Pssst! Come here a moment. I want to tell you a secret. It’s not as juicy a secret as you might think, but to me it’s always been one worth hiding.
You see, for the past four years or so I’ve been secretly working part time as a private caterer. Through word of mouth I’ve managed 19 private cooking gigs, but one thing that this undercover culinary work has taught me is that one’s taste in food tends to grow more eccentric with the amount of money and influence that they have.
There was the couple from Japan that hired me to prepare live octopus udon and yellowtail sole sashimi. They didn’t speak any English and relied solely (pun intended) on my terrible Japanese, but money speaks clearly in any language. Then there was the journalist. She liked exotic curries prepared so spicy that I couldn’t help but call her a sucker for punishment. She explained that the pain was the entire point… and that if I saw her bedroom, I would understand.
I had a very political (wink, wink) client whom lived in a hidden cliff-side home. He proclaimed there would be complete silence while he ate his meal in front of his family and that tradition called for him to eat first. His family would be served only after he had finished eating. The symbolism and overall weirdness proved too much, and I was dismissed for openly laughing at it.
Looking back now, my favourite secret catering job thus far was when I was still being shown the ropes of the biz by my good mentor, Chef Britt. She managed to score us a gig cooking for some semi-famous Scottish YouTubers and their small party of friends at an event that they aptly named “The Ghost Party”. It’s the event where I was taught how to make a traditional Scottish favourite called:
Tattie Scones Breakfast
2 large yellow potatoes, peeled
¾ cups flour
1 ½ cups margarine
12 strips/rashers of thick cut bacon
4 white mushrooms, sliced
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper to taste
2 egg yolks
¼ lemon, juiced
1 pinch cayenne pepper
¼ cup butter, solid then melted
Boil potatoes in medium pot until tender and mash immediately. While still warm, combine with flour and half your margarine to create scone dough. Roll out approximately 1” thick in floured surface, cover in plastic wrap and set aside. In a large pan on medium high heat, fry your bacon until crispy along with your sliced mushrooms. Remove all from pan but reserve bacon fat. Cut 4 circles from the dough using a mug and fry in the bacon fat until golden brown on both sides. In a separate buttered pan, fry 4 eggs to desired doneness on medium low heat to avoid crisp whites.
Hollandaise: In microwave safe bowl by beating egg yolks, lemon juice and cayenne pepper with salt for 20 seconds, microwave for 15 seconds and whisk again.
Serving: Top each scone in order with cheese, bacon, mushrooms, egg and hollandaise.
What set this gig apart from the others was the way that they ate. They were carefree youngsters to be sure – around the same age as me at the time… but they threw their food more than they ate it and seemed to delight in they could get away with it due to their slight fame. Personally, I got a kick out of it. Chef Britt became Chef Quit after that fiasco though. It may or may not have been due to me joining the food fight and accidently making Chef cry.