Thursday, October 18, 2012
Okay, so, this is a topic that has been on my mind for quite some time now; do ALL Chefs despise attending food-related events that they aren't presenting at/a part of? Or just mine?
Edmonton doesn't exactly have the most vibrant food scene in Canada, we're easily surpassed by Vancouver, Toronto, and even our neighbouring sister-city Calgary (three hours does in fact make a HUGE difference) but we do have a fabulous festival season. Our slogan is "The City of Champions" (due to our horrible hockey and football teams, apparently) but I have always felt it should be "The City of Kick-Ass Festivals". From the Fringe, to NewWorks, to Taste of Edmonton, to Jazz Fest, to Rocky Mountain Fest Edmonton is filled with awesome summer and fall festivals. All of which have amazing food available in a fun, outdoor setting.
Now, before my Chef and I started dating he had never gone to the Fringe. Ever. And he had lived near a participating city for his whole life, in one place or another. The Fringe is one of my all-time favourite events due to all the theater, and the fact that its an international event; I'm a theater junky. Two years ago I convinced my Cheffy-poo to attend with me... and, lo and behold, his favourite part (aside from the locally written song-cycle "Twenty-Five") was the availability of food deep fried within an inch of its life. ESPECIALLY the green onion cakes. I didn't mind, because at least it was a way for us to bond and spend some time together with the cell phone turned off (I'm a stickler about this rule at the theatre, no "silent" or "vibrate" mode for this girl). After seeing how much he enjoyed all the food, I suggested we attend the Taste of Edmonton festival which was simultaneously going on downtown. Taste of Edmonton is a festival in which a whole bunch of participating local restaurants (chains and independents alike) come together and present a selection of offerings from their menu in bite-sized or scaled down portions. You buy tickets, try food, and enjoy some hit-or-miss local beer all while enjoying the few scattered days of sunshine and heat that we actually GET in the summer. His response was
"Why would I want to go to that?!"
Well, maybe because its a great was to get out and enjoy the nice weather, some local artists, and try some food we might not ever have the time to try otherwise? Maybe because it might be nice to spend some time together that doesn't take place at midnight? Heck, maybe even because of the networking opportunities? But, no. He was adamant that we not waste our time, so most likely we ended up going to Home Depot that day instead. This same situation has come up with various other food-related festivals and events as well; wine and whiskey tastings at the Symphony, beer dinners at Sherbrooke Liquor, and I'm sure the Rocky Mountain Food and Wine Festival in November will be no different.
Is this a problem that other Chef's wives encounter? Or am I on my own with this one? Do other Chef's wives even ask to go to things like this with their partners? I'm curious!
Patience and love,
Well, I guess its about time I got around to posting something... I'm just a little bit of a perfectionist I guess. I had to make sure everything was set up the way I wanted it to be, before I even began to THINK about what I wanted to say in the first post. I'm just one of those people.
Being the more socially-productive half of a talented and dedicated Executive Chef isn't easy. Yes, its great that all your friends automatically become HIS friends as well, because he's too busy to go out and meet people and refuses to socialize with his employees. This means you don't have to worry about people liking you. Yes, its great that you have all these amazing and cool tools in your personal kitchen. You might not know how to use them, but you could learn. BUT the fact that you see each other for about 2 hours a day, on average and never consecutively, isn't so easy.
One of my favourite Canadian poets is Shayne Koyczan, if any of you watched the opening/closing ceremonies of the Vancouver Olympics you know who he is; he stole the show with his slam poem "We Are More" and the moment his mouth closed he had stolen my heart. In another one of his poems he brings up a complex set of feelings that I never understood until I fell in love with a Chef, he mentions that there is nothing like "... having to miss him at the same time you're with him. having him gone at the same time he's there ...". This sentence had floundered around on my tongue for years, and then I met the love of my life... and it all started to make sense. We like to think that just because we can shut work out of our lives, the ones we love can as well. This just isn't the case when you're involved with a Chef. There isn't any single moment in his life that won't be consumed by the thought of food. A night out at the theatre can easily be interrupted by a call from a panicked front of house manager, exclaiming that the oyster Chef just hurt himself and no one else can do his job except your man. An afternoon brunch with family can quickly turn in to your guy disappearing for an hour of two because he ran into another Chef he knows. Even time spent between the sheets is spent wondering, at least in part, about how service the next day is going to run and how much venison you need to have on hand... though I'm glad I finally figured out what a troubling line of prose means, part of me wishes I never had to find out.
The loneliness is hard to deal with sometimes, and the feeling of being second best isn't something any woman likes to feel. But I believe that for every action there is an equal, yet opposite, reaction. This situation is no different. For example, going out for dinner with a Chef is incomparable to going out with anyone else, especially if you're lucky enough to have an open minded and non-pretentious Cheffy like me! Every time we go to a restaurant, whether it be a fine dining establishment (ex. Violino's) or our favourite hole-in-the-wall pub (ex. Vinny's) I learn something new. Adam doesn't even have to say anything to me about food... the way he looks at what is placed in front of him, and watching his face as he tastes something for the first time is good enough for me!
The life of a Chef's wife is a tricky life, and you get very good at scheduling... but every second of heartache is worth it. Especially when he comes home, lays his head on your shoulder, and tells you how happy he is to be spending time with you, instead of being on a hot line cooking food for the general "I-know-best" Edmonton populous.
Remember, sharing is caring... and if there is anything a chef is good at, its sharing.
Patience and love,