Ah, the soup. The flavors were spot on. You could taste layer upon layer of flavor building. It started with a well crafted vegetarian broth. A sprig or two of rosemary, a couple stems of thyme and a few choice pieces of parsley, all freshly picked from the garden, added to the broth to simmer in the background for another hour or so.
Once the flavors developed in the broth & herbs removed, gorgeous chunks of zucchini, garlic and onion were added. The heat was gently brought up to a simmer. The vegetables were allowed to play together, absorb and share their glorious flavors. As soon as the onion and zucchini were easy to pierce with a fork…. out came the immersion blender. The chef did it on slow and took her time. She made sure all the timber was blended well. Next, 3 heaping spoonfuls of lush sour cream was added. The immersion blender reappeared and was once again instrumental in producing a creamy soup, almost silky in texture. You could see the steam rising.
The bowls were heated before the chef used a ladle to gently ease the subtle green colored liquid silk into each.
The garnish was quickly, yet thoughtfully applied. Grated Parmesan, freshly snipped chives, fresh, stunning green pea shoots, a couple of garden fresh picked peas, a chive flower and a generous amount of fresh cracked pepper.
The offered bowl of soup was a feast for the eyes.
That first bite. Eyes closed, the warm, creamy liquid did a slow dance in our mouths just a moment before it slid down our throats. I just barely caught the slight salt of the cheese garnish and the bite of the fresh pepper. The mingling of savory delights was a symphony of flavors any restaurateur would be more than proud to offer to their guests.
Well done. 5 star good.
Yes, that good.
A simple, elegant lunch, however I thought I could going on eating that delicious offering all afternoon. I knew I would remember that meal for some time.
Oh, did I mention the creator’s name? I am proud to say my friend, Chef Natalie, age 10.
You read that correctly. AGE 10.
Because of her parents, she is respectful, smart, thoughtful, curious and a hard worker. She is over the moon enthusiastic and eager to learn, as much as she can, as fast as she can.
I had the privilege of spending the day with her. Somehow, just by working side by side, she elevates the game. You bring your A game, because, well, quite honestly, she is watching your every move.
She is serious. Oh sure, she has an infectious laugh, is quick-witted and asks purposeful questions. Don’t for one moment, let your guard down and causally think this is child’s play. This is the real deal. She listened to and wanted to learn how to use a Coco-Jack to open a young coconut. She was listening to every single safety rule about how to use the immersion blender. She was already comfortable with the Blend-Tec, food processor and Kitchen-Aid.
We tied our hair back, we put on fresh aprons, we wore closed toe shoes, we washed our hands again and again and again. We tasted and then flipped the spoon around and used the handle to taste again. We went through a drawer full of spoons and I folded 11 freshly laundered kitchen towels this morning. We worked the day through.
She made a meal for her family. Eyes on the prize. Serving her brother, Dad and Mom a meal she could be proud of. She never once lost focus. She is fierce and determined. She served them an appetizer, a soup course, the main meal and a dessert to finish.
The day began for us with glorious smoothies using fresh young coconut and the water, strawberries, mango, spinach and lime. Chefs need to be well nourished so they can concentrate on cooking well for others.
The days’ list unfolded like this:
She picked & gathered green beans, tomatoes, radishes, herbs and a fresh egg. She learned about and started a batch of sprouts in the kitchen.
It was a full day of learning, giggling & oodles of fun. It was the good kind of tired. You know? So tired from cooking all day, yet somehow re-energized with pure joy and enthusiasm to serve the meal to your family.
I was the sous chef. I helped and washed dishes. I scrubbed carrots, beets and a pear. I washed bok choy & spinach. I sent pictures to mom and dad throughout the day. I got out fresh kitchen towels, different tools, appliances and kept things moving along our time line.
When she says “I made pot stickers”. She really means, she chopped the ingredients, made the savory filling, learned to make dumplings and took 46 home to her family. The chefs in the kitchen each got to cook and sample one. Oh, be still my heart. Lush, moist filling inside a plump, perfectly steamed dumpling wrapper. Oh yeah, she made pot stickers and a lovely sauce to serve alongside.
*Housekeeping note: Because my friend is under 18, I asked for and received permission from her parents to share these pictures.
I wanted to write this post as sort of a thank you to my friend. I loved spending the day together. The day flew by and I can’t remember smiling as much as I did. Then I got to thinking. I wanted to share this because, it’s what many of us are looking for.
You know when we (grown up adults) all sigh and complain that we are not sure what our mission is, or what our calling is?
Maybe, just maybe our calling is to be the “sous chef”? Maybe, our mission is to lift someone else up and help them stretch up on their tippy toes, while they stand on a kitchen stool to reach their potential?
May you be a “victim of Grace” as I was. While washing dishes and gently reminding a young chef to keep their fingers curled under while using a mighty big knife…….may you be gobsmacked by the Grace and Goodness of a young person who is looking to you.
In this together friends, all covered and splattered with grace.