On Saturday I lunched with Christine and Richard at their house in Jimena. This is always an enjoyable event because they are extremely good company. More than that it is often Richard who does the cooking and he is renowned for his signature dish – fish pie. It is always delicious but on Saturday it was brought to the table and was a truly awesome sight.
Now I mention this because in the pre-meal chit chat the other guests seemed surprise that it was Richard and not Christine that had prepared the meal. Indeed he had also cooked a tasty soup – but I should add – Christine, who is no slouch over a hot stove, came up with a wonderful bread and butter pudding (with marmalade).
However the inference from the assembled multitude was plain - surely it was women and not men who should be cooking? I too was asked if I cooked and could answer yes indeed I did – with as it so happens Italian dishes being a firm favourite.
Isn’t it odd that in the home a woman’s place is deemed to be in the kitchen – and yet – if you go out to a restaurant you expect the chef to be a man! Indeed Spain, where men will cook al fresco but rarely in the house, has given the world its top chef and three of the world’s best restaurants are divided between Roses en Cala Montjol and two in Santander.
The chef-patron Ferran Adrià of El Bulli has seen his restaurant win the coveted award for the world’s best restaurant for three consecutive years and four times in all. Fourth in the rankings is Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz at Mugaritz, who was the chefs’ own choice and his restaurant jumped three places from 2007. Let us also tip our chef’s hats to Juan Mari Arzak whose Arzak in Santander is at number eight, up two places.
So when it comes to wielding a spatula both Richard and myself are in extremely good company, though I bow on bender knee to dishy Richard and his awesome fish pie.