Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Mise en place

At Whole Foods, she asked the server behind the fish counter for 4 pounds of tilapia, and he said, "Are you a chef?" She shrugged, not quite sure how to answer. She said finally, "I have a job." And so she does, a gig as guest chef, preparing a Mexican feast for a Cook & Dine meal support program at a therapeutic nutrition center. She'll guide the clients through preparing a wholesome meal, and then they will all dine together with a therapist and a nutritionist, who will talk with them about healthful eating and lead them through mindfulness exercises.

My girl spent yesterday finalizing the menu (fish tacos, red cabbage and onion slaw, roasted cauliflower with cilantro and lime, and a black bean, avocado, cherry tomato and corn salad), and last night she cooked some of it for dinner, working out some of the details. Today she shopped and prepped and organized and packed up her ingredients and supplies like a pro, and now she is somewhere in midtown, doing her thing, decked out in her official chef whites.

She'd almost forgotten she had her own, because she's been using chef whites supplied by her school for the past three years. Yesterday she washed and pressed the entire outfit, jacket and apron and blue checkered pants and the cloth that tucks in at the waist (it's called something other than a cloth, but I can't recall the proper name), which she got when she attended a slow food cooking school in Asti, Italy in the summer after tenth grade. The jacket even has the insignia of the school fancily embroidered on the pocket.

When she remembered she had her own chef whites buried somewhere in a closet, she jumped up from the bed where she had been typing up an Excel sheet of ingredients and prices, and she said, "Oh my God, yes, I'm legit!"


  1. She is BONAFIDE!
    Can she tell me how to make roasted cauliflower?
    And the slaw to go with the tacos?

  2. <3

    And yes please on the telling us how to. I make a wonderful roasted cauliflower but I'd always love to learn more!

  3. I love the intense but serene look on her face...all business but knowing what she's about...I hope that event goes well. She's doing something wonderful there.

  4. Is it strange I feel so proud of your girl? It makes me happy to read what you write about her. I cheer her on and my heart smiles. xxoo
    ps roasted cauliflower. yes!

  5. You must overflow with love and motherly pride!
    It's funny - to feel legit. Most of us seem to struggle with that.

  6. That sounds like a great menu! She's "legit" -- ha! That's so funny. She'd be legit with or without the whites. :)

  7. This is awesome, and that meal description made me starving!!!


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