I've often had people exclaim to me or my boyfriend that dating a chef would be awesome.
Well walking through a beautiful country field is also spectacular but it doesn't mean you won't step in a heaping pile of fermenting cow dung.
I think the first thing that everyone perceives to be the 'norm' is that you'll have amazing food cooked for you every night...
Shush. I'd live off green apples and mi goreng if I didn't care about having regular bowel movements every morning.
Think of the reality that at dinner time for you Ninetofivers I'm probably up to my neck in fat, meat juice, salad prep or head first, ass up in a chest freezer, lifeguard-hauling the back up pork belly because the good people of Melbourne decided to order it for once.
Oh yeah. We smell...
I'll be coming home well after you've eaten, maybe even gone to bed and if I have an appetite at all, it's for a bottle of red or six magnificent specimens of the Heineken variety that I salute with the same form of adoration you see for soldiers, like they're tall, sleek, green glass representations of the ANZACs.
I might even pull out the big guns and have toast. Or if I've got the energy and my hands aren't too blistered and cut up, I'll fire up some mi goreng in the magical, oversized box-clock that occasionally cooks shit.
'Microwave' for anybody that didn't get that.
But stemming back to my inner feminist - expect me to cook and you're probably going to have her come out to play, or more accurately, erupt out of the depths of some far away abyss... and bite your fucking head off before cowering over a tin of ALDI tuna with lime and cracked pepper (because I'm a fancy fucker at home in the right mood... Or when the nuker is put in the too hard basket) and the Conen O'Brian show.
I do cook for people, but no differently than you would. Simple is delicious. Pork belly, rough spuds, some form of green leafy thing because it balances the bland colours of cholesterol and carb on the plate.
Chef Tip Number Two: Cheap and cooked right overrides sous vide fois gras any day.
Smother that little piggy in salt and don't cook your broccoli until it resembles a wet sock. The next time you're stressing about cooking for a chef just stop. We like our potato mash chunky, our lasagne a bit burnt and I put parmesan on my fucking seafood pasta. Italian connoisseurs can fuck right off on that one. I'm going to go all Danielle Steel on you here, but we feel loved when we're cooked for, nobody does it. In 6 months, two people have braved the stove top for me - my housemate and my Mum and she maintains she does it all better than me anyway (and for the most part, for a home meal, she does.)
Because with me you get served 2 parts protein, 1 part starch with a side of I Don't Give A Fuck I've Done This Shit For 80 Hours This Week.
Oh and Date Night?
More like "Sorry love can't do this weekend I have a 305 vegan wedding but does Tuesday seven weeks from now between 1:15 and 4 suit you?"
There's nothing sexy about checking out the latest bar or restaurant on a dead Tuesday night surrounded by dickwads who were too cheap for a babysitter and senior citizens who missed the 4:30 early birds bingo wings special of meat and three veg at the local RSL.
Women dating male chefs? You hear all the stories about how they're raw, passionate sex addicts, (quite inevitably true if you're a petite waitress, the back linen bags are clear and it's been a while) but I can quite clearly inform you that you will be turning to your little battery operated rabbit more often than not because the mental stress of his day is going to topple his ability to get hard to the cute little lacy number you purchased that day... If he notices at all.
We have been trained to be emotionless.
Lucky with my boy's scenario and in my general experience for the case of women chefs, we still have that undeniable global need to be loved, to be satisfied. I dunno it must be printed in our genetic makeup. Deny a female chef sex when she wants it and you may as well give a leopard a wet willy - your chances of survival without severe mauling are certainly less.
Now, it isn't alllll bad.
My boy gets treated reasonably well considering. He puts up with a lot and for the life of me I have no idea why. But he doesn't have a princess girlfriend that will whinge to him when he wants to see his mates, who demands his undivided attention because 90% of the time, I just want to be left alone. The TV is always going to be on the cricket - no playing couch commando because the Ashes are on but The Mrs. wants to see the newly renovated patio on The Block.
No. The Ashes are on so THE ASHES ARE ON.
I have a good minute when I walk in the door, that I hold my boy. I hold him and I ask him how his day was even though I probably won't comprehend his response and not a single feeling in the world would make me feel more adored than I do at that moment.
So no, I don't understand people who come home, dump the keys and bag on the bench and shout a husky hello before saying "I'm having a bath, can you turn the oven on?"
What is wrong with you people?
We're miserable, passive aggressive bastards but if you're loved by a chef, you will never be loved harder by anybody else.
... Mainly because we're just grateful to have somebody.
If you can put up with us, we will put up with everything about you.
And yes, between me and the loved one, we have our moments, we're both quick witted with a short fuse and we can go from being cuddled on the couch to throwing metaphorical rocks at each other in a beeline for the face in nothing short of a blink.
So I guess mine is a little too understanding... I have an ego, so fighting with me is like teaching a 4 year old poker, have a Royal Flush all you want, I'm going to parade around my 3, 6, Jack, Ace and 7 like I've cured cancer.
The hardest part?
I reckon it has to be the fact that my job does not end when I leave the kitchen. I go home still buzzing on my adrenaline rush and freak out about how I forgot to order mushrooms, did I turn the oven off? Fuckity fuck fuck. Who was I supposed to call about roster changes..? Then later dreaming about docket machines going off and waking up to the shrill of the service bell whilst sleepily turning to this ever adoring man who for some God unkown reason, loves me and saying: "hunny no, that's not how you peel a zucchini."
Or worse when you stop yourself mid freak out, realising that you've transformed into a completely unreasonable psychopath from stressing about a mushroom, before curling into a ball for a teary-eyed version of Rambo in First Blood drawling some incomprehensible babble about what is essentially a fungus that can easily be purchased from Safeway.
What can I say - we're fucking weird.
But with all things good and bad, you have to have the annoying which sits somewhere in the middle.
Eventually: you will have to eat offal.
I don't think I need to make any more comments about this. And I use the word offal lightly, because you can be a 'foodie' all you want (don't even get me started on that fucking word) you will eventually have your significant loved one holding a pronged piece of silverware to your face saying "TRY THIS!"
And you'll do it.
Why will you do it?
Because you love them.
I'm not asking you to like it, or to ever eat it agian. But you will open up and chew and taste and swallow that shit in the most unglamorous way possible.
All of this aside - Even after all this rambling (if you've managed to stay in tune long enough to get this far... Many apologies) I do have a point.
Dating A Chef is not about all the negatives: it's just that the general public have a very misconstrued sense of what the positives are.
On countless occasions my boy will sneak to my house and climb into bed long before I've come home, sometimes before I've even finished soaping down the disintegrating and rather useless seal of my service fridge. Every now and then he'll wake up to someone who is telling her room to stay still due to too many staff drinks and whose natural response to "Good morning gorgeous girl" is "COOOOFFFFFFFFFEEEEEEE".
You might go to sleep alone. But you'll wake up wrapped up by someone that adores you. Who loves you unconditionally.
And if that's not enough for you?
Then for fuck's sake, don't Date A Chef.