I am just putting down my fork on the empty plate after the most satifying meal I have had in a long long time…waiting to hear the clink of the silver against the china…the sound that indicates a smiling satiety…
Everything goes dark…the plate vanishes..so does the decor of the dining room….am nowhere….
A beep again…I turn and take a peek at my cellphone, it displays two words – WAKE UP!!!
I just jump up from my bed, realising all the alarms have proved futile (damn the snooze button!). Thanks to the text, I have fifteen minutes, I run to the shower, a bit of multitasking and am out in five minutes clean-shaven and fresh, in the ‘business suit’ that my Michelin starred work environment stresses upon. Grabbing my overcoat and my bag i jump to the kitchen of my matchbox sized Manhattan apartment, grab a banana and run out of the apartment. I have eight minutes to reach the subway, 20 to travel and jump out of the metro to run to the halal cart to grab one ‘everything bagel with french onion cream cheese’ (the vendor keeps it ready and gives it to me with the same dull robotic smile everyday), a custom made frappuccino from Starbucks (which is ready since I pre-order it through my Phone App) to keep me awake for the day and reach work….
My question is Why?
Why has life changed like this?
A crackling laughter breaks in my mind when people say they envy me because I get gourmet food everyday. I try to reel back to the time when I had a gourmet meal without thousands of thoughts attacking my mind; I have given up the vain attempt because it has been way too long since I did. In the struggle of one day making a perfect plate of food, of turning “signature into an autograph”, and being in search of perfection it seems as if I have been turned into a piece of steak that has to be seared, fried and roasted to be perfectly cooked and make it on to that signature plate and then be under the glare of gruff food critics who are going to mentally tear the plate apart. It is a fickle attempt of explanation although that’s how I feel.
It is funny how an aspiring Chef who dreams of giving vast tasting menus and numerous different dishes in the future abbreviates his own breakfast or lunch or dinner into just a small bite, that is often tasteless or there’s no time to savor the taste as it is devored while running around to fulfill appointments, assignments and an ever-growing, endless list of work.
‘Oh yeah I just grabbed a sandwich”
“4 in the evening”
That’s a common reply i get when i ask my dear room-mate, looking at the dark circles below his eyes, if he had any food at all in the past few hours. “Just a sandwich” when you are surrounded with cooks in one of the top most kitchen, numerous ingredients and the ‘magic of cooking’ on the fingertips?? Well, I guess that’s how you become a chef, or to put it correctly the Chef- you put in hours and hours of work, both physical and mental into the world of food to lose your own appetite to evoke the wonder of flavors for others.
Now-a-days I can sure empathize with Henry Davies when he quoted the now famous lines “What is this life full of care, where we have no time to stand and stare?” in his poem ‘Liesure’.
As I run between robotic crowds lost in their iPads, Androids and tablets with a custom made starbucks in one hand and an ‘everything bagel with french onion cheese’ in other I wonder-
“What is this world full of food and flavor….where we have no time to sit and savor?”