Now the heading is not a complaint. In the business of the Personal Chef in Manila, I get to cater to different people all over the metropolis. I get to go into their homes, condos and get intimate with what I call their inner sanctums: the kitchen.
All are different, all our unique in their own way. The heart of every home is the kitchen, a very close second is the bedroom, but that is another story. The variety of cooking equipment are limited only to one's domestic skills, and having worked professionally for the hotels, I tend to regard the kitchen inventory as a kind of book to read clients with.
One client I catered to recently had all the kind of spices you could think of. Even though the kitchen is not what a professional chef is used to, it is interesting that these culinary school graduates love to eat, love the variety, love exploring.
Then there are clients who cook to live, who eat to live, basically. You can spot them even from anyone's college days: one solitary electric burner, a mismatch of pots and pans, ingredients that would perfectly with assembly cooking, such as the client I had last night. The irony of this is that they have some ingredients that point to an occasional gourmet dinner - whole wheat pasta, mixed peppercorn grinder, balsamic vinegar from Modena, vialone rice grains, grapeseed oil, peanut oil, dried garlic, garlic flakes, and even the ever necessary extra virgin olive oil from Tuscany.
A Filipina and an Australian resides in this small cozy apartment, and their kitchen is a small nook next to the dining table. Though limited in space, as such is the case in most condos, They had some equipment that made up for the lack of convenience one would expect to be living independently. A slow cooker is a good substitute for an oven when braising, and I have to say, the braised tilapia in lemon came out great. Since they did not have a proper pasta drainer, the linguine was cooked 8 minutes al dente in a pot then drained into a hand held strainer. The electric stove top was difficult to control, but the caramelization in the pomodoro sauce was near perfect. I made use of every form of bowl in their china to make the avocado mayo dressing and the balsamic marinate for the chicken breasts.
Cooking was done in two hours, and was able to leave heating instructions, since the menu involved a week's worth or pre-cooking. I left to brave the torrential rains outside, forgetting to get coconut cream that I had to get for dinner at home.
30 minutes later, I got a text message from the client saying 'the dinner was awsome! looking forward to tomorrow's entree'. Despite the cold, miserable weather, despite being crushed in a bus on the way home, despite the gray that has colored Metro Manila's streets, a warmth came over me knowing that once again someone is enjoying good company over a good meal that which otherwise they would have not experienced. I intend to change the world, one dinner at a time.