From campground host in France to private chef in Vancouver.
The first time I got excited about making a career out of cooking for others, was in France. I worked on a campground as a host. Even though I spend most of my days tanning and swimming in the ocean, I knew it wouldn’t be forever and certainly not that relaxing. I made friends with this couple that ran the restaurant on the campground and from time to time, I helped out in the kitchen. I loved it!
Every time I came there they threw rose petals at every step I took and the patrons overloaded me with praise….. Not really.
I came in to peel potatoes :). But that was not the reason, even thought it involved hard work and lots of responsibility. I was intrigued by the secret work behind the scenes in a restaurant and when I found out I felt that I was in the right place. The Camaraderie in particular I loved. At the time it looked like magic, the work, the structure, the pace, but I was very eager to learn more about it.
The private chef connection
One day I came in to peel some potatoes, I found the head chef doing my job, so I joined him. At that time my French was reasonable enough, to have a small conversation. Since working on a campsite is a seasonal job, (also for him) I asked him what he did in the winter. And he told me he was the private chef of the owner of the campground. He would wrap up everything at the campground after the season was over. Have a month holiday and then live in a coach house on the property of the owner. He cooked his lunch and dinner and prepared all the food for when they would host a dinner party.
He told me that being a private chef didn’t earn him much money, but rent and food was free and he had a full-time job, something that was a bit hard to find as a chef in that area. But what I really liked, was the freedom he had in his job as a private chef.
The creativity, never ending learning curve and our connection to food is still what inspires me in my job.
There are a thousand ways to cook and a million ways to serve it
A french inspired menu
Enough talk about the past! let’s think about the future. And better even, let’s think about dinner! This menu has “Francais” written all over it. It is the perfect menu to indulge, impress and enjoy with good company.
- Raw ratatouille tartar with brioche bread
- Slow cooked salmon with caramelized onions and sauce Hollandaise
- Herb crusted beef tenderloin with pommes duchesse and vegetable garni
- Pear tarts with thyme, almonds and a hint of rum
Tips&tricks from the chef
The ratatouille you could also make a day ahead to save time. You can try to bake your own brioche by using this recipe, or buy it at a bakery.
Cook the salmon by pouring hot water or stock over it. That only takes a minute or two.
Marinate the beef over night with lots of herbs and good olive oil. Than grill it, just to sear it off and then slow cooked until perfectly medium-rare.
The pear tarts are very nice with the basic ingredients. But you can also make a custard base with the pear juice, thyme and rum.
Since you are here, thank you for reading this far! Next party at your house, have this menu as a feature. Invite your family or friends and enjoy the joie de vivre.
Of course there are a lot more menu’s you can choice from, and Setting up a dinner party with Chef Lekker is easy. Use the form on the contact page, and celebrate the moment with Chef Lekker