Speak Up

Saturday, May 10, 2008


In the great scheme of things chefs are incredible people. I could go on all day about the wonders and amazements of a chef. But I'm not. I want to talk about those habits that make chefs so irritating slash lovable. Mostly irritating though.

The blog has touched on this in one form or another but let's really attack this, shall we? I don't know whether to blame it on the fast paced service rush or the meticulous demands of diners and foodies, but chefs are obsessive. Some might bring it to the level of an OCD but most are just adamant about having and doing certain things. Take my chef for instance, he's got several obsessions some of which are related to cooking and some are just unexplainable.

  1. Cleanliness. This is definitely something he was taught through coming up the ranks of Jean Georges working under Greg Brainin. However, this applies ONLY the to the kitchen at Perry St and NOT our own kitchen. Of course when it's time to get the shiny grease off-he's great at it.

  2. Drinks. Erik can't make the 20 train ride via the PATH to get to work without bringing a drink. He has a drinking problem. If we leave the house, for any reason, he brings a drink in a plastic bottle, aluminum can, or glass bottle. Baby. (...he'll make me take that off...well I'm not going to!) Our fridge may not have a lot of food in it by the end of the week-but we've always got drinks! Soda, Snapple, Gatorade, Milk, WATER, tea, and coffee take up most of the space. His night stand on any given day will have at least 4 bottles of something. Luckily, he's not big on the alcohol. yes!

  3. Video Games. I've said it before but it bears repeating. Erik is crazy for video games. We've got an XBOX, XBOX 360, Wii, Original Nintendo, PSP, Sega Game Gear, and TWO Nintendo DS Games. Plus all the extra controllers, microphones, games, carriers, chargers and whatever else. Not only that, but he subscribes to and reads TWO different video game magazines. PAH-LEAZE. I've seen this in other chefs as well. But come on, Erik is turning 25 this month-a bit old for these toys? But he swears, "The demographic for the games I play is ages 18-35" Uh, huh. Right.

  4. Kitchen Gadgets. And I KNOW there are many who would agree that their chefs share this similar obsession. His lists of kitchen "needs" (aka WANTS) is about a mile long and we'd need a massive kitchen to store them all. My SECOND slow cooker is in the coat closet. We have two coffee makers and we hardly use them. I'm the banker 'round these parts, so I'm pretty tight on the money flow thus limiting the amount of gadgets we have.

So which came first, the obsessions that leave these men left with nothing else but a culinary career, or the industry that drives them to becomes irrational obsessive men??

Thanks to Katrina for bringing this great topic idea to me!




melissa said...

Oh man, can I come over for your next game night??? I'll bring my DDR dance pads and we can have a dance off right after we run over some pedestrians in GTA IV!

Hilary Battes said...

I'll keep you posted for the next tournament! PS, Eric Simpson looks great!

Anonymous said...

My husband must immediately taste everything edible that comes through our kitchen. When he comes home after work on grocery day, he methodically (or so it seems) takes out everything that is new in our refrigerator/cupboards, opens all of the packaging, takes a bite out of everything, and then leaves all of the opened containers and half-eaten cookies, etc. on the counter for me to put away.

This obsession has always driven me crazy, but he crossed the line this week when he opened a box of fancy chocolates (my obsession), and proceeded to take a bite out of EACH PIECE. Not cool.

Hilary Battes said...

Whoa, that's a crazy obsession and so chef-like. But, get this...Erik does the SAME THING. We shop together and he raid through each item as if it were a free sample at Costco. A few bites of ice cream, some chips, a swig of soda, a handful of fruit snacks. Wow, it's strange how similar these guys are. But the chocolates, that is definately not cool. Who wants a chcolate with cream oozing out of it and teeth marks in the side?

Anonymous said...

Man, don't you love it when the chef cleans the kitchen??? Having him do the refrigerator is the best, but I'll take the normal cleaning routine any day. My chef does the job in half the time it takes me and the place is spotless. Granted, it's a rare occurrence, but he is finally starting to do it on his own. Now, the dishwasher continues to be a problem...he seriously loads it completely wrong and makes the worst use out of the space. But, hey, I can't complain too much after he's finally started to come around.

Anonymous said...

here is my list:

- Cleanliness:
not quite obsessive, but defenitely about "everything has to be in it's place": Move the butter to a different shelf in the fridge, the chopping board to the other side of the counter, and there's trouble. He never looks for anything, whereas I seem to spend a considerable amount of my time trying to locate temporarily misplaced items..

- Books
Amazon loves us- he just HAS to buy any new cookery book out there, and when we go shopping together, he is magically drawn to the culinary books department.. at least I always know where to find him

- prepping/Organizing
a leisurely day of has to be planned in a military fashion: time for breakfast, itinerary for the rest of the day, Plan B for bad weather if outdoor activities are involved: he just has to know what we are up to. And if the plan is: "stay in bed all day and do nothing"- it has to be talked about and agreed on the night before. He gets very panicky when I do my "oh I don't know yet, let's see what we feel like doing tomorrow..."

Sound familiar?

Katrina said...

My chef only gets one video game magazine. I can't imagine another. I make fun of him mercilessly for it. Oh and mine's turning 26!