Here’s a story about cooking for an independently wealthy Young Gentleman and his gang of friends. To protect the innocent, the guilty and myself, nothing I tell you will be quite true.
As your secret chef I have spent two decades being a private chef for High Net Worth (HNW) and Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) clients all over Europe and on super yachts. What I have become experienced at is keeping secrets and cheffing. Here is what I remember about one afternoon when I was cooking for the Young Gentleman and his crowd of close friends.
Due to his privileged position, as he was growing up the Young Gentleman was allowed to have only a minimal experience of formal education. That’s not to say he was unintelligent, but he preferred sporting pursuits and his parents encouraged this natural talent.
The Young Gentleman had other talents too. He was very perceptive to changes in mood and very aware of the fullness of an individual’s personality. Because of this he surrounded himself with compassionate, sensitive friends. This demonstrated itself to me by the behaviour of all those who lived at the flat and all the visitors. Each individual who crossed the threshold into the Young Gentleman’s home was scrupulously polite, helpful and respectful towards me. This cannot be said of all clients and their guests.
The lack of formal education extended to the Young Gentleman’s friends. Listening to their conversations as I served at the dinner table was always enlightening. Often they would turn to me and ask about some concept they had encountered on television.
I helped them to navigate the minefield of modern life by answering their questions, which included ‘Why did Romans wear skirts?’, ‘What’s the rainbow flag’, ‘Is a lentil an animal’ and ‘Was there a war before the Germans’.
The home they made for themselves was an ultra-modern penthouse flat which not only over-looked the roof tops of the city, but also had panoramic views of the green hills in the distant countryside. For me, because of the ability to see so much land from my workstation in the kitchen, it felt less like being on the top of a luxury tower block and more like camping on a hilltop.
Day times for the clan at the penthouse were gym and reality TV, followed by dinner. Night times were a long trail of clubs and after parties. Of course there was a never-ending stream of young ladies who visited the flat; frequently they helped the Young Gentleman to have an afternoon nap.
This happy band of brothers hung out in the clubs of London, drove fast cars and would fancy themselves as gangsters. One of them dabbled with becoming a professional boxer; another was always launching a new nightclub related product, all of them delighted in new haircuts, new watches and new shoes. This was orchestrated by the friend who fancied himself as the ‘Chief Gangster’. Chief Gangster never failed to be the ambassador of a new slang word, training fad or a new subtle tweak in the sartorial style within the clan.
One winter the city was buffeted by storm after storm. Up in the flat we could often out-forecast the weather forecast. From that height, a weather front could be seen moving across the vast geography of several counties. The storms and the corresponding crystal clear rainbows became so frequent that winter that we all stopped pointing them out to each other.
This particular afternoon a bad tempered storm passed across the floor to ceiling windows. Afterwards I was walking back to the kitchen from the dining room, the low winter sun was at my back and Chief Gangster was a pace or two behind me.
Chief Gangster and I must have noticed the bedazzling intensity of the full double rainbow against the heavy grey sky at the same time. From behind me I heard ‘Why is there rainbows?’ Then the immediate follow on question ‘Is it because of Jesus, innit?’. In hindsight this was probably the Chief Gangster thinking out loud, but I assumed it was an enquiry in the style of their long list of questions about life.
I was in a hurry. I didn’t particularly want to go into physics, Newton, prisms, splitting white light, the wavelength of light, ultra violet and infra-red. I turned round to the Chief Gangster and said ‘Yes’, because after all, who is to say if rainbows aren’t because of Jesus? They might well be.