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.

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