Friday, February 6, 2009

Billy - part 1, maybe

Billy is quite a character - funny, witty, and always smiling.  Billy volunteered to help with cooking several times.  the first time around he said with a wry smile: 'sure, i'll help you; let me get my knives', then he disappeared, presumably to his tent.  i wasn't quite sure how to take it - GET HIS KNIVES?!  

it turned out Billy graduated from a culinary school, he is a trained chef, and used to work as one in a restaurant. he still has his chef's knives from the time before some personal problems derailed his dreams.  he currently works part time, i'm not sure where, i think one of the places he mentioned IS a restaurant.  that on top of getting up 5:30 every morning to go to the clinic which treats him.

Billy is funny in the kitchen:  he used to be THE chef, and very well knowing what he was doing, apparently high end stuff.  he named our soup efforts 'this and that soup', meaning we put in a little bit of  this and a little bit of that, whatever we find. he was a game, chopping whatever we had with professional precision and constantly musing that we could/should  do better. he showed me how to shake away the core of a cabbage by smashing it against the counter.

Billy is not used to follow directions in the kitchen, and kept improving the soup every time he had a chance:  more of the chicken powder every time i turned away, more salt and more pepper, more spices. i finally said:  'hey, there is a room for only one prima-donna in this kitchen, Billy, and that would be me'. 

'wrong, wrong, and no, no, no' he said. 'i'm the chef '!  he went out to chill out with a cigarette.  in his absence i realized he was right: he knew much more about cooking that i'll ever will. he ruined my short-lived role as a  kitchen director, but it was well worth it.  he was DA chef and we both knew it.

the soup turned out great: spicy, sweet and filling.  Billy thought we should do some pasta soup next time, and we did, although he was busy at work, and not around to participate that time.

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