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VELVET EXPERIENCE

Writing Prompt ~~~ Your dream is to open a restaurant and be a top chef, but how can you do that when you were born without taste buds?

THE VELVET EXPERIENCE 

by John Yeo

 ‘My name is Peter; I am 20 years of age. I was born in the leafy suburb of Hampstead in central London. Mum and Dad owned The Velvet Experience, a large Michelin starred restaurant and we lived in a roomy flat above the business. All my early life I was surrounded and suffused with the aromas and the excitement of growing up and working with my parents. It wasn’t until I was eight years old that I realised I had been born differently to everyone else. One day I was working alongside Mum in the large kitchen when she thrust a large silver spoon into my hand and said, 

  ‘Taste this Peter. What do you think of this curry, is it too hot?’

    I dipped the spoon into the tureen that was bubbling away on the stove, I could smell the aroma of what looked like a delicious curry. Then I realised, I couldn’t actually taste the curry. I could smell the beautiful aroma and feel the temperature on the inside of my mouth but I had no sensation of the taste.

 Mum was puzzled, this wasn’t the first time she had noticed my inability to taste things and she’d usually put it down to my suffering from a cold which was interfering with my taste buds. Dad was horrified and immediately decided with Mums approval that I should see the family Doctor as soon as possible. The Doctor sent me off to see a specialist who consulted with another specialist and after numerous tests it was discovered that I’d been born without taste buds. 

 Although Mum and Dad were both upset and disappointed with this result, they were still quite happy to allow me to help and study them at work in the kitchen. I studied the menus, the food people enjoyed and the aromas as the food was being prepared in the kitchen. My sense of smell took over the sensations that would have been recognised by my nonexistent taste buds.

 I went to catering college to obtain my culinary qualifications where I successfully got by, using my highly developed faculties I passed the exams with flying colours.

 Sadly, while I was finishing my studies, Dad had a stroke and became paralysed on his right side. Of course this put an end to his cooking in the restaurant and he would supervise Mum and the employees from the safety of his wheelchair.

 I went straight to work after I’d left college and took over the kitchen from my Mum who was beginning to show signs of the worries of both working and taking care of Dad.

 I had a good team working with me, Jose and Ali, both excellent would be chefs who had been trained by Dad.

 I became adept at judging how our dishes would taste, by the aromas and the quantity of the ingredients backed up by the satisfied looks on our diners faces.

 One day unbeknown to me or the staff, we had a visit from a Michelin star assessor. I prepared the speciality of the house myself and it was no surprise when I received compliments from a well dressed portly gentleman.

 A few weeks later we were surprised and delighted to receive another Michelin star for our restaurant. This made a certain chef who was born without taste buds and his aged parents extremely proud indeed.’

 © Copyright ~ Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

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