I had an interesting conversation in our local Publix supermarket the other day. I was grocery shopping for my client, on my way to his house to prepare his weekly meals. When I came to pay for my groceries, the male cashier, a super nice guy, saw what I placed on the belt, and said: ” You’re eating pretty healthy, huh? “
Yes, I guess it was obvious. About 80% of my shopping was different vegetables and herbs; the rest was chicken, veal and fish (as I was cooking multiple entrees for my client that day). There was no junk food, no cans with ready stuff, no processed food or anything close to it in my groceries. I found that comment pretty funny and it got me thinking: what it is, this guy usually eats?
Instead of asking him back, I smiled and answered: “ Well, yes, I do like to eat tasty and clean, but I also cook for my clients, that’s why I have so many veggies today.”
The cashier nodded, and added:” So no frozen TV dinners for you, huh?” I didn’t have to ask what he liked anymore.
The other man laughed because he already knew. There was no chance that I would enjoy TV dinners.
I politely replied that no, no TV dinners for me. Who am I to judge? Maybe the guy is alone, can’t cook and that’s what he enjoys because it’s convenient and affordable. Not everybody can hire a personal chef to take care of their meals.
“Not even frozen pizza?” the guy wouldn’t let it go. At this time I laughed and the guy packing my groceries was right there with me. He just shook his head in disbelieve. Honestly, would you ask chef if he enjoys a frozen pizza?
“No, I would really prefer fresh pizza, and I can make my own so I get to decide what’s on it…” I smiled at the cashier. He really was a nice guy and his questions didn’t bother me a bit. Was I supposed to start lecturing him about the unhealthy habits some people have? Of course not!
Instead, he got me thinking about how my cooking career is surprisingly similar to what I used to do before I became a personal chef. Just like when I was surrounded by the finest wines of the world, not everybody can or would appreciate a good bottle of wine. If they usually drink “red or white, doesn’t make any difference”, they wouldn’t appreciate a nice bottle of wine, if it kicked them in the behind. It wouldn’t taste “right” for them.
When I was a professional in the wine world, people often asked me what my favorite wine was. It was the toughest question to answer. Not only because there were too many great wines out there that I liked. Hard to pick just one. It kind of depends on the mood and the food you’re having and many other aspects. Perhaps who is paying, too 🙂 The most importantly – the wine world keeps changing all the time, and what was best yesterday, may be replaced with something outstanding tomorrow.
I have my favorite wines. But I never wanted to stand as a snob and point to something that this person, who asked me, wouldn’t like at all. The taste is very personal thing. What I admire, you might not like at all. Therefore there is no sense for me pointing out what I LIKE. If you always drank different wines, you wouldn’t enjoy it just because I liked it. Paradoxically, the same applies to my new cooking career. There are plenty of people who are perfectly happy with junk food and wouldn’t appreciate what I would cook for them. There are some, who are stuck in that world because of the financial issue. But there is always option to go and buy quality food, and cook it yourself. It’s not that much pricier, it just requires some time and effort. And then there are people, and I am honored that some of them hired me, that can afford a chef to prepare their meals for them.
“Not even Boston Market?” was the last question the cashier shouted at me, as I was leaving the register. The gentleman who bagged my groceries had tears in his eyes from laughing.
“No, I am sorry. No Boston Market for me,” I replied politely, smiled, thanked and left the store. Maybe I should bring him some lunch next time I go there. Maybe he would appreciate it. What do you think?