Friday, 4 September 2009

For my sins

I wanted a restaurant and, for my sins, they gave me one. OK, truth is, I bought myself one: me and my partner, thirty covers/potentially happy customers, me in the kitchen and her front of house. A beautiful little place, dripping with English historical character and bad plumbing. Set in this quietest of Midlands market towns: monied pensioners, youth blowing their youth and income on alcohol. Cobblestones and a quiet at night that only comes with a deep and unjustified fear of crime. Me, I'm from London, and I miss the sirens.

I've always needed to cook. I think that partly it's greed. I just felt that if you were a kid that wanted more food you should learn how to cook it yourself – so I did. But it's not just that, it's something to do with giving pleasure with your cooking. There's just something about people enjoying your food. Sometimes (and I know how sad this is) I nip out to the front of the restaurant and peep in at customers enjoying themselves: all candles, laughing, and empty plates.

Odd downsides include the inability to enjoy my own food. I've tasted it all the way through, worked hard on it, its good in the mouth, but it still feels wrong to eat it yourself. Also, when the customer says 'I didn't like that' its not a question how all taste is subjective – it feels too personal. You can see it on TV sometimes when the chef gets that negative feedback – it hits. You can read any restaurant-review website to realise that nothing is going to please all of your customers all of the time, but still.......

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