On Friday afternoon, just after packing the salads in the car for the 94th birthday party, just when I thought the week was over, I get a call from a guy at kitchensurfing. They’re having an event on Saturday at the Williams-Sonoma store for the tax-free weekend and the chef they had lined up backed out. Could I do the event last minute? I would be there to promote myself and kitchensurfing, while passing out some tasty, homemade bites of my own choosing.
Guest chef at Williams-Sonoma?! How could I pass up something like this?
So I said yes, forgetting plans of a relaxing Friday night of doing nothing and I began planning what to make for my big day. I pictured crowds of people huddled around different chefs tables, competing for food and the stack of my business cards flying off the shelves. They told me there could be hundreds of people coming in, but I just needed to provide a little taste for each sample. I rushed out to the store Friday night and returned with my goods, hoping it would be enough.
7 am Saturday morning I woke up, no alarm, my wheels already turning. I practically sleepwalked to the kitchen, getting out butter and eggs out to come to room temperature. Back to bed for an hour. When 8 am struck, I was up and moving – making cookie dough, caramelizing onions, chopping spinach and rolling out pie dough.
After a couple hours of work (and only a brief scare around 10:30 when the City of Brookline decided to shut off our water without warning – no hand washing! No dish washing! I just couldn’t use hand sanitizer while cooking!) I had a beautiful display of my work (transformation!) and a clean kitchen to boot. I even had informative signs to display with my food (thanks to my assistant for making them).
I grabbed my apron and my clogs and headed out, my arms full of food.
The event went well, but the throngs of people I had envisioned swarming the mall and my stack of business cards disappearing quickly did not happen. I gave out food to hungry people, had some great conversations about catering with a few people, and gave out plenty of business cards. The best part was the many people who came back for seconds, thirds, and fourths of my tasty little bites because that says more than words can.
Some of my favorite lines after trying a bite:
“It’s good, but it’s too healthy for me.”
(Said very matter-of-fact-ly) “This is good and I would know because I’m a cook.” Great, thanks, because being a lover of food or a human being probably doesn’t qualify you to enjoy good food.
(As he walks away) – “Mmmmm, honey you should try this ginger cookie!” (comes back for more). “Can I take some for my wife?”
Sure! (Big grin from me).
I had a great time overall and had some lovely interactions with the Williams-Sonoma staff, who also loved the food, especially their intern who invited me to join one of their future events. She liked the quiche so much, she begged me for a piece to take home with her (“it’s so rare that I find a vegetarian quiche!”) and I happily obliged.
I came home with a ton of cookies and a whole pan of quiche (dinner tonight!) and ended my lovely evening with a nice dinner out with Sam and a good friend of ours. It was wonderful to see her and we caught up on each others’ lives.
“So when can you call yourself a chef?” she asked me at one point in the evening.
“Whenever you want,” I said, but today I definitely earned it.