It’s roughly 3:30am and I can’t sleep. Thoughts of menus, meetings, family and bills race through my head. As I put on my old grey sweats for the gym, I get an idea for a new dinner item. So I rush to find a little piece of paper to scribble my idea on before it leaves just as quickly as it came. It was lucky enough to join over a dozen other crumbled up idea slips in my bag awaiting their turn to become someones ooohs and aahhs
Knives… check, gym bag…check, shoulder bag…check. As I head to the gym I wonder if there’s enough AP flour for pancakes this morning… and if not I’ll just sub it out for whole wheat instead.
Once at work and I reach into the refrigerator to start breakfast I think of what I can do to make these pancakes different. Red Velvet pancakes comes to mind. I whip them up and they love em!
The most rewarding part of being a Chef is earning the smile of someone loving your creation, but I don’t have time to gloat. So I clean up and spread out my crumpled up thought- papers on the counter and start typing cookbook ideas and recipes into my IPad…
It’s 10:00am time to shop for lunch. As I walk down each isle I feel like I’m on Chopped rushing to put ideas together and having it ready by the time my client arrives. It’s 12pm when my client arrives with two more guest than expected. It’s a good thing I always make extra just in case. It’s now 3:00pm, time to shop for dinner. Yeah I know I could shop all at once but my mind changes like the wind.
On the ride to the market my alarm goes off reminding me of a phone interview I have in ten minutes that I totally forgot about. I guess I’ll have to do it while driving. The interviewer starts with “what’s your typical day like” I can’t help but to laugh. Once we get past that question the rest of the interview and my ride to the market goes pretty smoothly. I get to the market and pull out my headphones and one of those crinkled pieces of paper as I start to create tonight’s dinner in my head!
On the way to the house I can smell, taste and feel every component that will go into the meal. To my client it’s just a meal but to me it’s my final stamp on the day. Once up stairs I heat up the stoves & ovens. Soon the kitchen is filled with the soulful sounds of R&B and the sultry smells of what was on that crinkly piece of paper.
Dinner is done and the guests arrive. As they eat I watch their faces and listen to their voices show and speak praises about what they’re experiencing. I break to call my wife and the boys. Hearing their voices say ” I Love You” helps me keep everything in perspective.
It’s now 10:00pm. The table is cleared and guest are gone. I ride with the windows down so I can feel the air on my face as I cross over the 79th street bridge. I think of the faces I saw, the flavors I tasted, and how I can do better tomorrow. As I arrive home I look in the mirror and start emptying my pockets. Just as I think I’ve removed everything I hear and feel something else. I reach deep into my pocket and find that crinkled up piece of paper that everyone loved tonight. I lay it out and attempt to make its rough edges smooth with the heat from my hand then place it on my dresser.
It’s now 11:30pm hopefully tonight I can make the alarm clock earn its money.Chef Richard L. Ingraham was trained at the Culinary Institute of Atlanta and served as a Sous Chef of Executive Chef Matthew Rosekrans in the opening of The Bubble Room Champagne and Wine Bar. He moved on to become Executive Pastry Chef and Executive Sous Chef at Insignia Restaurant and in 1999, prepared meals under the guidance of Executive Chef Pete Pavisec. Chef Ingraham now holds the position of Private Chef for The Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade. ww.chefrli.com