I consider myself a passionate guy. I’m passionate about food, architecture, cooking, the list goes on and on. Having many different passions makes for an interesting, vibrant life. However, combining too many of them at once can come back and bite you in the ass. Case in point; I have two very successful friends who are a same-sex couple and work in the entertainment industry. Their passion is architecture and remodeling, and a few years ago they bought and completely rebuilt a stunning, mid-century modern home in the Hollywood Hills, with huge glass windows and a fantastic view of not only the city below, but the iconic Hollywood sign as well. They have excellent taste and spared no expense. The kitchen is to die for. State-of-the-art, professional, restaurant-grade Wolf and Viking ranges, stoves, warming ovens, you name it—this place has it! It’s a cook’s wet dream come true. And the place is packed with one-of-a-kind designer furniture. It’s the ultimate in hip, cool and sexy.
So when my buds asked me to house sit for a long weekend while they took their newly adopted son Frederick on a mini-vacation, I jumped at the chance. Now, I’ve cooked for these guys before so they knew I was salivating to get my hands on their kitchen and they only placed one restriction on me. They just had a custom Bensen neo sectional couch made (with chaise), and had it covered in white, velvety, brushed cowhide. They requested that I abstain from using it. “Don’t you worry” I shouted, “It’s radioactive as far as I’m concerned!”…and I started to make plans for my ‘Night of Passion.’
A sexy house requires sexy food. I had a menu that I’d wanted to make for quite some time, and I knew just who I was going to make it for. I won’t use any names here but just picture a boozy, more athletic Selma Hayek on a six foot frame. Babes like this get the high-dollar treatment at restaurants all the time, but they seldom have a meal prepared specifically for them and served up in an atmosphere like this. (Nothin’ says lovin’ like somethin’ from the oven!) Here was my menu (not including the French Champagne, the Cabernet Sauvignon and the 21-year-old Tawny Port):
Bibb Salad with Gruyere, Garlic Croutons, and Dijon Vinaigrette
Steak Au Poiure with my kick-ass Black Label Buttered Crème sauce
Soft Mascarpone and Gruyere Polenta
Roasted Asparagus in a Balsamic, Butter and Soy Sauce Glaze
Individual Chocolate Hazelnut Lava Cakes
I can’t go into detail about the evening, but picture Thomas Keller meets James Bond. All I can say is that they make movies about nights like this! I was still in a state of bliss a couple of days later when I received the following call from one of the homes’ owners.
“Katt? I’d to discuss an incident that we recently discovered on our Nanny Cam”.
“Nanny Cam? What’s that?”
“It’s the high-definition motion activated camera that we had installed in our living room in order to keep tabs on Fredrick’s care while at work.”
“We’ve decided after some consideration that we’d like to sell the Bensen sofa, and we were wondering if you might know of someone who would be interested in purchasing a previously pristine work of custom craftsmanship.”
Long story short, I never thought that my passion for cooking would one day be responsible for my owning a piece of furniture that cost five times what I paid for my car. Yeah, I got caught up in the moment, and yeah, I’ll be paying this off until Social Security kicks in, but I learned two very important lessons; One, you’ll never do your best work unless it’s fueled by passion. And two,….brushed cowhide wears a lot quicker than you’d think.