership?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The First Supper

You've heard of the last supper, well now we are going to discuss the first supper. That is to say the first meal your chef ever made for you. Was he a cook? A chef? Was even in culinary school? Did you like it? Did you run to the bathroom screaming? Did you sell the recipe to Kraft and make a fortune?

I wish I could say I remember my "first meal" cooked by my chefhusband. We started dating in high school so we shared many other firsts, just not a meal. When I first met him he wanted to be a musician: a drummer. But he eventually turned away from that lifestyle because he was fearful of the schedule and low pay. AND LOOK AT US NOW! HA, HA, HA. Oh well.

I will however share with a picture of my last meal cooked by him. It was at Perry St. last week with my family, this picture shows the snapper and radish plate. I'm not a foodie so those are all the details you'll be getting unless you've got a Perry St. menu to reference.


I am planning a DCW get together soon (a Saturday night) for us ladies to meet up and chirp. I'll keep you posted on the date, time, and place.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Marks of a Chef

Eric Simpson is the tournant at Perry St. and works very closely with my chefhusband. I sat down with him (via Myspace) to discuss his tattoos, particularly his left arm which is covered in food tattoos. When I first met Eric a while back I was intrigued with it and I’m so grateful to be able to share it with you. It seems like there are many chefs with tattoos; The NY Times did an article complete with slideshow on the matter back in 2005.

H: What was your first tattoo and when did you get it?
E: My first tattoo was the sun on my back; I got it when I was seventeen. The food sleeve is a funny thing. I mean, there are many ways of looking at it. There are the individual foods, the overall piece of art, inspiration, etc. I suppose there are two reasons for the food sleeve. One, the obvious because of the love for my creative medium. Two, it started with one food tattoo that I got in remembrance of a close friend who passed away.

H: Tell me what is on the “food sleeve”.
E: The food sleeve has the fish (opakapaka or crimson snapper), a pheasant, chickens, pig, rabbit, rib eye, and some veggies. There are a few little empty spaces that need to be filled and I’ve been telling everyone to help me decide what should fill the gaps.

H: What else needs to be done to complete it?
E: Oh man, there is a long way to go as you can see in the picture! I’d say it will take a few more months of work with artist/maniac Seth Wood at Daredevil Tattoos* (located on the Lower East Side) He is definitely one of the best there is. The best part about it is that Seth is a vegan. We have had some great talks about ethics and morals and food and tattoos to no end.

H: Tell me about your other tattoos. Any that you regret?
E: You know well enough that I have my share of tattoos and it is a strange relationship. Other than that my tattoos go from a moustache to bumble bees to an anatomical heart to a slightly pornographic robot. My first tattoo (the stupid sun on my back) is my least favorite, but I don’t regret it at all. It was a catalyst for tattoos to come and definitely marked a time in my life

H: Now, explain this pornographic robot…
E: Ha, I knew I was asking for trouble bringing up the robot. It’s on my thigh so it rarely gets noticed to begin with. It’s kind of an outlet of my comic cynicism, mixed with a reference to an eighties sci fi movie called Cherry 2000(it’s kind of about the perfect wife gone wrong). The tattoo is a topless blonde with her robot face exposed, looking kind of rusty and broken. Behind that is a banner that says 'true love'.

H: Perfect wife gone wrong? Oh there are so many chefwife comments in here, but I’ll hold back because I like you, Eric Simpson. I do love the idea of the anatomical heart. I'm a huge fan of science and heart seems very romantic to me. Your thoughts behind the heart?
E: The anatomical heart is also wood grained. It is my quiet homage to Pinocchio - yep, there's the sensitive side 'I just want to be a real boy"...ha.

H: So, do you like girls with tattoos or does it matter at all?

E: Tattoos on girls? It depends on the girl. Some people wear tattoos better than others. On the right girl, it’s just that much more right.

H: I agree with you completely about women and tattoos and I feel the same way for men; it all depends on who can pull it off. (I think I just answered my final question! haha) I think most chefs can-the whole artistic cheftosterone thing.
Speaking of ladies-do you ever find it hard to get dates with your schedule?
E: My schedule makes it difficult to get second dates...ha! Ok, I’m exaggerating. The lifestyle is definitely a stumbling block for dating but is by no means insurmountable.

H: And your career, where have you been and where do you plan on going?
E: Career wise, I started out in Miami, worked in a couple fine dining restaurants there (post cooking school). Then wound up busting my ass for the sake of working in a Michelin star kitchen in England - it was before the Michelin guide came to the states, so it felt like a huge deal to work in a Michelin star kitchen. From there, back to Miami until it just didn’t seem fast paced enough for me, leading me to NYC and working at Perry Street.
I’d say I simply want to focus my future on growing as a chef in NYC and then take it from there...

H:Ever been turned down for a job based on your tattoos?
E: I have never had an issue with my tattoos and new jobs. I try to carry myself in a way that shows confidence in my appearance, hoping that others follow suit. Funny thing is that the prospective employers usually point them out and ask about them. My point of view has always been that the quality of my work speaks for itself, everything else - tattoos included, are secondary.

H: I’m thinking of getting a tattoo on my inner bottom lip: “chefwife”….too much?
E: Hilary, I outright dare you to get that tattoo! Plus, getting your lip tattooed is almost 'semi permanent' - tattoos tend not to hold up too well there and don’t really hurt... in reality, I’d probably drop dead on the spot if you actually did that.

And we ended with that. I’ll keep you posted on my tattoo, I’m leaning towards no, but probably one day when I’m feeling tyra-banks-fierce I’ll bust out that pouting lip used for crying to the chef and get inked.

*Daredevil Tattoos' very own Seth is responsible for the art on Eric’s arm. They have even worked on Chef Aaron Sanchez from Paladar, whose restaurant is across the street.

Ideas for comments:
-How awesome is Eric’s arm?
-Does your chef have a tattoo…or a food tattoo?
-Ideas for filling in Eric's food sleeve!! ( I think Erik should pick his favorite fruit/veg from each season and put them on this arm)


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

As much as we complain and gripe on this blog it is important to recognize and be thankful for all of the things that we do have. I am blessed in so many ways and privileged to be able to be married to a chef. I am thankful for this blog. I say it all the time but not enough on here. Many of you email me and thank me for writing it, but the more women I meet, the more supported I feel. I am grateful for your stories and empathy.

I wish you all a happy and relaxing Thanksgiving weekend.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Thanksgiving Minus the Chef

So one of my new chefwife pals, BB, gave me a great idea for a post. Which I love because YOU are my inspiration...and the wind beneath my wings and all that crap.

With Thanksgiving just a few short days away I'm curious to know what all of your plans are? Is your chef home? Are you going to visit your folks? Cooking for one? Parade? Football? Let's hear it!
As for me, my most perfectly imperfect family is coming out from Columbus, Ohio to stay for several days and watch the parade from chefwife J's office on Broadway-among other things. You know we'll be hitting up Canal St. for some Christmas gifts. My chef is working so my family won't even get to see him. Been there, done that! I'm so annoyed. BUT on the bright side, because there is always one) my folks will FINALLY get to eat at Perry St. As much as I will miss my man on Thanksgiving one of the best perks to being a chefs' wife is when you see him walk from his kitchen in his whites to greet you at your table. Nothing better. For those few instances when he's with you at the table you feel as if you are married to the most important man in the world. But really, aren't we all?

As far as Thanksgiving food goes, it might be something on Mulberry St, it might be Chinese food because there is no way I'm cooking. (I have no idea how!)

Leave some comments on your plans!


My most perfectly imperfect family. July 07 (minus the chef of course!)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

ChefWife BB Knows What's Up

ChefWife BB from NYC guessed it right. My husband Erik Battes is the chef de cuisine at Perry St. I'm so happy to be able to say it now. When I first created this blog he didn't want me to even whisper his name outloud anywhere near a computer. Now he proofs my posts and he even wrote one: ChefWife Husband, in September. Now don't get me wrong he still puts his foot down Ricky Ricardo style once in a while. Its not always 4 star perfection around here.


Undocumented Tips

Yes, you heard it here first. My husband made a veg plate for a vegan customer last night and it was so good that she told the server she would personally tip my husband (in a non-montetary way. wink wink. Sorry, but I've got to keep this post semi PG rated.) Of course my faithful chefhusband turned down the offer (at least that's what he told me) He did however offer any other cook to go upstairs and say they were the chef. As far as I know no one stepped up to the plate. Don't guys yearn for these sorts of opportunities? Hello??

I wonder what else has been offered up behind closed doors? The "fourth course" as Josh Ozersky put it. I have heard some pretty outrageous stories over the years but now I'm wondering what you have to say. Leave comments and I'll even let you can be as anonymous as you want. Apparently I need to juice up this blog somehow.


On another notes as to who my mysterious husband is....the picture here is of the carpet at the restaurant. Any guesses now?


Friday, November 16, 2007

Grub Street

Yeah this DCW things is blowing up right in front of me. Check out today's Grub Street post on yours truly. I am a little depressed though-no guesses as to my chef's home away from home. C'mon, get in there and guess! It's easy and all the cool kids are doing it.

It's not even a secret anymore. Most everyone knows who actually knows me or him in person.

Well, stop reading this and get your yourself to the other street I love, Grub Street.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Loss for Words

Hello All. I definitely wish I could have been around more this week, but its been cray-zay. And now that I am sitting down in my most favorite spot I'm suffering from acute writers block. Mainly because I'm not really a writer. Yes, the jig is up.
So please help me by telling me what you like to read about the most here. Interviews? (I'm thinking of a certain chef I'd like to get my hands on) News in the biz? Have you got any funny stories for me? Talk to me!

Friday, November 9, 2007

My Chef's Addiction

My chef is quite particular about certain things, especially those regarding food and the kitchen. Yes, he's loves new shoes, leather jackets, video games, and electronics. But as far as his domain goes he is a sucker for:


We went to Sam's Club a couple months ago and I thought he was going to wet himself when he saw the industrial size box of 3000 square feet of plastic wrap. 3000 square feet: that like 35x the size of our apartment! This thing weighs about 12 pounds and cost over $10. Which is fine by me because it will last forever; I plan on passing it on to my first born chef. It was an investment.

He loves these types of things. And I've come to the realization that I cannot change that; I accept his obsessions. Some of his other "cannot survive without them" items include:

-drinks. We always have at least 5 different kinds of drinks (non alcoholic) and we go through them like they're holy water. (Come on over! We've got Turkey Hill green tea, milk, water, soda, Gatorade, and lemonade.

-Chinese food. If it were up to him we would have a standing order for fried dumplings, general Tso's chicken and shrimp lo mein. {{{But I don't like standing orders. I like calling in the order; it shows respect for the chef.}}}

-DVR. If that man couldn't tape all the chef shows and survivorman shows and south park shows on TV then he would implode from work-stress.

Do you know a chef with with a food related obsession? Tell me about it.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

New York City's Sexiest Chef

And no, my bandanna wearing husband isn't on the list. It's better that way-wouldn't want to deal with crazy groupies. (oh this picture to the side here is a sexy lady chef halloween costume...think about it for next year)

My chefwife pal, J found something very interesting the other day. The Daily News is having a contest set up so you can vote for a sexy chef and your vote also counts as a entry in their contest.

The prize? Dinner for two at the winner's restaurant. (A $150 gift certificate not good on gratuities or alcohol.)

The catch? You have to register with The Daily News. No biggie though-its free.

The chefs? You've got 11 to choose from and they all look like young hipsters from the new forefront in the culinary world of NYC. I'm young myself but where's the older generation of pros like Jean-Georges and Daniel Bouloud? Now those are some handsome men. Then again the contest refers to the "sexiest chef" not the "most appealing chef who you want to sweep you off your feet".

For a list of the chefs and a small piece on their "sexy" lives click HERE.

The rules? You can vote once a day until 11:59 (ET) on Monday, November 12. Every day that you vote you receive another entry in the contest. Not too bad, eh? You can vote in 3 categories for each chef: "Hot", "Very Hot", and "Sizzling". Which is a little unfair because maybe I don't think they are even at the hot level-but I'll play along.

I like this contest because it gives REAL chefs a time to shine in the spotlight and promotes their restaurants. I don't like it though because it sends a message to single women that chefs are all sexy beasts. Well, when they come home complaining at 2am and they get calls from work at all hours of the night on their few days off...they ain't so sexy. But those chef whites....they look like culinary angels. (Wow-I do have the capability of saying completely moronic things. )


PS. I'll probably continue to vote "sizzling" for Craig Koetsu the exec. chef at Park Avenue Autumn. He looks good.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

View From the Outside

Most people I know are not in relationships with chefs yet their reactions to my husband's career is humorous to say the very least.

Does my husband make his own "sauce"? Nope. I'll be honest and say my man uses sauce out of a jar. When he does have time to make sauce from scratch we won't be anywhere near the kitchen. (yee-ah Roy)

Do I cook for my husband? Why wouldn't I? I'm not scared of what he'll say about my cooking. I don't expect him to be able to explain to an eight year old how to "borrow and carry over"

Do we watch the Food Network? Sure we do, I'm all over Unwrapped. But NO my husband does NOT find inspiration from the Food Network.

Have you ever been asked questions that get you a little annoyed? Let me know!


Sunday, November 4, 2007

Tell Me What YOU Think!

I will try to make this post sound as objective as possible without getting too personal about my chef-otherwise he'll make me delete this post and I really your help!

It seems to me that my chef is in a really grumpy mood when he gets out of work, especially on Saturday nights. Now, when he comes home to find me sleeping he's fine: a great guy-listens to my day, tells me about his, we veg out- it's great. But when he meets up with me after work on a Saturday he turns into an old grump.

Do your chefs get moody after work?

Mine does. I'm beginning to think that meeting up with him is a huge mistake on Saturday nights. I'm just so tempted because its so convenient. We often gather near his restaurant, we are done for the night right around the time that he gets off, and I also feel more safe traveling home with him instead of by myself.

Please help me ladies. This chefwife is desperate for some advice.