Sunday, August 05, 2007

Its all GO

A pic or two from halcyon days on my favourite yacht, a wave to the camera, as I have been requested to guest chef again in the old Riviera on another friends megayacht for a spell in August, oh its a tough life.

Just back from a two day sojourn with Mike in Chefchaoen as a break from Fes but also to check out Mikes two recently acquired properties one at 13000 euros and 18000 euros both bijou but great views. Always nice to go there but as a double bonus bumped into Christina who recently stayed at the house in Fes, which made my day for sure.

Stayed at our friend Johns place at the top of the Medina he is a classic English eccentric, recently turned 65 but he is rambustious,opinionated and likes the odd tipple or tiffin. Suffice to say he is a brilliant cordial host when in Chefchaoen. He is soon to be appointed warden of the town by the Consul in Tangier which will only serve to make him more over the top i guess, bless him.

Back in Fes now and just received a call from an old skipper friend of mine needing a chef for a weeks cruising in Monaco, Nice and St Tropez (thanks Tony for giving him my number). As I am on my way back to England on 14th August for a stint the timing is perfect as they require me in Nice on the 22nd so time to dust off my knives for a return to the fray albeit for a few days. It seems an old chef never really retires, when the call comes and you weigh up the bucks, which are substantial, then off you go again. Basically you could live for months here in Fes in what I make in a week on a yacht but then its time to get back and crack on at the Mernissi House on those small details that have been bugging me over the last few months.

The Medina has been empty of familiar faces for a while but come September I expect they will be trolling back and finally Mikes place will be open followed by the sumptious Riad Alkantara just round the corner with its landscaped gardens and olympic size pool (almost ) for some culinary evenings or two. The oppressive heat should have dissipated and we can all breathe freely again and be able to venture out without dripping profusely inshallah!!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Its only words

How do you sum up Morocco, well for those who have been or those who havent try these words out or add your own, its only fun but see how many ring true.

Magical, mysterious, sensual, intoxicating, frustrating, illogical, ebullient, innocent, allknowing, charming, frustrating, refreshing, relaxing, religious, hypcritical, deserty, lush, cheap, luxurious, poverty, happiness, respectful, hospitality, dirty, frenetic, fun, alluring, captivating, unhealthy, overbearing, overfamiliar, overtaking, illuminating, sacred, sacriligious, serious, spicy, progressive, baksheesh- central, backhander, breathtaking, calm, oasis, greedy, childlike, poor, respectful, happy, hardworking, lazy, toothless, sunny, sharing (see what I did there), brilliant, bombastic, bewildering, becalmed, irritating, patient, impatient, serene, and so on......add your own.

Above all its an experience and as they say here "This is Life" , a life of contrasts to be sure.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Blooming Marvellous and Bloody Hot

Johnny the video celebrity with yours truly
The sultry Spanish siesta princess cools off on the cushions!! Come back soon now y'hear
The title says it all really with the sun scorching through the menzeh shutters from early in the morning waking yours truly from his happy slumber. Though during the day on the terrace it is well nigh impossible to spend any quality time without being seared, scorched and severely burnt etc the bougainvillea and assorted plants are thriving in the hothouse atmosphere.

Its been a very cool week in other respects in the Mernissi House with an old yachting compadre Johnny Edwardes jetting in from a Palma film shoot with his gorgeous delectable friend Christina who features in daytime siesta recline mode in the photo. Johnny and I spent many happy years crewing on the classic sailing yacht Sumurun, check out the website for an insight into my previous lifestyle, in the Caribbean, States and Europe. These were the days of exotic food as I was the chef, Celebrity guests such as Richard Gere, Bianca Jagger and some bloke called Mick she was with and we were young single and permamently hungover.

So of course Johnny and I had lots of catching up and tall stories to tell. What was more interesting was his current job helping on film,video and still photo shoots in Palma. We got onto youtube and Johnny showed me a cool clip of Outkast and Pharrell Williams (for those in the know they are the coolest hip hop honchos) and blow me down if he didnt feature in a scene as a badass gangster, so his credibility factor went up in my estimation several notches. Of course this gave us the idea for doing something similar around Fes where we have more locations than you can shake a stick at so watch this space.

Spent long lazy langourous days destressing the two of them as they had been doing a 6 week 16 hour day shoot before visiting me so we lounged and ate and siested and then off in the cool of the evening to show them Fes finest locations, all within walking distance. The highlight had to be one of my now famous Mt Zalagh trips for sunset where we were invited in as always by a new Berber family and as the sun went down under the shade of a grand olive out came fresh churned butter and crusty bread, alongside wizened olives and golden olive oil for a memorable feast. This was topped by a glass each of hot foaming fresh cows milk....delicious. The family invited us to sleep on their roof under the stars but I had to get back for a dinner date so next time.

Sad to see Johnny and Christina go as like all my friends here they felt so at home and it felt too rushed a week longer would have been good. They will both be back soon I hope with new plans and ideas for Fes and the house i hope.

With August approaching or upon us even its time to escape to England for a bit of Mums home cooking and a spot of mindless TV thus escaping the Fes Cualdron so missives from this end could dry up a bit but keep checking for a View from Norwich update maybe.....