The Celebrity Chef's Wife
The celebrity chef's wife does not particularly enjoy cooking but she does it anyway. Her husband doesn't want to cook after a long day in the restaurant. Even if he's been doing a book signing, appeared on a TV programme or had a day off to play golf, he still doesn't want to come home and cook. Home is for relaxation, he says.
The celebrity chef's wife is not in the public eye. She does not appear in gossip magazines. She does not publish articles about homemaking, interior design or motherhood. She does not accept invites to appear on daytime TV. When her husband is invited to dine at a new London restaurant, she is rarely invited to accompany him. The celebrity chef wants to protect her. The public can be savage, he says.
The celebrity chef's wife keeps in touch with food trends. She buys the latest superfoods, reads the books of the hottest new culinary talents, follows them on Instagram. She grows a large variety of herbs and vegetables, experiments with unusual flavour combinations. Sometimes her husband tells her she's not a bad little cook and would she like a job in one of his restaurants?
The celebrity chef's wife did not ask for such a huge kitchen. She was not consulted on the design. Leave that to me, I know kitchens, the celebrity chef said. The worktops are crafted from the finest polished granite. The cupboard doors have no visible handles. The knives are made from hand-forged Japanese steel. Large bifold doors open onto an expansive patio and garden. Birds fly into these frequently, then lie on the slate tiles with broken necks until the celebrity chef's wife moves them to the compost heap.
The celebrity chef's wife wishes she could sometimes serve up instant noodles with a topping of grated cheese. She might even throw in a handful of frozen peas or some finely chopped broccoli. She eats her favourite chicken-flavoured noodles when her husband is away. She doesn't keep noodles in their walk-in pantry, she buys them from the petrol station and cooks them the same day. Perfect.
The celebrity chef's wife has carved out her own career but nobody ever asks about it. She has a successful online business selling high-end imported kitchenware. She has a diverse investment portfolio. She rents out her old flat to a friend. She thinks of ways to grow her business, how it might do better if she moved to somewhere in the EU. She puts these thoughts to one side, for now. She keeps her knives sharp and her wits sharper.
The celebrity chef's wife takes a butchery course; a gift from her husband. She suspects he was given the voucher as a freebie. She doesn't expect to enjoy it. She learns how to manage the heft of the cleaver, delights in the ease with which flesh and bone are separated, the quick hard sound it makes as it strikes the wooden block. She divides cuts of meat into neatly tied joints, pulls apart ribs for the stock pot. You're a natural, the butcher says. The celebrity chef's wife wipes her hands on her bloodied apron and licks her lips. She can taste the iron in the air.
lives and writes in Derbyshire, UK. She has work in several print anthologies and has also been published online by Reflex Press, The Daily Drunk, The Phare, Ghost Parachute, Fictive Dream
and Ellipsis Zine
, among others. Tweets at @RebeccaFwrites