Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What do chefs eat?

What Do Chefs Eat?
By: Chef Cristian Feher

As a professional chef I am often expected to produce opulent dishes for clientele with discerning tastes. A lot of my time is spent searching for the best ingredients, creating new dishes and striving to improve the already-superb into something slightly better, more interesting and with a possibly different approach. I practice fine art, chemistry and tangible marketing. I deal in fine creatures from the sea, pasture fed land beasts and fine avians. And like many others in my profession our skill becomes instinct. It’s what is expected from the paying public. But what does a chef do behind the scenes? What does he like to eat? And would he want the public to know? Would it change his reputation?

As a personal chef I have the opportunity to liaise directly with my customers. I spend most of my time in their homes, in their kitchens. We have great conversations and talk about various subjects. I feel very fortunate to be able to have such an open communication line with the people that I work for. One of the most common questions that people always want to know is, “What does the chef like to eat?”. I pause when this question is asked, and for a moment try to guess what that person thinks the answer will be. Do they picture me drizzling truffle oil over a wild mushroom and Iberico ham omelet for breakfast?  Do they picture me making frisee lettuce salad with a tarragon and white wine vinaigrette to complement my lunch souffle? Maybe. But I’m always honest.

I don’t personally know many other chefs in the area. I enjoy the individuality of doing things myself. And in this particular case I might benefit from the lack of startled faces. However, it has been said that inside every chef beats the heart of every other chef, and I know that at the end of the day we all enjoy the simple things. But I enjoy it all. From a juicy, steaming street vendor hot dog to a perfectly braised veal shank with zesty gremolata. I believe that if it’s edible, it must have some value and I can appreciate any food for what it is. I love tasting the honest simplicity and ocean aroma in a piece of sushi. I appreciate just the right amount of brandy and fresh cream in a crab bisque. I live for beef fat and protein when it’s charred by open flames and accented with salt, I salivate over the thought of a fresh caught rock lobster cooked over a rudimentary fire, I savour every last drop of demi-glace blanketing a perfectly crispy beef wellington. I enjoy a fillet of sea bass carefully positioned over a wasabi infused veloute sauce topped with currants, exotic greens and yuca root. I love bacon and eggs, oysters, chicken wings dipped in ranch dressing, ramen noodles, fresh gnocci with garlic and Parmesan, (real) Chinese food and even McDonalds cheeseburgers. Sometimes I’m fancy - most of the time I enjoy sharing a simple but decadent meal with my girls, within earshot of a television, in bare feet.

The recipe below is honest, shameless, humble and insanely delicious. You may just have to follow it up with truffle oil and quail eggs next weekend to balance out the universe.

Breakfast Spaghetti Recipe:

Yields: 1 large, satisfying portion.

- 2 organic eggs
- 1 tbsp of organic salted butter
- 2 cups of cooked organic spaghetti
- 4 slices of uncured apple wood smoked bacon
- 1 pinch of salt
- Grated Parmesan cheese to taste


1. Cut the bacon into large segments and fry in a non stick skillet until desired doneness is reached - I like my bacon soft cooked.

2. Add the cooked spaghetti, the butter, and toss around with the bacon until it’s nice and hot. Add a pinch of salt.

3. Add two eggs and stir them quickly into the pasta. Cook for about 45 seconds stirring them quickly. I don’t let the eggs get fully cooked - as they will continue to cook while you’re eating them -I like this dish soggy.

4. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and may your breakfasts never be the same again!

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