Adventures in the Food Trade

chocolate factory

I could swear I met Laura years ago. She always said no. But in the 90s I attended endless fashion, design, film, book, TV, architecture and art cocktail parties for work. Laura was a catering manager who passed hors d’ouevres at exactly these kind of events. So there is a high likelihood we crossed paths.  All the more so as in the early days of being a freelance journalist I lived off all the free cocktail prawns, micro-burgers, chocolate dipped strawberries and champagne. Laura rolled her eyes when I told her. ‘You were probably exactly the sort of person we hated; standing by the kitchen door SCARFING all the food. I would have ignored you.’ She probably did.

After we met, I begged Laura for a one night gig on the other side of the kitchen door to experience the waiter’s point of view. She said OK, but I wasn’t going to get any breaks for being the manager’s squeeze. The first hour passing hors d’ouevres was a breeze. But chefs don’t like it if you return to the kitchen with uneaten food on your tray. So as the night sped on, I began to feel like Lucy in the chocolate factory. I would do anything to get rid of a chicken satay stick or cocktail prawn. I considered pitching tray loads out the window or burying them in the pot plants, anything rather than experience the disappointment of the chef. I began pleading with the guests. Politely at first and then ever more needily. One poor elderly gentlemen looked fit to burst as I plied him with dumplings. The ratio of food to crowd was all wrong Laura said kindly. But I noticed I wasn’t invited back to offer my services any time soon…

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