A few months ago, I applied to a TV show called Instant Restaurant for which contestants had to turn their home into a restaurant for an evening.
The idea was simple: two houses competing against each other to concoct a 3-course menu with two choices for 10 guests. The aim was to make the most profit based on how much people were willing to pay. In two words: cook and seduce.
The TV crew spent the day asking us how much money we thought we were going to make that evening and our answer was invariably the same: “Our main objective is to offer our guests an unforgettable evening. Money is the last thing on our minds.” The answer didn’t seem to be what was expected but it was the truth. I cook because I love to make people happy.
But beyond the show, and the 15 minutes of fame so important to Andy Warhol, this experience taught me one essential thing: cooking is probably one of the hardest and most tiring jobs.
I would like to dedicate this post to all the housewives, the cook and the chefs who spend their lives making the dining experience a success. After having cooked for 10 guests and trying to recreate the atmosphere of a true restaurant, I cannot stop thinking that what these people do every day is a real achievement.
I grew up in a family where my mum cooked us a fresh meal from scratch twice a day, 7 days a week. I have been to many restaurants where the food was perfectly cooked and presented. I have been invited to people’s places and enjoyed their home-made dishes.
You, who offered me either two hours or 18 years of your lives, thank you. Thank you for working so hard every day and keeping that passion up to cook for 3, 10, 20, 50 or 100 people twice a day.
Thank you for your (almost daily) absolute determination and your tireless desire to create a firework of pleasure with each forkful.
Of course, there are stories about how hard it is nowadays to be a chef. The death of Bernard Loiseau who committed suicide after having lost his Michelin star is a sad example and shows how cruel the culinary world can be.
Anytime I go somewhere to enjoy a meal, my perception has changed. I don’t just see what is on the menu or on the plate, I see the work, the time, the creativity and even the stress that it represents. I’m not saying that I can’t enjoy a meal for what it is anymore but sometimes it is good to remember the people and the work behind the dish.
Housewives, cooks, chefs, I admire you. I admire your work, your passion, your determination, your genius and your will to take people on this culinary journey with you, whether by the simplest dish or via a 20-dish tasting menu.
Bravo et Merci.
Bienvenue chez Mathilde’s Cuisine
Verrines de caviar d’aubergines et tomates confites à la crème de parmesan
Aubergine caviar, sun-dried tomatoes and parmesan crème verrine
Tian de courgette, tomates et mozzarella
Courgette Tian with tomatoes and mozzarella
Paupiette de dinde façon forestière
Turkey paupiette with mushroom sauce
Truite aux amandes et son fondant de poireaux
Trout papillote with almonds and sautéed leeks
Tatin de pommes aux noix caramélisées
Apple Tarte Tatin with caremalised nuts
Moelleux au chocolat aux épices
Spiced chocolate moelleux
Café et ses mignardises
Coffee and delicacies