Saturday, November 15, 2008

Chef whites/French Fancy not-so-whites

I am the world's messiest cook. I drip, splash, drop and throw food around whilst cooking. I miss receptacles when spooning something from a pan to its destination. Our hob is black ceramic and at the end of a cooking bout it looks like something from a Jackson - Jack the dripper - Pollock painting. What I would like to know is how do television chefs stay so clean, pristine, perfect in their whites?

As I write this I am also watching a French tv chef on channel 8 create the sort of dish that needs lots of preparation. He has several dishes, pans, bowls on the go and he is impeccably clean. It's being done in real time, there is no stopping the camera whilst he goes and changes jackets - he is neat, dapper, pale of face and very very calm. If it were me doing the same dish I would be a mess, splattered and red-cheeked but, strangely enough, I would also be very very calm because I positively adore to cook. Never mind that I create a maelstrom in the kitchen; I really do enjoy the process but I wish that I didn't look quite so dégueulasse* at the end of it.

I wonder why you don't see more chefs wearing blacks. I know you can buy them but I have yet to see anyone wearing them. What about you? Are you a messy or a clean cook?


*disgusting

48 comments:

Dumdad said...

Messy but I clean up afterwards so what's the problem?

justme said...

I tend to make the kitchen messy when I cook, but don't usually get too much food on ME! I guess if I needed to be less sloppy I could be, but I love to cook too, so I am usually pretty relaxed and just not bothering about the mess. It can always be cleaned up afterwards!
Those TV chefs are probably making a special effort for the cameras!

Henry the Dog said...

My Uncle Hugh does all the cooking and he is really messy, which is why I always sit close by when he's doing it. More ends up on the floor than anywhere else - that's where I come in. I hoover the floor. Mum grumbles because she's the one who does the cleaning. She often says "...sometimes I'd rather you simply open a can of beans..." Poor Uncle Hugh can't do anything right.

Blu said...

Well I used to cook for a living. But I too manage to miss the receptacle. I manage to cover the cooker and surrounding area, with the gretest of ease. Sadly I have the same problem with water too.

It is easy to remain calm in the kitchen when all the prep work is done by others and 50 people are not waiting for various dishes. Sheer hell on earth.

French Fancy said...

dumdad - It's not the kitchen that's the problem really. It's me - I have to change even after simple stuff like making the dog food. I'm very clumsy.

justme - Maybe if I tried, really tried I could get away with just a couple of stains at the end of a session.

Henry, you sound just like Poppy. I bet you also get shouted at when people fall over you. Misty hides when I cook because a plate once dropped on the floor beside her.


blu - a professional that admits to the same problem as me. Excellent!

Anonymous said...

I love cooking too. I'm a 'clean cook'.........whatever I'm doing-writing,sewing,drawing,checking photographs-I 'have' to have the space organised so that I can give 100% focus to what I'm doing. Mountains erupt,buildings fall.......I'm oblivious.

The Dotterel said...

They all have abundant 'sous' chefs doing all the dirty work - that's why they wear white! I'm the cleanest cook in town, but my wife... oh, hello dear!

Simplicity said...

I'm a clean-as-you-go person. I need to have a plan in place for whatever I'm attempting to cook so my measuring cups/spoons, pots, utensils, etc. all get lined up in one area and then I start chopping/mincing/cutting the required ingredients and set them aside in little bowls and slowly build it all together with some music in the background and a glass of wine in my hand. It takes forever, but I love it and after 5 glasses of wine EVERYTHING tastes just as perfect as I thought it would!! :) (Just kidding...I usually stick to the one)

Mama said...

I buy a cake from Raley's, bring it home, put it on a plate, throw some flour in my hair and around the counter and wait for hubby to return from work to show him what I just made, no really, I love to cook but am really messy but hubby also loves to cook and everything he cooks is divine but why he has to use every single pot, pan, dish, spoon and ladle is just a mystery to me.
Those TV chef's have a little team of people running around out of sight, passing things and washing etc etc.
If you had a black pinny wouldn't the white flour look just as bad as the meat sauce on it?. Kathy

willow said...

Back when I used to do a lot of catering work, I wore a chef's jacket. They were great. Now I still wear a full body apron. Always. I am quite the messy cook and it sure saves on clothes!

nikkicrumpet said...

whilst taking the entree from the freezer to the microwave...I make very little mess. Sometimes when I pull the plastic cover off the top...I will get stuff on the countertop...but I usually wipe it up within a few days. I hardly ever spill on my clothes..until I start eating. This would be funny if it wasn't also true!

Malloc Internal said...

I usually tend to spoil the floor while cooking. But rarely i do spoil my cloths (i do some times when i cook for 5-8 friends). You would be amazed to know how organized/neat my mom is while cooking. She doesn't wear apron and still comes clean out of the kitchen. And she is efficient in using number of utensils.

I believe, not spoiling cloths is a systematic art which can be developed over a time, if you have the streak for the art.

julie said...
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French Fancy said...

anonymous (hello you) - I think you are a very efficient, organised and neat person in all your spheres of life. Well, that's the impression I get anyway.

The dotterel - well, we regularly go to two restaurants here where the food is superb. Both chefs wear sparkling whites,their underlings also look impeccable. In fact they look better than most of their customers.


simplicity - I bet it is five, go on - admit it:)
I'm actually very organised when I cook but I just make a mess all over myself, the hob, oven, floor and counters.


Kathy - I don't need to throw some flour in my hair - it just sort of gets there. I've got wild curly hair that acts like a magnet for all foodstuffs.It is a truism that men use many more utensils and bits and pieces when they cook.


willow - If I had a full body apron it would look so disgusting so quickly that I think I would be a health hazard. I do have some traditional aprons - albeit silly ones - but they have so many stains on - washed in ones - that I am too ashamed to wear them.

nikki - hehehe, you are juggling so many balls in the air that you have to cut corners when you can. The corners of the microwave meals for example. I'm the messiest eater in the world and when I'm at home (should I even confess to this?) I usually have a napkin tucked into my collar. However, I am a perfect spag bol eater - as mentioned during my recent meme.

malloc - you do realise that you now have to find an equally clean and neat person as and when you settle down with someone. Imagine if you ended up with someone like me - coming out of the kitchen looking like a bag-lady in a skip.

virginia said...

as i washed my dishes late last night, i looked around and wondered: "who made this mess?".
only two adults eating, and one (me) cooking.
i want a sous-chef!

your comment about my teacher (in france)...the village was le fresne, near conches-en-ouche. my brain was completely re-configured by those two years in normandy, the second spent near autheuil-authouillet.

virginia said...

as i washed my dishes late last night, i looked around and wondered: "who made this mess?".
only two adults eating, and one (me) cooking.
i want a sous-chef!

your comment about my teacher (in france)...the village was le fresne, near conches-en-ouche. my brain was completely re-configured by those two years in normandy, the second spent near autheuil-authouillet.

virginia said...
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julie said...
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blogthatmama said...

French Fancy I'm a reluctant AND bad one.

French Fancy said...

Goodness - I fiddle about with my settings and then my real name gets displayed on my comments. That's why I keep deleting incidentally.

righty ho -

blogthatmama - yes, but you are an exceptionally busy working mum. What excuse do I have? (and I bet you are being modest)

Pat said...

Hi and thank you for your nice comment on my blog post today. I am also a big fan of Meryl Streep. She is so unaffected and natural even though she is the ultimate star.

I am a half and half messy cook. I try to clean up as I go but usually lots of stuff ends up on the floor and over me. I think TV chefs are able to edit out the mess, and they have off camera people doing all the prep work.

French Fancy said...

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marc aurel said...

I'm clean and precise, but not creative. My brothers are incredible cooks and very messy.

How charmed we all were by Jean Paul Belmondo saying dégueulasse about Jean Seberg.

French Fancy said...

pat - I bet Meryl is impeccable in the kitchen - I can't imagine her ruffled, stained, dishevelled - not like us mortals, eh?

Mark - we must be opposites in the kitchen then. I'd like to think I was more like one of your bros - well the messy bit is like me, not sure about the rest.

The only Belmondo film I've seen was 'a bout de souffle' and it was a long long time ago, during a French season at the NFT in London. Was it from that film?

aliceinparis said...

I am a messy cook that cleans up after!
Thanks for popping by for a visit:))

Bill Stankus said...

Hey, that easy! Since I don't cook, there's no problem of choosing. Tho the black one would make a good Halloween costume for me - only if I could also wear a matching chef's hat.

DJ Kirkby said...

Very messy as I cook and loving every minute of it.

French Fancy said...

hello aliceinparis - that sounds so nice when it's said. I'm a messy cook that cleans up afterwards and also has to change the top half of my clothes - invariably. And when flour is involved, very often the bottom half and the footwear:) I think all you artists know how to control your hands better than me.

Bill - I bet the black chef's hat is available. There are some strange cheffing uniforms though - which I had no idea of until I began looking for the picture on this post.

dj - I wonder if it's something we pick up from our mums - or the main 'homemaker'. Maybe as a little one I sat watching my mum drop,splash,splatter and generally create mayhem and thought it was the thing to do. Mind you, she produced haute cuisine so it didn't matter having to help her clear up - it was worth it.

Lane said...

Very messy I'm afraid. And like you, I'm mainly the target for the mess. Sometimes I remember to put on my apron but somehow that remains spotless whilst my clothes get splattered.

And also like you I have a black hob which shows everything:-)

East Anglian Troy said...

I'm absolutely ashamed to say that I can't cook at all. Now I've retired I have half considered going on a cookery course - one of those residential ones - but I could be the only male and also discover that I have no talent for cooking. What do think?

French Fancy said...

lane, Isn't it annoying? When we go out to restaurants I really really have to watch every morsel I eat because it just falls so easily on to my front. I've got so many tops I've had to throw out because of food stains that just won't be removed, despite the products that are meant to work.

Troy - it's going to be one of those things you occasionally think about - 'yes, I think I will go on a cookery course' and never get round to doing. You're too busy in your premature retirement (me as well, if truth be told).

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Hi, French Fancy! I'm a clean-as-you-go person. Probably because my kitchens have never been large enough to accommodate projects that use up lots of space through the accumulation of used dishes. My goal when I move to the next place: getting one with plenty of counter footage.

Mama said...

hehe glad you liked the elves

Anonymous Girl With A Big Mouth said...

I tend to clean as I go along. I hate to cook in a dirty kitchen I'm a freak that way- everything has to be perfect and everything I need must be at an arms length :D

French Fancy said...

controub - I know what you mean about lack of space. My counter top area is severely limited and even though I am quite organised during cooking I just can't stay clean


mama - you must spend ages planning and thinking about your blog - and it shows. It really is inspired


anongirl - oh, please don't get me wrong. My kitchen is spotless, it's cleaned properly every day. It's just that when I cook I mess myself and the hob, floor etc etc. But Mr FF is my daily kitchen cleaner - he says he enjoys it. I'm always paranoid about food hygiene as well, so go to extraordinary lengths to make sure no corner goes unturned with His Cleaning. I wish he could clean me so easily.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

I must admit that I can cook (although hubby does 99.9%). I'd like to get better at it. I think it's just a question of practice. To be honest does it matter whether you are messy or clean? (As long as no chicken blood is dripping...) It's the taste that matters in the end. I do love wonderful tasting food. You are lucky to live in France for that!

lucy fishwife said...

How is it possible for anyone to cook any kind of tomato sauce and NOT get it everywhere? It bubbles like Vesuvius - and those swanky splatter-screens items do NOTHING to stop it... I always find it's messier if I'm wearing a pale colour as well...

French Fancy said...

Hadriana - how great to have your husband cook for you. I'm a terrible back-seat cook when Mr FF takes the reins - its far easier on all-round temper tantrums for me just to do it all.

hello lucy fishwife (great name). I burn myself fairly regularly on bubbling tomato sauce. It's bloody alive!

cheshire wife said...

I think that I am a fairly clean cook but I always wear an apron when I make anything. I have notced that our kitchen counter tops do not show crumbs in artificial light but all is revealed the following morning in the daylight!

Carol and Chris said...

I adore cooking....there is nothing I like better than deciding what we're going to eat, shopping at local stores for the ingredients and then spending the afternoon cooking (and drinking wine of course!!). I can't wait till we're back in the UK so that I can do that again....we have no air-con in the kitchen and it's just too hot to cook in there!! I miss it terribly!!!

C x

Ps. I'm a clean cook but do always end up red faced with rather frizzy hair!!

French Fancy said...

cheshire wife - here in France we follow the French tradition of a proper meal at lunchtime and a snack in the evening. Because of this every spot, stain and blemish is exposed at the time of its happening.

Carol - we must be frizzy-haired red-faced twins. That's one thing I remember from my trip to Thailand - my hair refused to go into its usual curls - it was like a brillo pad around my head. Bloody humidity.

Moannie said...

I have had many years to get the whole cooking thing down to a fine art. Unless I am doing a roast, no meal takes longer than 30minutes, try to wash up as I go and leave the rest for JP my sous chef/dishwasher/husband.
Secret is in the planning.

As for the tv chefs, they have an army rushing about in the background and almost everything is pre-prepared and cooked.

Sandi McBride said...

Ah, a "Chef" after my own heart...I usually wear more than I cook or eat! It's how the family knows what's for dinner! Congrats on the Post of the Day mention from David.
Sandi

Hilary said...

I have a very small kitchen with next-to-no counter space, so yeah, it can get pretty messy. My clothes usually escape relatively unscathed. Now that I've said this, I'll probably dump sauce on my shoes or something. Here from David's.

French Fancy said...

moannie - (I should have had your name really - because I do) - you do sound organised. Mr FF watches from the sidelines whilst I throw food around - not deliberately, it just happens. But then every evening he comes out like magic - I get banished and love that I don't have to clean it.


sandi - Are we sloppy cook twins :). I like that. Must go and check out this David post


hilary - spattered shoes are the worst. I won't wear scuffed or ruined shoes so I really have to be careful in the kitchen.

Louise said...

I'm a clean cook, and a good one, but I'm guessing you are a LOT more fun!

Over from Authorblog.

French Fancy said...

Hello Louise - I've just told Mr FF that someone thinks I might be fun. Yes, I did have to pick him up from the floor :)

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