Jackson’s – Ich Bin Ein Berliner

I worked with Neal Jackson for the first time tonight. Henceforth Chef.

It began like this:

Me: What can I do Chef?
Chef: Go to the cool room. Get me eight potatos and there should be half a cabbage there. Not the Savoy cabbage. Savoy, the crinkly one. You want the ordinary one.
Me: The ordinary one.
Chef: Yes
[fossick and return]
Chef: Is that the only one?
Me: Ahm erm.
Chef: That’s a Savoy cabbage.
Me: Err hem.
[sound of soul gently collapsing]

It got better.


  1. Anonymous’s avatar


    “Broken record player” syndrome…?

    Very funny, trend has a boomerang effect…! Thanks for joining :)

    (what a world…haha)


  2. deborah’s avatar

    “Me: Err hem.
    [sound of soul gently collapsing]”


    Look forward to hearing more about your evening.

  3. Kate’s avatar

    That’s not such a bad error.

  4. Kate’s avatar

    I mean, you could have come back with something that wasn’t even a cabbage at all. Not that you would, of course… just remember that bit from Jamie’s Kitchen when the kids chopped up the apsaragus and threw the tips away and you’ll feel better.

  5. Anthony’s avatar

    “Broken Record Player Syndrome?” Is that “not savoy, not savoy, not savoy, not savoy, not savoy… savoy, savoy”? Actually what I ended up thinking of was a chinese cabbage

    Saffy and Kate
    It was better, not so much darkest before the dawn as waking up in the middle of the night and thinking it should just about be time to get up and it’s really 2:30. I had yet to pass through the inky blackness of the chiffonade.

    It’s important to remember that skills like cheffing are based on a heirachy of skills that you climb up, self taught foodies like myself tend to cherry pick skills. Ability at lower end tasks reflects right up the chain of ability. This is why doing this is such a great learning experience and gobsmackingly humbling (is this a guy thing) at the same time.

    Around the bottom is “getting things correctly from the coolroom”. Next is knife skills. I watched Neal slice cabbage leaves into the consistent width of a sable’s hair. My first attempt was somewhere around Chewbacca and the piece he picked out was like something found around the rear parts of an end of season ewe. Attempt two was better but sooooo slow. A bit of knife advice from Neal and I was on my way in a sweaty browed way (the sous chef asked if I was OK). Eventually I filled the plastic container, I slipped the first attempt away with the scraps where they would never be spoken of again.

    A better job was done of dicing potatoes into very small regular cubes and then I got talked through how to make the truffle mayonnaise. With the consistent creaminess of victory and whisking it manually without my arm falling off. I felt on the redeemable side and then diligently shelled a few kilos of broadbeans.

    It all turned out nicely the potatoes, truffle mayonnaise and the broadbeans went as part of salad base for a new dish. Neal gave me some of the salad with words to the effect of this is what you helped make. Was given a bowl of the rabbit and red wine rissotto , with a glass of the matched Tuscan red and there were larfs. All in all a tip-top narrative and I’m a lucky duck for getting this kind of learning experience which is, effectively, learning from the bottom at the top.

    I’ll be back again next week but the question is, do I get a jacket to go with my new pants?

    PS Kate – luckliy I got the asparagus right last week.

  6. Anthony’s avatar

    and yes I will be buying a couple o cabbages this weekend.

  7. Kate’s avatar

    Yeah — I’ve always been amazed at the chopping skills of chefs — I’m a lousy chopper so I know how difficult it is to matchstick and julienne etc etc. (I like rustic dishes personally, they disguise my inability to use a knife.)

  8. Anthony’s avatar

    and with a spiffy Japanese knife that would almost be a match for the RODD.

    You’ve just encapsulated in a nutshell my similiar love of rustic food.

  9. Santos’s avatar

    ah, i’ve always wondered that about you. what flavour?

  10. Anthony’s avatar

    dummkopf mit sprinkles

  11. deborah’s avatar

    By the sounds of things, it looks like a priceless learning experience. My sister is a chef, and the stories she tells me means I worship the ground she walks on. It is a very hard job, this cheffing thing.

    Also Please wear a jacket, I am sure there are some OHS issues regarding bare chest cooking in a commerical kitchen.

  12. Anthony’s avatar

    Yeah it’s a brilliant opportuntity.

    Ha! Maybe I can compromise and get a mesh one or something

  13. Santos’s avatar

    i used to make clothing out of garbage bags and duct tape–i’m sure i could whip up a lurvely chef’s jacket for oo.

  14. Anthony’s avatar


    This should help as a guide.

  15. Jeanne’s avatar

    Awww, Little Collapsed Soul, don’t feel too bad – a major supermarket chain in South Africa used to sell pak choi labelled as “savoy cabbage”! And nobody was any the wiser. Imagine my surprise when I encountered real savoy cabbages over here. Oh how we laughed…

    PS – said supermarket no longer commits this sin. Too much traffic between the UK and SA. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.

  16. Anthony’s avatar


    I got over it, a couple of kind words, a bit of food and a glass of wine.

    I’m glad you said that because I was expecting a much more pak choiy thing. Must be a Southern Hemisphere thing. Apparently they call “soccer” “football” up there and it’s quite popular despite lacking manly characteristics like a big huggy tackle. Is this the case?

Comments are now closed.