November 19, 2005

giving the gift of ME

This morning I prepared a "breakfast in bed" for a couple. The woman who hired me to do this was repaying a favor to her friend, the wife. I do this kind of thing all the time, but this was my first official breakfast-in-bed deal. I was a teensy bit weirded out: I wouldn't want some stranger in my bedroom, first thing in the morning, no matter how good the food was or how sweet of a gift it was. The husband was kind about it, though, and gave her a 10 minute warning so she could get dressed and cleaned up a bit.

The friend, my client, arranged for everything, and the husband was in on it the whole time. Apparently he snuck out of bed and cleaned the kitchen some time during the night. He was also in charge of procuring the champagne. When I walked in, the wife stood there agape for a while, saying over and over, "How awesome is this? This is so totally awesome! Oh my GAWD this is So Totally Awesome!" (This was in North Hollywood, in the depths of the valley...are you surprised?) *grin* I showed up at 8:30, had their mimosas, gigantic fruit platters and made-from-scratch-that-morning banana bread ready at 9:30, and they had their custom-made omelettes, duck-fat hash browns and my secret-recipe veggie sausage at 10:00.

But I really did serve it to them in bed. They were on top of the covers, fully dressed, and watching cartoons. So cute.

Here's some pix:

Fruit Platter: Canteloupe with pear, strawberry, kiwi, grapes, watermelon and satsuma orange sections.

Omelets and Hash Browns, with veggie ''sausage''.

Mostly people give me (that is, my personal chef services) as a gift certificate, and I always ask the giver to specify if it's for just one dinner, or for a week's worth of food, or if they don't care. I've also done gift certificates for private cooking lessons.

I've been given to new moms, ostensibly so that they can enjoy their time with their newborn without being burdened by cooking... but the truth is, the mom is so overwhelmed by that new little bundle of joy that she's simply unable to coordinate feeding the baby AND the rest of her family... not to mention herself!

I've been given to a mom & dad, on their 40th wedding anniversary, because the kids all live far away and couldn't all get together for a fancy dinner. The mom planned out these multiple-course menus and hung out with me while I cooked. (I didn't mind, truly! It might have bothered me if she wasn't so sweet.)

I was given to a woman who was about to undergo her sessions of chemotherapy, so that on those days she could just come home to a freshly-made meal and relax. All her co-workers chipped in, and came up with enough for five sessions, including groceries. I've done two already, and her son is my biggest fan. It's so great when the kids eat; kids are tough customers!

Earlier this year, a dad gave a gift certificate for a birthday dinner for two to his daughter and future-son-in-law. They brought out their best dishes and drank their wine from their biggest fanciest stemware. The girl was just awed that food that tasted that good came out of her kitchen. The fiancé jeered her with things like, "You can't blame it on the stove anymore!" and "See, the kitchen is NOT cursed!" He joked about having me give her cooking lessons, but I later found out they moved out of state for her job.

At baby-showers and bridal-showers, I hear back that this was the most ooh'd and ahh'd over gift. It's so decadent, and rather unique. It's something everyone can use, and can't be returned! (well, nobody's tried yet...)

In the spring, I get calls on Thursdays from people who have procrastinated finding the PERFECT gift for the newlyweds who have everything. The giver is thrilled that they can get the gift certificate emailed to them. They print it out themselves and put in an envelope or a box to leave on the gift table that same Saturday night.

I think people are relieved that they can give "me" as a last-minute gift, because I can put the whole thing together in a matter of hours. We talk, I put a sample certificate up on my website, they tweak it, I make the changes, and they can print out the certificate and deliver it by hand. It's not always last-minute, but most of the time, it's not exactly planned out! I'm expecting to get a lot of calls for last-minute christmas gifts over the week of the 19th... just like last year.

The wife of this morning's couple kept saying "I feel like a princess!" every time I went back in the bedroom. <invoke RayRay> ''How awesome is that? </invoke RayRay>

Last thing I ate or drank: a handful of red seedless grapes.

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1 comment:

  1. ...why I want to become a chef. =) What a gift, using your skills to make people happy. Awesome.


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