Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Chill Factor

As a writer, one of the ways I make a living is by masquerading as a chef. It’s often a stressful environment but the only way to deal with a stressful situation is to be chilled about the whole thing. Get the job done properly, sure, but do it calmly. Being a stress-head just isn’t a good look. Stress-heads get this whole arm-flapping thing going. They run around with neck veins and forehead veins bulging doing and saying ridiculous things while the rest of us stand there scratching our heads and wondering what the fuck their problem is because generally speaking, millions of people are not going to die during the course of this perfectly presented meal, no matter what kind of shit is going down behind the kitchen door.

I’m looking after a small function. I’ve got my shit together with about 40 minutes to kill before the function starts. I am chilled, because I am The Chill Master. I am Ice Man. I am The Snow Man... actually Ice Man sounds better. So. I am Ice Man.

Anyway, a call comes through that there's been a stuff up and the function is actually due to start in 10 minutes. The caller is not chilled. He is the embodiment of freak-out, complete with flappy arms and bulging veins, and where my attitude is ‘can-do’, his is ‘ohmygodohmygodwe’reallgonnadie’. He is Freaktard.

I sashay to the function room and set out my kit. Cold canapes are prepped, hot ones to follow shortly. I have minutes to spare. All the time in the world.

“Lookout! Look out!” Freaktard screams as he makes his appearance. It’s his job to set up the drinks and take the platters of food to the guests. “Out of my way! Whoa that was close! Look out!”

He’s wheeled the crate of drinks around the corner at a comical angle and disappeared in a barely-seen streak that carries loose objects in its wake. I scratch my head and wonder what the fuck his problem is.

Soon the kitchen hands arrive with my hotbox full of hot canapes. They have encountered Freaktard on the way and have picked up on his vibe. They do their impression of The Two Stooges as they frantically manouvre the hotbox into the small kitchen the wrong way around, which is the way they do everything anyway. I point out the obvious in my most Zen Master tone and they Mo & Curly Joe the hotbox around and guide it into place. There is not much room in this particular kitchen and I have to tell Curly Joe to stop and plug the hotbox in before wheeling it completely into place. He bends down and starts to unwind the cord.

“Look out! Look out!” Freaktard squeals as he throws himself into the already crowded kitchen. “Hurry up! Hurry up! Push the hotbox in there! Guests arriving shortly! Come on! Come on!”

Fucker is shoulder barging the hotbox into place.

“Freaktard,” I say in an ubercool and soothing tone, “please stop pushing. You’re squishing Curly Joe.”

“What? Oh. Well. Hurry up hurry up! I’ve got an emergency to deal with here!”

I help the very confused and now thin looking kitchen hand from behind the hotbox as Freaktard mutters something about a dustpan and broom.

Now I haven’t been involved in very many emergencies in my time, but the ones I have been involved in haven’t had anything to do with dustpans and brooms. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever heard of an emergency involving a dustpan and broom. While Freaktard flaps his arms about I think about saying, “Dude – unless you’re about to perform a life-saving procedure with a dustpan and broom, I really don’t think that – technically speaking – it’s an emergency. Certainly not an emergency of such magnitude that the squishing of a hapless kitchen hand is justified.”

But I remain silent. And amused.

And the guests are late because that’s how guests are, and while Freaktard’s heart-rate returns to normal and he deals with his sweat problem, I calmly go about my business of prepping the food, not a hair out of place. Like the food, I am fucking immaculate.

Because I am Ice Man.


Y said...

HAhahaha!! Hilarious! We must talk about this some time. This is why I choose to leave at an acceptable hour.

Actually, when I read the title, I thought you were going to write about doing stocktake in the freezer :-D

quick said...

What are you talking about? Midnight is an acceptable hour.

And no - I have blocked out memory of stocktake in the freezer... urgh.