Jump forward to the end of 2008 and a chance discussion between myself and a friend who owned an eetcafe in Amsterdam (part bar, part restaurant), this resulted in me jumping at the chance of taking over the kitchen for a day as a guest chef to share some ideas and to see if people might respond to the concept. The fact I didn’t have a single days professional experience as a chef didn’t matter to me at the time! (making scrambled eggs in my mums cafe as an 11 year old didn’t count)
Sunday January 18th 2009, Jason, who thought he could prepare his full a la carte menu for brunch and dinner service starting at 2pm on Saturday with a hang over in his tiny home kitchen and then deliver it to a 40 cover restaurant on his own was in for the rudest awakening of his life.
Under prepared in every respect, 3 hours sleep due in part to a very sick dog after a act of kindness in giving him a veal bone from the stock pot went sadly awry, under prepped and with no experience it looked like the dream of cooking was about to end almost before it began. I have never felt so helpless.
A phone call from a close friend (thank you Patricia Bennett) and an offer of help (albeit from someone who also had no professional kitchen experience) meant there was a chance.
14 hours later, 92 people and 167 plates of food had been served, a dedicated vegetarian friend (thank you Katie Pow) had squeezed in a corner on small metal shelf to roll out fresh pasta for an hour so she herself could eat. Patricia’s beloved Uggs were ruined. But we’d done it.
It was a million miles from perfect, but the divide had been crossed. There was no going back now.
Being given a Sunday as my platform what quickly became clear was that what people were crying out for wasn’t necessarily another dinner option on a school night, least of all from a relative amateur, but was a great brunch.
Initially this challenged my concept of lovefood, I had always thought of it around dinner dishes, did I really want making “eggs and bacon” to be my food journey? Once I put my ego to one side it became clear this was in fact absolutely lovefood. Simple, cherished dishes such as eggs benedict sum up perfectly the ethos of cherished food. When you look at every element of what seems a simple dish actually there was a lot you needed to do right here. Perfect poached eggs with velvet yolks, beautiful light English muffins, flavourful cured organic ham and of course a unctuously smooth Hollandaise sauce with the right amount of acidic bite. I was intrigued.