One of the luxuries that the rich indulge in is to hire a personal chef, a live-in chef who wll cook all their meals to order. In my case, I do like to cook but, if I ever win the lottery , one of the first things I’d do is to hire my own personal chef, a celebrity chef who will enable me to sample all the delicacies I crave without myhaving to leave home.
So many people to choose from but whom shall I hire ? Let’s see… perhaps the way to go about it is to winnow the choices and come up with a short list.
MY chef must be easy to get along with , not give me any lip. That definitely means I can cross off Gordon Ramsey, the foul mouthed star of Hell’s Kitchen, from my list. Out with you ,Gordon. Never darken my doors again !
My chef must cook healthy , but delicious , food. That excludes Paula Deen and Emeril . Their food may be tasty but it certainly sticks to the ribs. Paula must go through a pound of butter while cooking each meal and Emeril is not a poster boy for healthy food. His restaurant empire may be expanding but so is his waistline. I wonder how many pounds he’s put on in the time that he’s been on the Food Network. Sorry.
My chef must have an eclectic repertoire. Of course. I would quickly get tired of eating the same cuisine day in and day out, no matter how tasty the food. That eliminates Rick Bayless ( Mexican food), Alan Ducasse, Daniel Boloud, Thomas Keller and all the other specialists in French cuisine. Sayonara also to Nobu Matsuhisa, Morimoto and the other Japanese Iron chefs.
My chef must use spices liberally. No bland food for me . That excludes Ina Garten and Giada di Laurentis.
Regretfully I have to say “No” to Rachel Ray and Martin Yan ( too relentlessly cheerful) and Robert Irvine of Dinner Impossible( intimidating) and Wolfgang Puck( too loud) . Bobby Flay is a possiblity as I do love BBQ and I like SouthWestern food but I’m not sure I could handle it on a daily basis. As for Tom Colicchio,I don’t know enough about his cooking to consider him for the job.
My short list then would consist , in no particular order , of : Thomas Vongerichten ( Vong ), Madhur Jaffrey, Ming Tsai and Anthony Bourdain.
On futher reflection , I’d have to ax Madhur Jaffrey and Anthony Bourdain. Madhur Jaffrey’s food is mostly Indian or Indian influenced and it’s what I can cook myself and pretty well too ( though I ‘m nowhere near as good as her). As for Bourdain, he’d be fun to hang out with and he could give me tips on how to write better but I’d always be uneasy about his menus. He has a penchant for strange ingredients ( insects, seal meat, raw reindeer) and I’m not that adventurous. Besides, he’d probably be puffing away like a chimney and , as a reformed ex-smoker, I can’t any longer stand cigarette smoke. Sorry Anthony, Madhur.
That leaves Thomas Vongerichten and Ming Tsai, both of them exponents of Pan-Asian cuisine, though Vongerichten’s cooking is heavily influenced by Thai cuisine, and Ming Tsai leans more towards Chinese.It’s a tough choice but I like Chinese food more than I do Thai…. so I’d go with Ming Tsai. His cooking is what I’d like to eat every day and besides he’s a very personable, erudite chap whom it would be fun to be around.
Ming , you’re hired…… as soon as I win the lottery !