Lilith’s Cooking With The Stars 11 – on air on bayfm’s belly show on 6/12/2010
Its time to wish happy birthday to the zodiac’s adventurous and travel-happy Sagittarian superchefs, who usually love nothing better than packing their
bags and getting the hell outta the kitchen into their real love, the great outdoors because Archers ideal meal would be something they’ve just hunted
or caught, cooked over a naked flame in some pristine wilderness with the wind in their hair, while urban Saggies love barbies, picnics and any kind of al fresco dining.
Being a fire sign, they do fire up easily and British chef Marco Pierre White, enfant terrible of the contemporary British restaurant scene, regularly threw customers out if they annoyed him. When one asked for a side order of chips, White personally hand-cut and cooked them and charged him £50. He knifed open the jacket and trousers of a young chef who complained about the heat, but still retained a stellar cast of apprentices
including Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsay, who he famously reduced to tears.
Born to an Italian mother and an English chef, Marco left school and arrived in London at 16 to study under Albert and Michel Roux at Le Gavroche. The
first restaurant he opened won two Michelin stars, and with his second, Restaurant Marco Pierre White, he became at 33 the youngest chef to be awarded three Michelin stars.
After working relentlessly for 17 years, Marco decided he could either be a kitchen prisoner slaving six days a week, or charge high prices for meals he didn’t cook, or return his Michelin stars, spend time with his kids and
re-invent himself. Which he then did as dining consultant to the P&O cruise line which he says is the best value holiday in the world, sailing the
Mediterranean in summer and the Caribbean in winter without the aggravation of flying. In his leisure time this true Sag can be found hunting and fishing.
Bad boy chef Anthony Bourdain claims Marco’s autobio White Heat inspired a new generation of young chefs with its photos of the man all haggard, stubble-jawed and debauched as a rock god. “We dreamed of looking just like him and not like Paul Bocuse.”
One of the founders of Nouvelle Cuisine, Sagittarian French chef Alain Senderens also handed back his three Michelin stars, claiming he couldn’t charge affordable prices while maintaining the standards that Michelin stars require. After returning them Senderens says his customers now pay a third of the former prices, come back more often, and his business profits have
Displaying the typical Sagittarian qualities of luck, love of learning, generosity and energy to get ahead, fourth generation Irish-American chef Bobby Flay dropped out of school at 17 to work in a pizza parlour and
Baskin-Robbins. When he progressed to salad making at Joe Allen’s Restaurant in New York’s theatre district, owner Joe Allen found Flay’s natural ability so impressive that he paid his tuition at the French
Culinary Institute. After graduating, Flay adopted Creole and Cajun cuisine as his culinary style, and went on to become executive chef of 10 restaurants in the US and Bahamas, while hosting and featuring in TV cooking
shows like the Great Chefs, Iron Chef and The Main Ingredient, and also established the annual Bobby Flay Scholarship to the French Culinary Institute to give other disadvantaged talented chefs in the making the
chance that was given to him.
Adventurous Sagittarian palates are always ready to sample tastes from faraway places – foreign food that gives them an excuse to launch into
outrageous travel tales, and anyone who’s ever met a Sagittarian knows how they love to talk!
Which leads us to our final Sagittarian kitchen cowboy John Burton Race, the controversial Brit Michelin-starred chef who modestly described himself to
an interviewer as “a television natural, discerning author, shrewd businessman, eloquent orator, culinary genius and a big softie at heart” and to another journo as a “loud-mouthed, disagreeable, arrogant git”.
Born in Singapore, Burton Race spent his early years travelling, which allowed him to experience food from all round the world. After working his way up the kitchen chain he took over the London hotel The Landmark, winning two Michelin stars, and gained a third with his own hotel The New Angel in Dartmouth.
Star of TV series French Leave, Return of the Chef, Kitchen Criminals and I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! his fiery temper caused blazing rows
with unadventurous fellow contestants who refused to eat kangaroo, crocodile and possum. It was during this Australian leg of the program that his wife
Kim closed down his Dartmouth restaurant and dismissed the staff when she found out about Burton Race’s two year old love child with his agent’s PA.
His typically Sagittarian response?
“If you’re attracted to the madness of a chef, the excitement of him, why spend your life trying to mould him into someone else? Get another bloke.”
Ever irrepressible, he claims his next TV project will be Round the World in 80 Recipes, where he attempts the most extreme ethnic recipes in situ, like cooking a camel in the desert. Go Saggie!
And as a parting piece of astro trivia, did you know it was a Sagittarian who invented the Sandwich? Sagittarians are known to love a flutter, and when the English Earl of Sandwich was on a roll at the gaming table and way too excited to take time off, he ordered his servants to slap two loaves
round a slab of venison and lo! the sandwich was born.
My want list Xmas pressie: Margeurite Patten’s Spam Cookbook.