Sarcastic tales of disordered eating and recovery by Englishwoman in Hollywood…
“I plated up the appetizers and served the first course. Explaining each ingredient poetically, in my best ‘posh’ English accent, as if we were on the RMS Titanic and I had stumbled in from steerage.”
Stocking the back seat of my 2002 PT cruiser with expensive ingredients, I felt a little sick. But I didn’t have time for anything, other than to throw on my stolen chef jacket. I’d taken it from a restaurant back in England. I figured it was the least I deserved, after being sexually harassed by the head chef.
After bumbling down the hill in my little car, I parked on the street out of sight. Not that I worried. No one would dream of stealing it, especially inside the gated coummity. “You could have parked in the driveway” she later said. “I’ll know for next time” I replied. Knowing that I would never do that. I should have been proud of the fact I’d bought it myself, and not even on credit. Especially as I’d just moved from England to Los Angeles, alone, at the age of 20. But I wasn’t, I was embarrassed, so on the street it remained. I trekked the bags of food and equipment up the driveway, before ringing the doorbell of the million dollar mansion. I’d seen beautiful homes before, in fact, at the time I was staying with my girlfriend in her family home, not too dissimilar. But this place was huge and easily over 15 million dollars.
“A stunning woman, who was plagued with entitled audacity, which I found oddly attractive. (Something, I expect a therapist would have something to say about).”
I was flooded with anxiety. The white marble kitchen was far too clean to cook in, but it wasn’t that. I could overhear the conversation in the dining room. “So this guy comes up to me, on my flight from JFK. He says Hi, I’m Rich, I say big fucking deal so am I!”. Which was followed by a murmur of laughter, from her mother and her mother’s dinner guests. I too, found the antidote amusing. And the fact she’d mentioned 4 times already, that she was 28. Is that some kind of an achievement? To make it to the age of 28, in Los Angeles. With the amount of cocaine consumed on a regular basis by the Hollywood Hills elite, such as herself, perhaps it was. A stunning woman, who was plagued entitled audacity, which I found oddly attractive. (Something, I expect a therapist would have something to say about). Although, in my opinion, her fillers and botox were a tad premature, but I say each to their own. I certainly wouldn’t have kicked her out of bed, either way. But it wasn’t the idea of cooking for a demanding and entitled group, that made my stomach drop either. It was once again the personal battle between myself and food.
Have you ever had the feeling, that you’re down the rabbit hole and don’t know how you got there? That’s how I felt. I felt like I was in the worst possible place, for my eating disorder, and yet didn’t know how to get out of it. After all, I’d been cheffing for years, it’s what a lot of people knew me for, heck loved me for. But honestly at times, I hated the sight of food.
Tonight was one of those times. But with a few hundred dollars on the line, I am nothing but a showman for the client and their family. Who, at this point had all entered the kitchen to watch me work. Something I don’t usually enjoy, but at times, it takes away from my fear of food. I plated up the appetizers and served the first course. Explaining each ingredient poetically, in my best ‘posh’ English accent, as if we were on the RMS Titanic and I had stumbled in from steerage. But with delicious food in front of them and my polished approached to service, they were happy. As the last course went out, I breathed a sigh of relief. Washing dishes was my least favorite of all, but it was nothing compared to the late nights, stirring and tasting food which filled me with dread. So I polished wine glasses and plates, happy the cooking portion of the my night was over.
The host left me with a $200 tip, which back then (and even now) felt like a lot of money, for a few hours work. It seemed worth it. I climbed into my car, headed straight to the ATM and deposited the cash. I was happy, but I didn’t know how much longer I could keep it up.