The year is twenty ten for the personal chef

It is imperative that 2009 remain behind us, below us, or whatever. At least for my case, it was not one of the best years. Each and every individual believes in the idea of a perfect circle of life one way or the other. Karma, Yin and Yang, what goes up must come down kind of jazz. Most of the year has been trying, making me appreciate the simple pleasures more. Such as the first time I saw my little Maxine stand proud with chest out after having her first medals pinned on her graduation dress, the afternoons that I get to sleep uninterrupted, the taste of great parmiggiano reggano crystals, spending some moments with Rossana, the smell of my bath liquid soap. Sometimes when I am down in my luck i reflect on what I could have been doing wrong, or what I have not done at all. I can not say if I found myself staring into space, but I remember the times when my shoulders would ache because of stress, because of worries, because of the unexpected. Those moments were not very pleasant, but it did make me and the people around me stronger. And with head up high, I look forward to the coming year with the following resolutions:

Get more outdoor time

Get more kitchen gadgets

Quit smoking

Make new friends

Join more social network clubs (OFFLINE)

Look for and cook more Italian Recipes (at least once a month)

Pay off ALL my debts

Be an expert in Photoshop

Learn Adobe Premiere

Spend more time with Rossana

Spend more time with Maxine

Restaurant hop at least once a month

Save up at least 10% of all my earnings each month

Live within my means

Get The Naked Chef Book

Get the Silver Spoon Recipe Book

Be less critical

Bike more

Drink 8 glasses of water each day

Change toothbrushes every 3 months

Get fluent in German and French again

Travel more

Practice Zen to Done

Calm down

Rev up

Lose the negative people

Be more pleasant

Be firm

Be more flexible
Maintain weight at 165 pounds

Take care of my shoes more

Be adamant in getting the Souped Up Restaurant up this year

Spread the joy

Pray more

Love more

Frown less

Pout less

Have more sex

Be more inquisitive of new ingredients

Spark my curiosity

Feed on my curiosity

Lose myself

Live in the moment

Live in the present

Chuck out the ALL CAPS on my keyboard



Have I missed anything?

A unique gift for Christmas

A few weeks ago I got an email from a woman who wanted cooking classes conducted. After a few queries, it turns out it was for her boyfriend who so loved salmon, bacon, walnuts and chocolate. The good things in life. And she wants a personal chef to attend to it. Some may think this is an underhanded approach for a woman to get the man thinking about settling down (wink,wink), but it is so far from the truth. At least for this couple it was more of giving than expecting.

The other night was the appointed time. I came in a few hours early into a wonderfully appointed kitchen to make the preparations. Knives mounted neatly on magnetic strips against the walls, all manner of pots and pans, a centrally located prep table, and an upright cabinet with all the kinds of spices that I would be so happy to get my hands and nose in. Turns out the family loves food, and cooking food. My client Michiko, turns out to be an avid baker, complete with the prerequisite artisan Kitchen Aid mixer. At 7PM, the couple walk-in. Art, the victimized boyfriend, looks arouond the kitchen, then at the stranger in a chef's uniform, busily messing up the prisitine cooking area. 'For Christmas,' coos Michiko,' I am presenting you a personal chef for private cooking lessons.' If you could paint a picture of his face, like a kid with a brand new toy set on Christmas Morn. He suddenly felt giddy, nervous, and sporting a smile that stretched between the ears like there is no tomorrow. We started the lesson with much anticipation. Art admitted he was a little nervous, but eventually he warmed up to the occassional  advice of 'taste what you eat', 'hold the kniife like this' and ' never trust a skinny chef'.

The Menu

Green Pea and bacon soup


Baklava Salmon with balsamic marinated zucchini and asparagus spears


Mousse au chocolat

The couple are very much in love with each other. And from what I have observed, they are very much in sync with each other. They seem to know each others' movment in the kitchen. And Michiko must have cooked for him several times. As they sat down to dinner, I surreptitiously catch a glance at them as they tasted their dishes, as they savored the rich soup, the savory salmon main course. They quietly ate, probably exchanging sweet nothings out earshot while I cleaned up. I left them very much to themselves after that, as they appeared to be very much into each other and, to me at least, very happy. That is what makes this job so rewarding. I hope I have made a small and significant contribution to their relationship.  As I leave, I recount the day's events, and the dreaded Christmas shopping I had to face in an hour's time. Even though I was faced with the hassle of tired sales ladies and monstrous traffic, I felt content that everything turned out alright over that dinner table. Merry Christmas Art and Michiko.


The kitchen T-shirt, why not?

When I started out in the professional kitchen, the standard issue uniform was made I think of plastic made into strings and then woven together into what would later resemble some sort of chef’s jacket. With the hotel name stitched on, I wore it proudly, strutting my stuff around the kitchen, showing off to all and sundry that I work for the greatest hotel in Manila. Over time the material was, shall we say, grew uncomfortable.

For anyone who knows what the professional kitchen is like, you know where I am coming from. It’s hot, it’s fast, it’s cramped, it’s dangerous. The uniform proved to be a hindrance in most cases while working. The material, being plastic based, or some synthetic crap, absorbs contact heat like anything. As splash of hot oil? 1st degree burn since the burning liquid stays on the jacket. Hot oven blast after opening the door?  Your torso continues to bake up to the time when you lay out the dishes on the buffet. The Hotel school I attended always emphasized the importance of an undershirt. Now I know why. It insulates you from the heat. It absorbs blood and sweat easily. It protects the scraping of cheap polyester material across your backside. And when you are off duty, you still look presentable, since the food splatters have not marred the beauty of the graphic design you so painstakingly had to scour the entire mall for.

I have a few T-shirts. Most of them white, but I do have some cool black ones, courtesy of my girlfriend who used to work for the liquor industry. It does make a difference when working with a comfortable undershirt. A crew neck T-shirt is best. For the stylish, Carson from the Queer Eye suggest a V-neck. Not for kitchen work, though. The V-neck is best prancing around in suit.

I made the following designs, in addition to what is already on store. I am going to make a few prints for my work. This at least makes it special. My own. Made of a great cotton blend, they are flexible,




The designs are simple. Minimalist. Straight to the point. Such as my cooking. What designs do you like? What do you think of the designs above? Some have already made orders. Interested? Leave a comment, please.


Coolest kitchen gadgets

 We all are gadget crazy in one way or another. Be it the latest mobile phone, the the greatest laptop. Cameras, MP3 players, anything to make our life more enjoyable. In my case, I love the gadgetry that comes with cooking. Recently I posted about what I would like to have in my Christmas stocking. I want to have these as well...

Jaws in my Cup! - I'm not much a fan of tea, but this is so cool! Having it bob around, with the fin as an easy handle. the basket is submerged just below the surface to infuse the flavor. Can it play the movie theme? I wish it could.

Got Milk? - the udders tell the story!

Foldable kitchen scale - this would really be conveniently tucked into my knife bag. Not much bigger than a typical spice shaker when folded up, its minimalist design will be a great addition to any culinary arsenal.

Quirky Knife block - The morbidity of this tickles my fancy.

Knife Magnet - This bar would greatly display the precious knives that have been acquired over the years. Stainless steel construction. Can hold 10 knives securley.

Out of this world juicer - easy wash, with strainer. Plus, it is a great conversation piece. the design is a plus for invaders fans.

Fridge Clock. With this twist on the fridge magnet, one can now schedule the varied activities. Quite minimalist.

Do you have a cool kitchen gadget? Post your link here! Leave a comment.


Banana tarte tatin...

This is from my mentor, my god, Jamie Oliver. The recipe turns out a lovely dessert.

This is such a great recipe The thing I love most about it is how simple it is All you need to do is buy some readymade puff pastry split a few bananas in half and get something magical happening in t...

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Personal Chef Wish List

Christmas season. A time of giving. A time of sharing. For warm hugs, family time, quality time, differences set aside. And there are people like us who would dream of things, wishing upon a star for a few deliriously fantastical things. What would I like to have stuffed in my stocking?

Microplane grater

Global Chef's 10" Knife

Kitchen clogs from Denmark, size 43

A case of Maldon Salt

Magnetic Digital Day Counter, for when I need to know when to throw it out

KitchenAid Artisan Series, in Hot Rod Red no less!

Jamie Oliver's Flavor Shaker

Reveo Marivac Food Tumbler. Because this thing actually works!

The complete BBC Comedy Chef Series on DVD

Le Creuset Cast Iron French oven in Cherry Red

Chiasso Magnetic Spice Jars. Oh this would be so lovely on the wall, better than a dinky spice rack 

1 GB Dual DVI Video Card. Well, why not soup up my PC?

1 gallon Selecta Ube Ice Cream

Batman Tumbler RC. I want to turn this into a PC

Instead of a wristwatch, a Pop Swatch is convienently readable from my chef jacket sleeve

This blogsite, having URL

A large granite mortar and pestle

500 satisfied users of my Excel Recipe Cost Sheet

Tassos Greek EVO

Mavrodaphne dessert wine from Patras, Greece

A pasta machine, to make lovely raviolis

It's not much of a list, but it is a list. Hmmmm. What is your wish list?