|It has become a tradition for me to write a Christmas poem each year featuring the chefs I have worked with. This is the one I sent out for Christmas 2003:|
Twas the Night Before Christmas
Twas the night before Christmas,
And Jennifer freaked out.
In the middle of cooking,
Her stove went out.
“What will I do? The stove has no power!
My guests will be here in a matter of hours!”
Determined to triumph, she started to think.
To help calm her nerves, she poured a drink.
With sudden inspiration, she knew what to do,
She buttoned her coat and tied her shoes.
She climbed on the roof and stuck out her thumb,
She hoped he'd come soon, or else she’d be numb.
Out of the sky, like a chivalrous knight,
Santa pulled up and they drove out of sight.
“Where to, my dear?” he said with a smile,
“This little sleigh really covers the miles!”
“To The French Laundry!” she said with delight,
She knew Thomas Keller would offer a bite.
But when she arrived the cupboards were bare --
He was opening in New York, so no one was there!
“Let’s try Gary Danko, I think he’s in town.
I just hope we get there before they close down.”
Gary was happy to lend some assistance,
And gave her a turkey with little resistance.
“Now to Trotter’s, where I’m sure to find
An array of fixings to baffle the mind.”
As luck would have it, Charlie was in.
He packed her a bag and threw some wine in.
“What about Patrick O’Connell?” she said.
“The Inn at Little Washington is just ahead.”
Patrick was gracious and helped her with ease,
She was delighted with his gift of mac and cheese.
All of this traveling was making her woozy,
So they stopped in to visit with Dante Boccuzzi.
She knew it was busy at Aureole,
But she bribed dear Dante to give her some rolls.
“We forgot the sweets,” she said with a grin,
And they zoomed o’er the Atlantic to The Waterside Inn.
Michel Roux’s kitchen was a festival of smells,
And Chef Alain spared a Bűche de Noël.
They swung through France, for how could they not?
She knew there’d be something to hit the spot.
Jean-Paul Lacombe, thank goodness, was there,
And offered a dish of gorgeous poached pears.
“We’re almost finished!” she cried with delight.
“Good thing”, said Santa, “it’s almost daylight!”
They didn’t have much time to spare,
And she still had to shower and blow out her hair!
Back to the States -- could they fit it all in?
“We forgot to stop at The Ryland Inn!”
Craig Shelton appeared with a bottle of Dom.
“Drink some of this, and you’re sure to be calm.”
With a sleigh full of goodies they dashed away.
Soon Jennifer was ready to start the day.
Her family arrived, presents in tow,
The Christmas tree was all aglow.
“Merry Christmas to all!” she said with delight.
“I’ve been cooking so much I was up all night!
For you, dear family, no task is too great,
So please sit down and I’ll fill your plates.”
“You’ll find that my skills have vastly improved.
From working with chefs, I’ve learned some new moves.”
Her secret was safe, and the meal delicious,
She just hoped the chefs didn’t stop by for their dishes.