Paul’s Caul – how to compliment a chef

How to compliment a chef

I’ve noticed, and I’m quite sure I’m not the only one, that the world is now full of food experts, bloggers and critics all relishing their moment in the social media sunshine. Perhaps it is just way to easy to tap tap tapety on your keyboard or screen then click share. Maybe if this was coupled with a short test of integrity we would be seeing a lot less reviews, comments and sometimes short stories entailing peoples seemingly life threatening experiences.

As a chef and someone who does write for a blog every now and again I’m far from throwing hatred at the entire web of seemingly endless food chatter that is digitally zooming around the world. Quite the contrary, I do love reading people thoughts and reviews of restaurants, cafes and to be fair anything food orientated. I don’t think we ever go to a place without quickly checking trip advisor beforehand, but here is the difference between me and a million other blinker wearing, band wagon riding sheep… I DO NOT TAKE EVERY WORD AS GOSPEL!!!!

I recall checking out the top listed restaurant in Rio and it came up as ‘Subway’ I instantly thought this must be a bunch of effing hipsters being ironic (as is their want) and calling a uber cool restaurant after a chain of sandwich artists. But after a small hike around an unfamiliar city we finally found it was actually a bloody Subway store in all of its glory. My point is these sites are useful but also filled with content from anyone and everyone. No one has been background checked, these people may have voted for Trump and now you are taking their advice on which burger joint does the best jalapeño poppers. This is insane when you think about it; the person with a nickel back t-shirt, is married to his own sister, is dead proud that he is 24 and still has one of his own teeth he has lovingly called Derek junior.

This guy just helped you make a decision on which place you book for your wedding anniversary.

So I feel by now you are slightly getting on board with the basic and simple concept that all that glitters isn’t gold and all that is shit on the internet doesn’t smell in real life. Now we have taken this huge step forward into a world where we must all think for ourselves I feel confortable touching on my next closely tied in subject. The do’s and don’ts of complimenting or even reviewing a meal made by a chef, this may also relate to meals made by non chefs but as I’m qualifying all paid professionals as chefs for this exercise we should be fine.

In further thought if you were reviewing non-paid professionals, this would in essence be you reviewing someone who has fed you for free!

So please in this case follow these simple steps…

1. Arrive on time and perhaps bring a gift (smiles are good gifts, so is wine)
2. Whilst eating, shut your mouth except for non-food chatter unless it’s something along the lines of… “Fuck me this is good”
3. When finished eating, shut your mouth except for non-food chatter unless once again it’s something along the lines of… “Holy fucking hell that was magnificent you crazy food genius sent from the gods”
4. Say thank you for the incredible gesture of feeding you which isn’t just kind but also helps keep you alive (depending on you this can be a good or bad point)
5. Offer to do the dishes so the beautiful soul that made you food can rest and bask in the glory of your kind words
6. I want to clarify there isn’t one single mitigating circumstance that would allow you to tell them anything negative about your experience… if in doubt shut your mouth!! It even rhymes for all of you peeps that need help to remember, this can be your life creed.

With that well locked into your minds let’s take a journey, I’m going to write as if we just finished a meal together… this isn’t real! We haven’t met and to my knowledge we haven’t just finished a meal at a generic made up eatery and with all my heart I hope never for these scribbling’s to take form and in some sort of coming to life Jumaji like experience. Making me live through your what I would imagine to be painful conversation skills and down right stupid opinions about food and cuisine in all of it many guises.

Scenario number 1- just finished a meal at a generic made up eatery, and enjoyed it.

What a massive fucking win, members of the public have come along and paid for food, eaten said food and then rationalised the entire experience and came out the other side with a positive ending.

Many variables have helped to make this equation to work… price point, staff attitudes, parking, weather, menu choice, menu spelling, temperature of venue, temperature of food, temperature of guests, tables stability, artwork on walls, amount of tattoos the chef has, water having ice in it, water not having ice in it, butter instead of oil for bread, oil instead of butter for bread, no bread given for free, no gf bread being offered, sustainability of the fish used, sustainability of fish in general, not enough vegan food on menu, too much wanky chef words confusing everyone including staff on menu… I feel you are seeing what I’m eluding too here? The parameters that make a happy customer are so vast I could go on for pages and pages.

Lets not forget in this imaginary scenario we have finished up and are well happy with all of the above, or at least enough to allow your massive heart to pour out accolades to the amazing staff of this humble yet made up establishment. Here are my points on what to do with your newfound want to shower praise upon your subservient minions…

1. When asked “did you enjoy your meal?” answer “yes I bloody well did my fine friend, please pass on my compliments to the chef and whilst you are at it please pat yourself on the back, as your part was just as satisfying and important”. Under no effing circumstance do you say anything like this… “Yes I bloody well did my fine friend, please tell the chef it was incredible but I’m not quite sure why he felt the dish needed the spinach” WHY??? Why do people feel the need to add sub sections to compliments, its either good or it bad (we will get the bad later) please for the love of any factious god you choice why would you think the chef needs your opinion on his usage of leafy matter?
2. Don’t add extra bits to nice comments. Only two weeks ago someone told me a donut I made them was in their top 5. Top 5??? Where the fuck did you get these other magical donuts from, as I want to try them. This was meant as a compliment but it messed with my mind. Less is more with a compliment.
3. Wait staff or front of house staff or the people that carry food, what ever you wish to label them, are angels in my opinion. Night in night out they have to deal with you and me literally taking it from both ends (behave). They have to smile whilst you make rubbish jokes they are sure to have heard several times already this evening then once they have leveraged your order from the mumblings of you entire family they then have to come deal with the chefs who take every single menu change as a personal attack on his or hers family name. So I recommend, no I insist you keep dad jokes to a minimum and thank them genuinely and whole heartily. If you are in a financial position to tip them that is also acceptably and remember in any place worth tipping the tips are shared between all staff from chefs to kitchen porters to bar staff.
4. Once all done you may of checked your self in on FB and then been asked if you recommend this place, take the time to write some kinds words about your experience allowing the venue to bask in the thought their hard work wasn’t all in vein.
5. The last step is of course to tell the world of your incredible dining experience this may come In the form of a casual chat at the water cooler the next day at work or perhaps during a game of football but people react so well to positive experiences and your experience will inevitably help make someone’s else experience better. As they will have already bought into the fact this venue is great making the entire ordeal so much easier to get to this point. If you choose to go down the trip advisor route please see point 1 of this section and follow it closely. Remember if it was good then all positive comments make sense as others reading will focus on your negative no matter how helpful you feel they were.

Scenario number 2 – you have not enjoyed your meal in the generic made up venue

No one wins with this scenario, all we want is to please guests and if you are a normal person with a heart and soul then all you wanted was a tasty feed that didn’t make you have to take out a second mortgage or sell one of your children’s kidneys.
This sentence is chockers with assumptions, the first is of course that the made up venue is ran by individuals that like me and G-bags that turn up each day wanting to make our customers happy and in most cases over whelmed with joy, a kind of joy that only surprisingly good food and service can elicit. This isn’t always the case and if the venue is ran by people that don’t care ignore this entire blog and do what you want to those horrible parasites of the hospitality world. The other assumption is that you are a kind hearted rational person, which lets face it you are because you are reading this, so congratulations on being nice.

1. There is such a massive difference between something you don’t like, that isn’t to your particle taste and terrible food… this is very important, if you get something with chilli and you hate chilli you may be angry because it didn’t state chilli, you have every right to send it back and let our made up venue rectify the situation. This is my first point, give venues a chance to rectify your grievance, don’t hold it in then go home and write a scathing review much to the surprise of the staff you thanked as you left.
2. Remember that long list of variables that can make and break a venue I wrote earlier on, of course you don’t because you skim read and only drift in and out of consciousness whilst reading stuff, but this is a bigger issue we should address another time… in the meantime go back and read the variables… Ok now you remember them it, many of these are out of the control of the people serving or cooking your food so to hinge your entire experience on one or several of these can be unfair. Also places do have bad nights so if you have followed point one written above, the staff may explain they are having a bad night and apologize for you experience. Take this apology and perhaps visit again before giving a place a terrible review.
3. If you have followed both points and still feel the venue deserves a bad review then I can only plead for you guys to show a sliver of empathy in your words. Reviews as much as we wish they didn’t can make or break businesses which inturn destroys families and people lives. Professional reviewers always go several times before giving bad reviews as their work could close a place down in a matter of weeks. Of course you are a no body and not even you friends care what you think, but that aside lets pretend you are liked and I know its laughable but even admired… be honest and perhaps throw in a few goods things about your experience like the cold main didn’t burn your hand or the at least the dish that was lacking in haloumi was great for the waist line. And if it was rude staff that ruined your experience be clear with that, as there is never an excuse for this but it stems from an individual not an entire workplace or venue. It would be like your work place being judged by that complete bellend that works in accounts or the racist twat from HR.
4. Final point is reviews are just that, reviews not blogs, stop writing short stories as no one cares what colour socks you wore to said restaurant we just want to know if the food was well crafted and in line with the price point you paid, then served in a timely fashion by someone wearing a smile and perhaps clothes (some venues this is optional).

All in all remember us lovely folks that work in the food service industry are continually trying to do our best in a very problematic world. I personally do loads of tasting menu evening where the entire room of 80 people get served 16 courses of playful dishes that I try to push the boundaries’ of style and substance. This inherently comes with many issues and number one is 80 people all wanting to eat the same thing, as you know from cooking at home this is hard with 4 people never mind 80. Then comes the question of strong bold dishes I want to be full on whilst some guests always just want easy assessable dishes that tow the line. Then finally comes price point which I have touched on briefly, this for me is everything as if I spend $2 on a burger I’d expect to get a shit burger. In fact if what I got was even close to a burger and edible I would be so happy I’d tell everyone about it, when if that same tiny morsel of meat served in a between two burger rings cost me $15 I’d be livid and loose my mind inturn telling the world just how ridiculous the burger ring burger was. So its all about expectation of both quality and cost, use all of these variables before making your decisions and then leave it for a day to allow your angry mind to settle before destroying someone livelihood and business… better still, just shut your mouth and don’t go back there again.

Job done.

Your friend, Paul.

Paul’s Caul… The lucky country

For all those playing at home, I don’t have red hair and a beard and I’m not G-bags Mcfilthy mouth… no, I am not the father of this blog, I’m perhaps best described as this blogs estranged brother that likes to drop by unannounced and expects every thing that’s great about writing a blog whilst having no responsibility at all… yes that is me in a delicious nut shell, I’m simply a man called Paul who has a shit load to say about food and anything even slightly related to it, like travel, drinking and eating of said food.

I’m a chef that has been cooking for overs 20 years all over the place and I have been extremely fortunate to have known G-bags for all of that time. We share a love of food, swearing and most importantly telling the whole fucking world about it, so a blog seemed inevitable. I’m honoured he allows my scribbling’s to be part of foodisthebestshitever and I hope you enjoy them just as much as we love bacon, but lets face it that’s asking quite a lot. P

Paul is the one on the left. On the right is his lovely now fiancee, Lauren
Paul is the one on the left. On the right is his lovely now fiancee, Lauren

Bonjour my friends, I am alive and well living the European dream actually on a train on our way to Prague, my only excuse for lack of writing is pure laziness mixed with equal parts of cheese and pork pies. But with that delicious recipe comes some serious side effects, yes fellow foodies let it be known that cheese and pork products of pretty much any kind contain stuff that makes your belly big, its like magic and not the good magic that pulls fucking rabbits from hats, no on the contrary the fat bastard rabbit would in this case be stuck in the hat.

But this isn’t to say I’m so massive that I could no longer use a keyboard because of my now swollen fingers, not at all it just means that I have to run many km’s everyday just to keep the scales of my existence level (deep shit right there). This has been made extremely easy as I’ve been living in a kind of fairy-tale land in a walled estate with a huge stately hall in which we were living in a tower, so running around said estate was not a hard sell at all.

Pauly in heaven in Amsterdam
Pauly in heaven in Amsterdam

But after now living in France and the UK for the last year and in-between travelling to a ridiculous amount of other countries, I have decided that eating well over here seems a lot harder then when in Australia. Now don’t get me wrong we have eaten some incredible food in every country we have been, but in general the meat to veg ratio is never as low as when in Australia. For example we have just spent the last few days in Berlin and the food was so good, Jagarscnitzel, spatzle, flamchuken the list goes on and on, their bread is top notch but did we see any green on a plate of food? Did we fuck!

It must be against the law to serve veg unless they just see us coming dressed like the super tourist I become once travelling, dressed like a mixture of someone about to climb Everest and a member of the Taliban, they save all of the healthy stuff for the local and leave us slowly dyeing as we gobble down meat in cream sauces served with potato dumpling to fulfil the stodge factor. And before any German readers start to get all high and mighty about me pigeon holing an entire nations culinary delights of the back of a few days eating, I freely admit I may of just walked into the wrong places but its not just Germany, France is very much the same, even salads seem to be filled with so many non healthy ingredients or dressing that you truly find it hard to eat well when travelling. Amsterdam is a little better as was Belgium lots more veg but still nothing like the extensive array of goodness on offer in Australia cafes and restaurants.

Jagarscnitzel with spatzle and mushroom sauce
Jagarscnitzel with spatzle and mushroom sauce

I must say Spain is an exception and tapas lends itself to good healthy eating and we are never disappointed when dining in Española, markets are always filled with delicious fresh veges and fruit and the array of different cuisines is spectacular, even their coffee is acceptable in places.

Now lets get started on England, land of delicious food that makes me so happy as its what I grew up on, but lets not forget that I was one fat little fucker and I now know why… they class potato crisps as veg! That should be explanation enough but I will go on, I find the comparison to America and England getting a little closer as the years goes on, I was freaked out by the choice of sides offered when in America but its now pretty much the same now in England, if you order for instance a pie in an Australian café you may get the choice of chips or salad with it which in my opinion is a good thing, as I like to play the balance game of a little bad and a little good… now if you were to order a pie in England you would firstly have to choose which form of potato you would like with it. Chips, mash or jacket filled with cheese, then it would be the green component, pies are revered in England but generally served in the mushy form but can be ordered garden style (which must mean over cooked and grey) if you were to ask for a side salad instead of the usual you may be lucky enough to get a hospitable chef that will rack his culinary repertoire to find 1 piece of iceberg topped with 1 slice of cucumber and 1 slice of tomato, that its! So not to surprisingly you end up ordering chips because they are fucking delicious and when in Rome.


I want to clarify that have found exceptions to the rule everywhere we go but it is very hard work, but what we miss the most out of all the meals each day is a bloody good breakfast… no where and I mean NO WHERE does breaky like Australia, plates full of spinach, avocado, bacon, ricotta, sourdoughs, nice honeys and coffee yes coffee lets talk about coffee shall we….

How the fuck doesn’t the entire world know about good coffee? Time after time I get excited ordering my favourite beverage in the world and after finally working out what a ‘long mac topped up’ is in whichever country we are, I then prepare myself for impending misery mixed with extremely hot badly frothed milk, and with a few exceptions I’m never let down… time after time the coffee has no taste and the milk is a non event, quite often its served in one of those ridiculous glasses with a handle too low down which fucks with its centre of gravity, then one sip in and the creaminess disappears and I’m let with a murky cup of brown shit. How can this be? How did Australia become the world leader in coffee preparation? I need to know, and more importantly more Australian Barista’s need to start travelling now.

So we really do miss Australia and all of the incredible chefs and barista’s that it holds, but as it may be quite some time before we come back I just want to let it be known Europe that I’ve noticed what you’re up too and we will be keeping an eye on your progress, but in the meantime sort your shit out and make a decent coffee for the love of god.

Paul’s Caul… the Spanish cook off

For all those playing at home, I don’t have red hair and a beard and I’m not G-bags Mcfilthy mouth… no, I am not the father of this blog, I’m perhaps best described as this blogs estranged brother that likes to drop by unannounced and expects every thing that’s great about writing a blog whilst having no responsibility at all… yes that is me in a delicious nut shell, I’m simply a man called Paul who has a shit load to say about food and anything even slightly related to it, like travel, drinking and eating of said food.

I’m a chef that has been cooking for overs 20 years all over the place and I have been extremely fortunate to have known G-bags for all of that time. We share a love of food, swearing and most importantly telling the whole fucking world about it, so a blog seemed inevitable. I’m honoured he allows my scribbling’s to be part of foodisthebestshitever and I hope you enjoy them just as much as we love bacon, but lets face it that’s asking quite a lot. P


After spending a season admiring this guys food, I won’t lie I felt some serious pressure as we prepared for the Spanish cook off. This cook off entailed a four course menu with a canapé, cooked for Grants Dad Derek, the lovely Paula and our respective partners Rachel and of course Lauren. The rules were simple we would go shopping together at the local shops and then each choose a night to put on a slap up feed in Casa Oasis (Derek and Paula’s B’n’B). Grant choose Thursday night so he was first cab off the rank, I choose Saturday so I could gauge just how far I needed to push things. But all this meant was I had a day to stress as his food as expected was top notch. Other rules included you must be dressed at all times and never play Ouiji alone, but lets face it that’s just common sense.


The location and the ingredients were the only thing Spanish about our cook off, we may have been sweating a little more than usual and yes we were drinking the benefits of a tax-free live but not much tapas in sight. When we arrived at the supermarket it was a real treat to see a banging seafood counter full of interesting and unusual species ready to confuse travelling chefs who think they know a thing or two about food. But with a huge crowd hovering around it we decided we should start the shop before attempting to order said seafood in a language that we were sure to bastardise.

It was about now it dawned on us that nether of us know enough Spanish to successfully navigate around a shop, but with a total disregard for logic our shop began with a couple of donuts for the ladies being whacked in the trolley, lets face it a donut doesn’t need any translation. Next was the veg aisle and it wasn’t the array of goodies we had hoped for, what was there was nice stuff but not a lot of variety at all. So what people saw was two large chefs mumbling dishes under their breath as they tried to conjure menu’s in their heads. Yes we seemed autistic as we said things like “zucchini with parsley, watermelon with chilli and mint, but what the fuck am gonna do with this parsnip… fuck it I’ll grab it anyway” this is as far as I know how all chefs shop, sporadic with a sense of purpose that seems confident, when inside we have next to no idea what it going to be finally placed on plates.
Not the best pic but still hell yes
Not the best pic but still hell yes

Next was the booze aisle so two bottles of 7 euro gin was quickly placed in the trolley along with tonic, so it was back to the veg aisle to grab cucumber and lime, no one said we were organised. Meat was to follow and in the middle of the meat section was a magnificent sight… a god damn Jamon stall, set up like a beach shack that served the most delicious cured legs of black pigs, the nice lady noticed our drool and quickly offered to slice us some samples. I feel she actually feared for her life, as we salivated some more, so in turn she gave us more Jamon. I did like her and her generous ways, so I felt it only right to buy some serrano Jamon, for what I didn’t know but you cant go wrong with the nutty tasting salted leg of the famous Spanish pig. I cant help but now picture a Spanish pig wearing a flamenco dress drinking sangria in a small tapas bar watching football, but you know me and stereotypes, I effing love them.

I also have a penchant for black pudding, so when I noticed some Morcilla for 1 euro I didn’t even know what happened, but as I walked away they were in our trolley, I love my brain. Grant had been scoping out the meat section and picked up some mini balls of chorizo but his heart was still at the seafood counter so it was back to the iced up tubs of the Mediterranean’s finest. Mackerel, octopus and razor clams took his attention so the senorita kindly gutted the fish and bagged up the clams, he was nice enough to get me 4 small whole squid.

With a full trolley we hit up the register to assess the damage but it was only 116 euro, which is only about 150 Aussie dollars, which is so effing cheap for a full trolley of goodness. Once home Grant started to truly formulate his menu and what he came up with was…

• Paprika caramelized Plantains for a canapé/snack
• Razor clams, octopus with ginger & tomato
• 5.5 minute egg with charred asparagus, egg dressing, chorizo
• Mackerel, spiced aubergine caviar, torched broccoli, roast cherry tomato, saffron sauce
• Banana cake, whiskey strawberries, mango custard, toffee banana & mint

What we were treated to that night was nothing short of spectacular, I wont lie I’m very jealous of the way Grant plates his food, its stunning and just so different from my plating. I was crossing my fingers under the table hoping for his flavours to be rubbish, but no such luck, all dishes were a triumph both visually and flavour wise. My personnel favourite was the octopus and clam dish with a hint of ginger, spring onion and a little chilli… here is his recipe and some photo’s of other dishes…

Oh dear good lord yes
Oh dear good lord yes

Razor clams with octopus

250g octopus
20 razor clams
4 spring onions
1 knob of ginger
1 small bunch of coriander
12 sprigs of parsley (for garnish )
4 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 Juice and zest of a lemon and a lime
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
2 shallots
6 tablespoons extra Virgin olive oil (3 for garnish )

• Season the octopus with salt, pepper, garlic, chilli and lemon. Either bbq or grill then oven cook on a low heat for around an hour
• Cook razor clams for ten seconds in boiling salty water. Take the clam from the membrane, discard the latter and boil the empty shells to sterilise
• Fry shallots , garlic, spring onion, ginger and finally tomato paste and paprika until shallots are soft and the tomato has been cooked out
• Thinly slice both the octopus and clams and add to the frying pan to combine
• Add the lemon, lime and olive oil and cool
• Once cold add chopped coriander and place mixture into sterilised shells
• For service grill until warm, place on plate and garnish with olive oil and parsley

The bar was not only raised it was fair up me, I wasn’t comfortable with the situation or this analogy but I was very well feed and honoured to be part of a home cooking challenge with such an incredible chef such as Grant. So over the next day I plotted and planned many dishes but with an extra day up my sleeve I did have the upper hand.

Friday came along and it was deep sea fishing in the med for day time activities followed by cooking our bounty as the sun went down, but I still managed to whack out a dessert in the afternoon. I made 6 glasses of ginger and chilli panna cotta and some spiced cookie dough, these made me sleep a little easier, as I had a bit done for Saturday night. But when I awoke on Saturday I checked the panna cotta’s and as I’d had to set them with agar agar they were heaps more set then I wanted, in fact they were rubbery as fuck so I decided to take from glasses and blended then whip to make into a ginger and chilli cream. Then it was my time to finally decide on some dishes so I scribbled down my thoughts…

• Roast pear with balsamic, blue cheese wrapped in serrano Jamon
• Ginger & lime squid on a watermelon chilli & mint salad
• Morcilla, tapenade, asparagus salad
• Herby beef, parsnip puree, confit cherry tomatoes, spring onion
• Chilli & ginger cream, spiced biscuit crumb, coconut rum & mint macerated strawberries, candy floss

All in all I was happy with what I served up, especially since all was produced in a home kitchen with limited ingredients. My squid dish seemed to be the people’s favorite, whilst the morcilla was mine, one day these two might have the same out come. I have before made many versions of this squid dish and I think I have even given you the recipe before so instead I will give you the desserts recipe…

More yes
More yes

Chilli & ginger cream, spiced biscuit crumb, coconut macerated strawbs

Chilli & ginger cream

300ml cream
200ml milk
120g sugar
1 dried chilli
1 small knob fresh ginger
1 teaspoon of agar agar

• Heat all except agar in pan and simmer for 5 minutes to infuse flavours, then whisk in agar and simmer for 1 minute, strain into container and refrigerate
• Once set, blend until smooth then whisk up into nice thick cream. Whack into piping bag

Spiced biscuits

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
3 cups plain flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon hot water
1 tablespoon four spice

• Cream butter and sugar then add all ingredients one after another then roll into logs in cling wrap and freeze or chuck in fridge
• When want them just slice into ½ cm slices and bake at 180 until coloured nicely
• To make crumb blend once cold in a blender

Macerated strawberries

• Chop strawbs into ¼’s and toss in Malibu rum and fresh mint. Leave for a while so they all get together
• You can then start the build on the plate, I whack some crumbs down first, then the strawbs in a nice pile then pipe 5 different sized blobs of the cream, crumble some freeze dried raspberries around the place and finish with some candy floss on top of strawbs

The week finally came to end with so many memories of lazing by a pool and eating lots of delicious food. Who won you ask? Well I think the other four people were the real winners, but I give my vote to Grant as his food is always food I wish was something I’d produced, and special mention to Derek and Paula of Casa Oasis for allowing to chef’s into their kitchen and home to do what we do best… cook, eat & drink.

Paul’s Caul… Life’s Good


For all those playing at home, I don’t have red hair and a beard and I’m not G-bags Mcfilthy mouth… no, I am not the father of this blog, I’m perhaps best described as this blogs estranged brother that likes to drop by unannounced and expects every thing that’s great about writing a blog whilst having no responsibility at all… yes that is me in a delicious nut shell, I’m simply a man called Paul who has a shit load to say about food and anything even slightly related to it, like travel, drinking and eating of said food.

I’m a chef that has been cooking for overs 20 years all over the place and I have been extremely fortunate to have known G-bags for all of that time. We share a love of food, swearing and most importantly telling the whole fucking world about it, so a blog seemed inevitable. I’m honoured he allows my scribbling’s to be part of foodisthebestshitever and I hope you enjoy them just as much as we love bacon, but lets face it that’s asking quite a lot. P

Life’s good

I’m not even going to bother to try and explain why I’ve been so shit at writing lately, I could try to spin some elaborate yarn about my fingers being temporarily paralysed or my eyes not functioning correctly… but lets face it, you haven’t even missed me at all, not one person has written to us saying “where the fuck is that charming man from Paul’s caul gone?” so as far as I’m concerned you are lucky I’ve come back full stop. I’m not going to lie I’m upset and a little disappointed that I seem to be like the rest of your disposable world. That’s it Paul slag everyone off, that will make them want you more, well it cant make you care any less you emotional vultures, you filthy bunch of love sponges.

Well its with teary eyes and a heavy heart that I dust off my pride and give you all one last chance, if I’d don’t get actual tangible love from at least three people worldwide for this post then that’s it, I’m done… ”What is this tangible love you speak of” I hear you ask… well quite frankly all I need is a like on Facebook or a comment on this blog and my easily inflated ego should be right for several hours at least before I turn to instagram or any other form of instant gratification I can get my filthy attention grabbing hands on.

It is at this point I realize that I have fuck all to actual say, I truly haven’t formulated what I’m about to write, but with my nonsensical style I feel I can wing it and just maybe just get you all up to date with what myself and the lovely Lauren have been up to (yes she is still with me. It’s a shock to me too).

Is that a dolphin between your legs or are you just happy to be on holiday?
Is that a dolphin between your legs or are you just happy to be on holiday?

For those with an incredible memory and the space to store useless information, you will recall that we have been living in the French alps, eating our body weight in fromage washed down with vin rouge and running a chalet in what ever time we have left after said eating and drinking occurs. And just in case you need my former sentence translated I shall try my best to translate it for those not so well travelled… when someone says “fromage and vin rouge” it translates to “I’m a complete wanker who has been in France for five minutes and speak fuck all French but like to big note myself on the internet”. Hopefully Google translate didn’t let me down.

The winter season has now come to a halt and I find myself in Spain eating tapas, drinking and spending time with some amazing friends we met in the mountains, for the purpose of this story we shall call them Rachel and Grant, as that is also by chance their given names. Grant is a seriously good chef, which is great for me to learn from and also eat all his tasty food. But with him around I have to lift my game, so boo to having to lift my game whilst on holiday.

Now I’m not going to sugar coat it, I’m just about as happy as I’ve ever been right now. Of course I’m writing this next to a pool, I’ve just played Dobble whilst drinking and frolicking in said pool after going for a spin on quad bikes around the Spanish desert, so of course I’m fucking content and happy… but I mean proper happy, with my life and all that deeper shit that’s essentially a lot harder to obtain.

Fishing off of Spain somewhere
Fishing off of Spain somewhere

I reckon it’s so unobtainable for most people because lets face it, most of us don’t have any idea what we really want… yes we all want money and shiny things but so do fucking magpies and as far as I can see they are some pretty fucking angry birds. But what I’ve always gauged my happiness on is my general content-ness in the everyday comings and goings of life. In this area presently I’m as rich as I’ve ever dreamed I’d be; beautiful partner, travel shit loads, incredible family and friends worldwide and get to cook my own delicious food (well I think so anyway) that pays my way through all of which I’ve just mentioned.

After just spending 5 months cooking in a very nice chalet in Meribel I have now been offered to be the private chef for a lord in England cooking at his decadent estate in the Peak district. This will entail a summer of living in a Downton Abbey like world of Grouse Shoots and hop knobbing with royalty, all whilst still getting to cook them what ever my heart desires. Amongst this we will also get to travel with the Family around their different properties as Lauren will be running front of house for them as well. So all in all not a bad summer about to occur.

I’m not just telling you all this to rub your noses in it, nor am I trying to say that all you need to do is work hard and love what you and all your dreams will come true… because what you don’t hear when I tell you what I’m up to, is that although I’m happy as a pig in shit doing what I’m doing, it is still extremely hard and very stressful work that doesn’t allow you to rest on your laurels at all. We as chefs are always judged with such harsh criticism as people either like what they taste or not, there isn’t much room for creativity and organization to win over a customer that thinks your food tastes like salty pigs balls. Now what I want you to take from my experience in life is that never stop trying things as your dreams and goals will change and if you are lucky enough you may be in the midst of something before you take a second to sit back and realise that you are living your dream already.

A shit place to stay
A shit place to stay

But I’m bloody close to sounding like a god damn preacher so I shall pull up before I start praise our lord the saviour Christ, instead I shall praise our hosts Paula and Derek of Casa Oasis for their hospitality and tolerance of our incisive laughter and consistent G & T ing (coining the phrase, definition- to drink plentiful amount of gin and tonic) they have also allowed us to take over their extremely clean kitchen for our cooking exploits.

Grant and I are each cooking a big dinner each this week with his dinner tonight and my dinner on Saturday night it will be sure to be getting fiery in the kitchen. His ingredients of choice were Razor clams, octopus, mackerel, little weird sausage balls, mangos and Plantains so I cant wait to see what he comes up with.

I have chosen morcilla, entrecote beef, squid, serrano jamon and watermelon for my menu du jour. I will be sure to document the entire battle royal, with photo’s and recipes. But when this is all occurring whilst on holiday with friends in a villa in the Spanish desert then everyone a winner… although we are both extremely competitive so tears may flow.

Paul’s Caul… Penchant de Fromage

Penchant de Fromage

We now live in the land of the cheese eating surrender monkeys, but regardless of their continual want for quitting anything they get into, you just cant go past their brilliance in the world of preserved milk, AKA cheese/fromage. This is made abundantly clear everywhere you go. Cheese is like currency in France, its sold everywhere, it’s what bacon is to the British and what beer is to the Australians, and quite possibly what sugar is to Americans.

You can’t find a menu that isn’t laden with cheesy goodness. We are living in the Alp’s so every second restaurant does fondue, not just the old pot of molten white love, they now have heat lamps that gently melt away layer by layer of semi hard cheeses like Raclette and they are perched on an ingenious rack that allows you to lower the half wheel to such an angle that you simply scrap of the top layer of gooey deliciousness… clever French bastards!

Then you walk outside thinking to yourself “I’ll go for a nice walk to burn off all of this effing cheese that seems to find its way into my ever increasing belly” so you casually stroll down the road only to be ambushed by these sneaky dairy producers, it’s a god damn rouse I tell you… they even have cheese sold and given away on the streets, yes the streets are literally paved with cheese (incorrect use of the word literally but I literally don’t give a shit) row after row of fromage and cured meats line the pavement, there is no shit cheese here, no orange shite that Americans claim to be cheese, no small triangles labelled with cows simply so that its been near a cow once in its factory raised life… NO it’s all the good stuff, the stuff that weird dreams are made of and quite frankly it’s overwhelming to say the least. And this is coming from a person who isn’t anti-cheese, quite the contrary, Lauren and I are cheeseaphiles, we are very close to being full blown cheese addicts also known as a addiction called ‘penchant de fromage’ and even for us this is border line too much.

But I’m not complaining, I’m just pointing out just how Omni-present this beautiful product is, and please do not get me wrong they treat this revered product with respect. They don’t serve cheese boards with 4 different cheeses served with pear and quince paste and feel their job is done, hell no, they treat every cheese with the kudos it deserves and bring all of its potential to the plate in which you eat it from. If it’s a cheese that needs to be left out of a fridge for a week before consumption then that’s what they do, if it needs to be baked and presented to the punter with shaved truffle on, then that’s just what this wimpy French fucks do, they may be an annoying breed of human, but by all that is holy in this world, they love their cheese.

I’m running a chalet with Lauren here in Meribel in the Rhone Alp’s and we offer some pretty decent cuisine, and for our cheese we offer a cheese course every night. This entails a fuck off piece of amazing cheese, one different cheese each night, this cheese comes with a story, in which I like to wrap up the truth in a beautifully packaged parcel of made up facts. You will recognise this process from this blog in which I use the same formula. I like to serve each cheese either by its self (if it’s that good) or in general I serve it with something that heightens its flavour.
beaufort cheese
We serve the local hard cheese called Beaufort which is known as the king of the hard cheeses (generally only by the producers) it is a great cheese and has such a subtle flavour that I like to serve it with candied walnuts as I feel it already has a certain nuttiness which works well together.
reblochon de savior
Another belting cheese we get from our storeman extraordinaire (Toby the ginger wonder boy) is the Reblochon de savoir, which is a small wheel of stinky gold, its got all the smoothness of a creamy brie but with the balls of a blue, and I like to serve it with crystalized honey, why? Just because it’s brilliant!
blue cheese with truffle honey
The blue we have been serving is good, but its no Roquefort and to be fair Toby has now sourced me some cave-aged goodness, but in the meantime this French blue called Bleu D’Auvergne with truffle honey is quite magnificent.
mont d'or
And without a shadow of the doubt the most incredible cheese I know and have the pleasure of calling my dear friend, the one, the only… Mont D’or, this is a cheese that was made to last the long hard winter, and meant to be served just after Christmas, it looks like a round wood wrapped blanket of mouldy clouds and once that lid is peeled back it is as if by some miracle nature has melted this cheese for you, yes that’s right it tastes like a melted cheese sandwich, its beyond belief and if left out of a fridge for many days before consumption then it transforms into an out of body experience. Holy fucking Cheese balls this shit is good…. I serve it with teaspoon and get people to simply hand it around scooping spoonfuls out as they go
So All in all, you can all see that we are in fromage heaven and it’s the gym or the slopes every day just to keep our cheese belly’s from taking over, but these are most definitely first world problems and problems I relish, thank god I’m a chef and get to play with such exquisite produce on a daily basis… cheeseisthebestshitever

Paul’s Caul… Tuna Tartare and a few words about sharing

Sharing is caring, except rashes.

One of the biggest problems facing the world is that people just don’t share the right things, people love to share the things that annoy them or the things that cause nasty rashes in the never reaches, in fact basically we could replace the word ‘sharing’ with ‘off loading’ and then we could comfortably say that people love to off load their shit, but sharing good stuff seems to evade us as a society.

But imagine a world where you came across something you like and thought “I want to do that”, and instead of having to install security camera’s and peer through peoples windows to unlock the secrets of their success, you could ask them and they would happily share with you. Now this doesn’t have to be some weird fantasy world where people fly around on huge white dogs, or a place where David Bowie lords over muppets in a maze like world, NO it could be this place we call the real world and it could all begin with you!

Now I realize it sounds like the beginning of a self help book written by some shiny white toothed freak from USA, but my amazingly disguised point is that we all have knowledge of some sort and often we cling onto it like it was a hookers last shred of self respect, as we feel it was hard to come by so why the fuck should we just give it away? Well I’ll tell you why you insecure knowledge hoarder… because allowing someone else to have the knowledge you have gained does not by any means give them the wisdom you have, a wise man once told me “knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in fruit salad” so basically if some twat wants your recipe for crème brulee then give it to him, as a twat will still be a twat even if he possesses a damn fine baked custard dessert with a shiny caramel lid… FACT!

Many chefs will give recipes with missing ingredients or not give their treasured recipes out at all, well I say that’s rubbish and always think if someone else is willing to go to as much trouble as me to create delicious food then good on them, hopefully they enjoy spending fucking hours in the kitchen doing laborious shite that would be considered punishment in most peoples mind. But if they follow through and create something they are proud of, then they will have you to thank and that’s reward enough… obviously if they take said knowledge and become better than you then my entire concept is bollocks and you should sabotage those talented motherfuckers, destroy every single bit of them until no one remembers anything about them, never stop until all traces of their sickening talents is erased from this world… but other then with those people, you should always share.

Living in the French Alps looks shit
Living in the French Alps looks shit

I’m currently living and working in the French Alps and to be brutally honest, its fucking lovely here, hardly any French people, shit tonnes of cheese, foie gras as far as the eye can see and I get to create my own food every day for a chalet full of eagerly awaiting guests. So it is a fountain of creative juices, so I’ve been playing about with some new dishes and to I’m quite happy with what my juices have come up with. And in the spirit of this post I shall share one of my favourite recipes with you all… ‘Tuna tartare with a ginger oil & wasabi ice cream”

Now it’s far from a hard dish to create and I feel that in its restraint lays its beauty, but please give it go and let us know what you think.
tuna tartare with ginger oil and wasabi ice cream

Wasabi ice cream
Ice creams are easy as to make so go buy an ice cream machine and get amongst the creation of endless flavours.

The base for most ice creams are the same. Basically it’s a custard that you churn in a machine and freeze with flavouring.

My basic base is…
30 egg yolks
2lt cream
400g sugar

• Now all you need to do is heat the cream and add to whisked yolks and sugar then gently heat in bain maree or thermo mix (if you are a fancy prick like me) until it thickens and coated the back of a spoon, allow to cool then churn in machine, job done
• But for my savoury ice cream I only add 50g of sugar and add a tea spoon of of salt and for this wasabi ice cream I add 4 tubs of wasabi, now this recipe will make you more wasabi ice cream then you will ever need, so please divide recipe by 3 and continue. Best to always add flavouring to the cream during heating to really infuse the love
• Whack in freezer once done

Ginger oil
Chop up a massive knob of ginger (you can just grate it)
Chop up 2 eshallots
Chop up one red chilli (as hot as you like)

• Heat 500ml of veg oil with a dash of sesame oil in it, once almost smoking, add all ingredients and cook until items are brown and crispy
• Strain oil and place ingredients on paper towel to crisp up and drain, these crispy pieces of deliciousness can be used for something else, like a garnish for a salad or as a snack to chomp on whilst drinking beer
• The oil you have left is now infused with gingery goodness, we shall call it Ed Sheeran

Tuna Tartare
This is the easy bit, go buy the best looking tuna you can find, if its in a tin then go jump of a bridge you muppet… you want a nice purple piece of meat that doesn’t stink like a mermaids parts. You will only need about 50g per person so even if its expensive don’t stress.

• Chop said piece of tuna into small square dice and place in a bowl, just before you serve you add enough ginger oil to coat all tuna, then add enough good quality salt to season the mix
• Place a small handful of tuna mix in a nice bowl/jar/glass/whatever you want to serve in
• Just before you serve pour 1 teaspoon of lime juice on each serve, don’t do this too early as it will start to cook the tuna
• Finally whack a small scoop of wasabi ice cream on top of each bowl and serve
• Best to eat by mixing up and placing in your mouth