Catering in Cheltenham for a Mothers Day lunch

Monday, March 22, 2010
The really good thing about what I do now is I get to cook in so many different venues rather than being in the same underground hotel kitchen all day. And I get to meet the guests I cook for too. Especially when I am cooking and serving as I was on this particular day.

Chef sits in the window

This is being filed under the more unusual venues I have cooked in along with the disused wartime air control tower and the car showroom where we had to climb under the cars to get to the small kitchen. I was cooking in Cheltenham for a family group on Mothers Day. Staying in is the new going out, so as their mother lived in a residential home in Cheltenham that is where I cooked for them.
Looks like they had a special visitor in times gone by.

They had warned me there was no oven so I took my own. When I was 15/ 16 I volunteered in the local hospital in what would now be termed the 'care of the elderly ward'. Such a great learning experience in so many ways. Also when I started up my business I was making frozen one portion meals and many of my customers for these would live in sheltered accomodation and I actually had time to stop and chat to them too - it can be terribly isolating at such a great age (and that's just me). So arriving at this home on Mothers Day really felt very familiar.

Off my trolley

Where would a good nursing home be without a trolley? A great help to get all the equipment from the car park up to the first floor residents dining room. We had timed the meal in between the residents lunchtime and tea time. The Baby Belling oven has proved really useful over the years. It's actually my mum's. One night a few years ago at 5pm I got a phonecall "You're cooking tomorrow night at The Guildhouse? I'm the manager and I've just rung you to tell you the aga is out of action - can you bring your own oven?" It was around 15 people and they only have an aga in the kitchen - so I went over to mum's house (120 mile round trip) and picked this up. I also used to use it for a local supper club, and I also use it at Christmas when I need extra oven space. Sometimes for marquee weddings too - it's always good to have around.

Have oven will travel

I'm quite used to cooking in any space - we've cooked in closet sized kitchens to kitchens bigger than a normal house. Once I had got the Baby Belling in I had only a tiny bit of work surface. But that was OK - as the guests had a window table I could use the other one right behind this. And I also used their mother's kitchen in her flat which was right opposite the dining room:

Home sweet home

So I moved between the two using the microwave and sink (for washing up) there and the oven and plating up in the dining room with the rest of the stuff on the trolley in the corridoor out of sight - I'm adaptable. It worked really well in fact. No photos of the food sadly - as I was cooking and serving the lunch myself flitting between the two kitchens it was better to get the food to the table instead. After lunch we got a concert - the two sons are performance guitarists so had brought along their guitars and amps and they played the blues for their mother. Quite amazing - shame I couldn't stay to listen, but I had two other special ladies to cook for about 65 miles away - my mum and nana, two of the best mums in the world, as well as yours.

Edit 25 April 2010

Now I am really glad I made the trek to cook this second mothers day meal. For it was the last supper. The last proper meal my nana ate. The last time she left her house, except a couple of doctors visits and her one last trip to hospital.

1921 - 2010

You see here why I am a chef rather than a photographer. By the time I got there I was pretty exhausted after a 35 day week (that's my excuse). I didn't add this photo at the time, but now I have - as it's the most up to date one we'll have. She passed away yesterday afternoon. Just her and mum at the end - maybe that was the way it was meant to be.

We did 5 parties last night - Hannah did one, Gill did one, I delivered one served by @Party-Angels, then did one at 7:30 and one at 8:30. The 8:30 one was a 60th birthday - nice family event. Doting grandmother was 60 - with baby grandchild only a few weeks old - so tiny, so cute. It brought it home though - there's a magic bond between grandparents and grandchildren - different to parents and children, and all the better for it. It's certainly a role nana relished (grandmother, mother, wife, best friend to everyone), and we all have so many happy memories as a result - she gave so much, and we all grew as a result. Seeing the tiny baby last night was like a reminder - one generation passes, but a new one follows fast upon. You may have gone, but the memories will last a lifetime.


1 comment

Jan said...

Awww - a great post.
Bless you - I bet they loved having you cook for them!