a chef - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
The chef was her own miracle. She saw a brilliance in food, a potential to help and heal others, a way to show them how the sublime was simply a mixture of the ordinary. It was her genius at play, seeing what the rest of us didn't. I guess that's why we called it her culinary magic and joked that her spoon was a wand carved from the spirit tree. Either way, she made us all so happy, food does that, right? It feeds the soul, brings smiles and bonds, makes everything so much better.
The chef is an artist of food. I see his great mind so immersed in every sense, using that expansive intelligence we call intuition. I see the love he has for this way of giving to others, this deep avenue for self expression. Here in the kitchen he is at one with all this, the food, the spices, the flames and a feeling of music even when none plays. I would sit here all day just to watch him, to feel his smiles more than see them and those facial expressions that are the hallmark of a genius at work.
The chef moved as if he had his own personal opera playing within. At times he moved as though he were the bow of the cello, steady and deep. Other times he was the violin in some rapid dance. Yet whatever rhythms flowed in his soul from day to day, be them tranquil seas or tempests, what he made was so heavenly. And he would stand there as we took a bite, the big man and his vulnerable childish heart, awaiting our facial expressions and sounds. He cared about our words, but less so, always looking for the truth in that reaction of awe and pleasure.
Fred wasn't a typical chef in that he was skinny, surprisingly so. Yet in other ways he was perfectly typical. His opinion was the right one, always, no-one else could hold a valid point of view if it wasn't consistent with his own. He prowled the kitchen like a caricature of himself, the eyes popping more everyday and his mouth becoming thinner, tighter. He only ever smiled when he tasted his own food, for everyone else he muttered under his breath “garbage, bland, too salty...”
And then the chef came from the back, pink in the face, her blonde bangs pasted to her forehead with with either steam or sweat. She was child-like in her proportions but clearly an adult. From the crows-feet around her eyes she was probably forty something. She smiled in the way inconvenienced people do. Likely she had orders to fill and now some big customer wanted to speak to her in person. While she smiled at the suited man, her fingers were being crushed in the rhythmic grip of her other hand. After the exchange she made a small awkward bow and retreated, the smile vanishing from her diminutive features and her pace stretched out wider than looked comfortable.
The chef examined the incoming ingredients. Damn suppliers- always trying to get one over on him. He turned the aubergines in his spade-like hands to look for the sallow brown spots, tossing his rejects into a separate bin with a grunt. Then he picked up the basil and looked at each leaf like an art appraiser, taking in the minutia of the details, sniffing a ripped leaf before chewing it. The truck driver scratched at his stubbled jowls and checked his phone for the time for the fifth time in two minutes. Claud continued, no faster, no slower. As far as the chef was concerned the "little man" could check the time a hundred times in his indiscreet way, huffing and puffing like the nuisance he was. Timetables were inconsequential to him unless it affected his opening times or wasted the time of his staff when they were on the clock.
The chef looked like a man who had given up on life. His once white uniform was stained and his hair greasy. His eyes had a strange sunken look and were threaded with scarlet so densely that they appeared pink. His cheeks glowed under broken veins, his actions were slow, clumsy. The new proprietor looked at the dishes prepared, the menu samples. No wonder he'd bought the place for a song. Time to undo his fathers life work, starting with firing the staff.
Gordon got in and slammed the door to his bedsit harder than strictly necessary. He liked the sound it made, like it was telling the world to go to hell on his behalf. He stripped of his chef-whites and hung them on the back of the door before cracking a beer open and slamming a ready-made meal for one in the microwave and opening a family sized bag of corn chips and a shop-bought jar of salsa. Home wasn't for cooking, he had enough of that at work.
Amelia put on her whites and tidied her hair under the net. She had dreamed of being a chef since girlhood, always watching cooking shows and trying to make the dinner. She was soon experimenting with recipes and developing her own, compiling a recipe book for when she made it big. Somehow it was taking longer to become famous. She made great food, the customers of the hotel sent back only compliments, so when was she getting the big break? When was she getting her own show and a string of restaurants?
Ted picked up the chopping knife and cut the vegetables into perfect matchsticks in the time it took most people just peel the carrots. Every motion was precise from intense repetition and he prided himself on the machine-like perfection of his shapes. Everything was even, uniform, perfect. He looked over at the sous chef and scowled. So slow! So inept! He'd been born faster than that! His eyes narrowed as she applied the seasoning and his mouth tightened to a thin straight line, “Too much, too much!”
Father was impossible to take out for dinner anywhere other than his own restaurant. Whatever he tasted elsewhere he knew how they could have improved it and assumed the chefs were lazy and inept. So eventually we gave up trying. Instead, even on his birthday, they would arrive at “La Luna” at the designated time, order, and then wait while he went to the kitchens to “supervise.” But at least then everyone could all enjoy the meal, showering praise on the chef.