Wednesday, 17 October 2007



When I embarked upon this journey, I knew I would probably sustain a few more injuries than I had done in my advertising career. True, at times I suffered from chronic boredom, powerpoint induced migraines, and shattering ear pain from some of the utter crap spouted in meetings. Fortunately though, none of it drew blood.

Well, apart from the time i stabbed my leg with a biro under a meeting room table to keep myself awake while listening to the millionth marketing discussion about a modern woman's need for "pampering" and "me-time". It wasn't worth the pain or the trouser damage. I should have just caught some zzzzzzzzzzs.

Kitchens on the other hand are dangerous places. Heat=pain. Sharp things=pain. Hot sharp things = serious pain. Hot sharp things + salt + lemon juice + chilli powder = guantanamo interrogation.

On the many TV programmes where I have watched chefs using mandolins, they always warn you to keep your fingers away from the blade, and if possible use a guard. Now I see why. Yesterday evening I was invited by Steve Wallis to help him with a cookery demonstration he was doing for House and Garden and Poggenpohl and I willingly accepted. He had a great menu lined up and the first thing he asked me to do was mandolin some turnips to produce some wafer thin discs. No problem, but I was conscious there was no hand guard.

Do you ever suffer from that weird compulsion to do the exact opposite of what you're trying to do? Like when you're trying really hard not to blaspheme in front of your devoutly religious grandparents? The tourettes kicks in and by God does it become impossible to not take the Lord's name in vain. Or when you're wandering around the narrow aisles of a fine china shop and your elbows suddenly take on the proportions of a 747's wings. Or when faced with an impressive cleavage and a low-cut top, eye-to-eye contact becomes a struggle against gravity, no matter how loudly the voice in your head is telling you to NOT LOOK DOWN. Probably just a guy thing, that last one. I think there may be a concentration threshold above which things start going a bit out of control.

So as I sliced those turnips, and focused purely on keeping my fingers intact, there was only one possible outcome. This would be a short evening. Casualty was beckoning. The blipping theme tune was beginning to play in my head. Charlie Fairhead, nurses in uniform, possible cleavages, then arggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, Jesus! Mary! Joseph! shocked grannies, and it was all over.

Thumb carpaccio. A coulis of blood. Thank you and good night.

I ended up spending more time in A&E than i did in the kitchen and was as much use to Steve as curdled hollandaise. On the plus side I had sustained my first kitchen injury, and the first of many I'm sure. In the right column of this blog I'm going to keep a record of injuries sustained in the course of duty - I think it's a little more interesting than cigarettes and calories, Bridget Jones.

Congrats to Steve on what apparently was a very successful night, and thanks to Meri for walking me to St Thomas Hospital!

1 comment:

Steven said...

hello! glad to see your sliced thumb made it onto your blog, how is it? Oh, do you still want some restaurant recs in Paris - this is a long shot, but this place is the quintessential Parisian eaterie, a sort of ramshamkle, arty and French St. John. It's called Chez Denise and nestled somewhere in Les Halles.... vague I know, hope it helps.