From then to now … the prequel


I have been wanting to write some kind of auto-biography some some time now. But I had largely been put off by reading an old work colleague’s attempt. Believe it or not he started the thing the phrase:

I was born at an early age …

This was a miss-quote of a quite well known Groucho Marx statement. To be honest, I don’t remember much of my early childhood, and there are not too many people left to ask these days. So I decided that the ‘then’ would be my work start and the ‘now’ would be basically be the start of my current part-time job.

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In order to clarify a few points that may or may not crop up in this tale, I need to go back to school. It’s 1966 and I in the 2nd term of my 5th year at Harehills County SchoolSecondary school. It was just after Christmas and we were having our obligatory “Careers Advice” meeting. This took place after school an involved my form teacher, some very old bespectacled gentleman from the Careers office and my parents. Oh, and I was there too. My only role was to say what job I wanted to do when I left at the ripe old age of 16. That’s all I did. I said I wanted to be a draughtsman. It was my best subject and the one I enjoyed Draughtsmanto most. After stating this, I was totally ignored for the rest of the meeting whilst the other three parties discussed why this was not going to happen. To this day, the only clue I have is that I was not expected to get 2 grade 1’s and at least 2 grade 2’s (these were the CSE or Certificate of Secondary Education. If I had gone to a Grammar School, it would have been the GCE or General Certificate of Education which was the old ‘O’ level.) That was the one and only official Careers Advice I was ever had. In those days, kids who only obtained a CSE normally did not go onto University, and after nearly 12 years in a classroom, the idea of more education certainly did not appeal.

What was to become of me? What else interested me?

The inspiration came from a rather unexpected source. We had a geography teacher, whom most of the class detested. He never seemed very good at his subject and was the most arrogant Knittingperson I ever knew. But he had a habit of asking kids if there was anything worrying or bothering them. He asked me and I hadn’t realised that I was worrying about my job/career prospects. His Chefadvice was to look at interests and hobbies outside of school and consider if there was any opportunity there. I told him my three hobbies and he replied that plastic model kit building would get me nowhere and that at the time, there would be very few opportunities for a male knitter. But cooking, if I was good at it could ‘…take me places…’.

So that was it. I was going to be a cook/chef. Now all I had to do was find a way of getting to that status.

To be continued …

Just one pet hate …..


    Have you noticed, that one of the current trends in so called food journalism, is the ‘rustic look’. It’s that type of food presentation, where the food looks like it has just been dropped on a random plate, usually made out of galvanised tin. Quite often, there are bits of leaves or ground pepper something scattered around that plate. The plate is then presented on an old table and on some occasions is accompanied by a used spoon. It’s the ‘Jamie Oliver’ school of cooking. No finesse, no style, just slap it on a plate/piece of wood/slate and get down your neck. Do you like it? Do you think it is appealing? Does it give you a sense that ‘it’s the food that matters – not its looks’? I (as you may have gathered) don’t like it. When I trained as a chef, some forty years ago, I was told, that your first impression came from the smell of the food, then its look and finally, the taste. The smell and the look entice you and that both prepare you for the next stage, the taste. Well this ‘rustic’ style does nothing for me. So stop it with the battered plates and even more battered old furniture and stick to presenting food in a more attractive manner.

Here endeth my food rant.

    Anyone watch the last episode of Law & Order UK (28/07/2013). Is this where old Casualty actors go when they leave. First we had Ruth Winters playing Kate Barker then Paterson Joseph turns up as Wes Layton. Now this week were treated to Connie Beauchamp (ahhhh) and also Josh Griffin. All we need now is Nick Jordan to turn up as a prosecutor and it will be all sorted.