Speak Up

Monday, August 31, 2009

Chef Cheaters

An anonymous commenter suspects that her chef is cheating and asks that I post about the topic. I find myself reading fewer descriptions of chefs as alcoholics and cheaters, but I'm not convinced either way, that it's due to chefs turning straight edge or writers getting tired of the same sad chef description. New York Magazine wrote a piece on the Desperate Chefs' Wives blog saying:
"Chefs tend to be notoriously bad husbands and boyfriends, and the reason is obvious: They’re at work all night, they love to pop corks and hit the dummy
pipe, and there are always foxy waitresses, servers, and even diners eager for
the “fourth course.” But don’t despair if you’re stuck with one of these
scoundrels. There’s a blog for you."
I don't like to think of chefs as such "bad boys"-probably because that's not my thing. But I do know some of some chef drinkers, toquers and cheaters. However, that exists in any industry. For the most part though, the chefs I know aren't cheaters. But we can't deny that even well-known chefs have bad track records.

-UK celebrity chef John Burton Race walked out on his wife and 6 children for another women he now lives with, and has a child with.

-Gordon Ramsay has been accused of cheating on his wife, Tana-but as far as I know they are still together.

-And of course, the Top Chef Season 5 cheaters both Hosea and Leah has significant others back home and they cheated on national television-with each other.

So it is out there ladies but I wouldn't suggest avoiding chefs all together or dumping yours now out of fear. Bring your concerns here if you suspect an unfaithful chef. We can talk about it and find a solution. And given the circumstances of being married to a chef, who's to say wives are never tempted stray? But if you know for a fact that your man has cheated, my advice will always be the same: leave, now.

The New York Magazine article I mentioned earlier ended with this:
"Desperation aside, the author's own domestic situation seems rather stable,
which kind of detracts from the site's entertainment value, you know? What it
really needs is more sob stories! We want a blog that reads like a chef-y
telenova! But given what goes on in those naughty chef circles, it's only a
matter of time. We'll wait, breath baited."
HA. Well, keep holding your breath then because this chef and wife are better than ever. A four year wedding anniversary in October, a new job, and a baby due in March. Life is good.

Food is Love,

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Chef + Wife + BABY

A while back, I would spend my time vacuuming and planning. I had a big production planned to tell Erik I was pregnant. This of course was a long time before I was ever even planning to have children. ...He would be working at Perry St, I would come in late, just before closing glowing with a content grin on my face. Someone would tell him to come upstairs because I woman was about to tell her husband she's pregnant. He'd come up and look for the woman, and then he'd see me and I'd nod my head and smile... If you're a fan of I Love Lucy like I am ( I own every episode) then you know this is very similar to the way she told Ricky she was pregnant.

Well, that fantasy is still just a fantasy. After realizing Erik did not want a production when he found out, I had to scratch everything. It was for the better anyways since I can never keep a secret from Erik. We were watching TV on a random Wednesday that he and I had off and Erik suggested I take the test. So a little while later I snuck away and took it. I know the box says to wait 2 minutes but that thing went positive in about 2 seconds. But I still waited 2 minutes. I told Erik to check the test in the bathroom and look for a plus sign.....I've never been as happy as that moment with Erik. He was in shock for 4 days until he got the handshake from my doctor. Moments later the whole Jean-Georges company knew, including my chef wife pal, J.

In the end, I'm glad I didn't take the test alone. The last 5 years it has been just Erik and I out here and we've had to do everything with just each other. And now, we'll be raising a baby on our own. It's not ideal, but it is just the way it is.

I'm ten weeks along, due March 30. I will be finding out the gender as soon as Erik gets back from is 4 week Charlotte opening. Except for some pregnancy acne(ugh!) everything is great so far!

Food is Love,

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I've waited 7 years for Erik to have a normal weekend. Saturday and Sunday? I still can't believe it. We had our first full weekend a couple days ago. As much as I've wanted this, it will take a slight adjustment. I'm used to working on school stuff on Saturdays. I spend the better half of the morning grading papers and planning for the week ahead. That won't/can't change, I need that extra day to get those things done. But what will change is Saturday morning cleaning and laundry. I have a partner! I've cut my cleaning time in half by doing it with Erik. We swept, mopped, dusted, cleaned the litter, bathroom, and kitchen in less than and hour! One good thing about a little apartment, little cleaning.

I can't wait to go to weddings-unheard of before now. And Erik will be available for school events I'm hosting-my jobmates only know Erik from stories. I considered a moving our normal standing Sunday dinner date to Saturday, but I'm so used to Sundays that I'd like to keep it that way. Of course all these Saturday fantasies can only come true if my chef isn't traveling at the time.

Food is Love,

Friday, August 21, 2009

Chef Mumbles

We've been having a lot of trouble around here getting Erik to keep the CPAP breathing machine on at night. He takes it off without knowing it and seems delusional when I tell him to put it back on. Well this time his delusions turned into an audible chef mumble. Have a read:

Me: Put the mask back on.

Erik: Why? What is going on?

Me: Just put the mask back on so we can go back to sleep.

Erik: Sleep? We're sleeping?

Me: Yeaaaah....

Erik: So we're not making amuse bouche?

Hilary: [rolled over and gave up]

Food is Love

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Non-Flood, Non-Emergency

This is just so silly I have to share.

I knew for a few days now that the condo building we live in would have the water shut off today from 10 AM until 3 PM. No big deal, Erik and I leave before then and come back much later. So you can imagine how shocked I was when I came home today around 6 to the sound of the water running in the kitchen. My fears seemed so real that I was about the burst into tears. It wasn't long ago that I left the bathroom fauceet running while I took a shower. )Sorry to the ones living in #1907.) I didn't even get the front door shut or the lights turned on as I did a tip-toe-run to the kitchen through 6 inches of imaginary water. Once I got the faucet off and the lights on I came to realize that the floor was bone dry. Thank goodness the sink was clear, except for a pan that was soaking over the edge of the sink. If the stopper had been in place, my house would have been ruined-not to mention all 19 floor beneath me. Well, maybe only the 19th and 18th floors would have been soaked.

...so someone left the faucet on...

But it doesn't end there, ladies. I turn around to make sure there was no water on the floor. After all that, the image of a soaked floor in my mind was hard to erase. What did I see before me? Light coming from the fridge. The door was open all day long! Not a crack either that happens when the freezer is too full and a slam of the fridge door will leave that little crack. I'm talking at least 4 inches wide open. So wide in fact that the light was on. Go to your fridge now and test it-see how far you have to open the door to get the light on. It's far! I guess a giant Sam's Club ketchup was bent to the side propping the door open. Most of the food actually survived, especially the things in the drawers and on the bottom shelf. But the giant 2 pound block of extra sharp Cheddar that I just bought yesterday-unopened, was all melted inside the package. It was directly under the light bulb and completely sweaty. Gross. I haven't really looked at the other food since I thought it best just to shut the door and keep it shut. This was after I had to make dinner by opening the door and getting everything out at once like a stealth fridge thief.

... so someone left the fridge open...

All in all, everything is fine now, but for those first moments when I got home I was freaking out. And although I do my best to avoid blame...I have to say on behalf of myself that I wasn't the last one to leave the house today. I'm just saying...

Food is Love,

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Goodbye Perry St


Big changes around here. After working for Jean -Georges since his externship at the CIA, Erik is moving on to new challenges. And I have a feeling this is harder for me than it is for him. First of all, (agree or disagree) you all know how involved I am in my chef's career. I've met so many people in the past 7 years. Most of the cooks, chefs, GMs, and wives have come and gone as the industry tends to dictate, but I'll be continuing to connect with some dear friends long after my midnight visits to Perry St cease to occur. I'm not sure how how the new company will react to my blog so to keep on the safe side I'll keep some things on the qt for a while. What I can say is that I'm about to deal with something many of you know about: traveling. I knew this when Erik accepted his new job, and I'm going to do my best to get through it. Expect most posts to come in September when Erik will be gone for 4 weeks. Yep.
I'm thrilled for the new job and apprehensive at the same time, especially about the traveling. But I'll count on you ladies to help get me through that-should I need it. August brings two fresh starts: Erik's new job and a new school year.

January 2006, New Fulton Fish Market
Original Perry St crew from right to left:
Erik Battes, Justin Basdarich, Greg Brainin, Paul Eschbach, Greg Vernick, Jean-Georges
Believe it or not, three and half years later and all theses guys (now except Erik) still work somewhere within the JGV company. Despite what some may say, JG is a great man to work for. And who better to take over the chef de cuisine position at Perry St than Jean-Georges's own son, Cedric.

Adios Perry St.

Food is Love,

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Two of a Kind

Not sure who caught Tony Bourdain last night on No Reservations. I usually really like the show but last night he showcased San Fransisco and it seemed as if he didn't really like it. I've only been once and I certainly wasn't a restaurant enthusiast back then, but I guess I thought Anthony would have highlighted more unique or interesting food. That's besides the point. I couldn't help but notice that one of Anthony's food friends, Oscar Villalon, looked like a bizarro east coast version of The Feedbag's own Josh Ozersky.

See for yourself.

Oscar photo from SF Gate.com

Ozersky photo from Serious Eats
Perhaps Josh Ozersky doubles as a San Fran writer and food enthusiast. Then again, who would lead a double life in the same profession? In my double life I'd do anything but work with kids...something interesting like a an antique collector or bonsai trimmer.

Food is Love,

Friday, August 7, 2009

Chef Mumbles

This one is particularly odd as my husband acknowledged he was talking in his sleep, yet continued to mumble about custard. I was laughing so hard the whole time, my stomach hurts. Have a read:

"I know this is going to be ridiculous.... The custards haven't set. We have to make a new batch."

"How do you make custard?"

"You need eggs."

"How many?"

"Read the recipe."

"I don't have a recipe, can't you just teach me?"

"I'm not here to teach you; make more custard." (He's tough!)

"Can't we just put the custard in the freezer to set?"

"That might work. This is ridiculous. I'm in the bed!"

Erik was recently fitted for a CPAP ("see-pap") machine to help him sleep at night since he has sleep apnea. However, he hasn't quite gotten used to the breathing machine and until he does these mumbles are going to continue.

Food is Love,

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Live-In Maid

As far as chores and housework go around here, I pretty much do it all. I'm no superhero, after all we only live in a one bedroom. I made a decision a long time ago to do most of the work because even though I work full time, I certainly work less than Erik and have time to do it. After a while though I started getting resentful. I'm sure you're not surprised there. At some point Erik had to start taking some responsibility around the house at the very least to save me from killing him. I didn't need the help, but I needed the support. We have a partnership and I'm not going to be stuck doing the dirty just because I "only"work 45 hours a week. We working it out that he cleans the stove and bathroom, helps with the cat litter, irons his own shirts, and pays the rent and garage bills.

Things get a little sticky around summer time. Although I'm a teacher I work during the summer part time at the school doing administrative work. So with all the extra time I pick up more of Erik's work. I don't mind ironing or cleaning the bathroom; it keeps me busy. But somehow this whole summer Erik hasn't done a thing! How did that happen? How did I let that happen? So now I'm blowing up and pissed off not because I have to do more work, but because Erik doesn't seem to care about anything other than cooking or eating....would you guess he's an only child?

Food is Love, (and frustration)