“Close your mouth, baby”, he says as he uses his index finger to lift our waitress’s jaw. He’s an extreme chef. He can get away with saying that. It’s the end of dinner for our group of personal chefs, dining at an Orlando restaurant where the portions are as large as some chef’s egos (not ours, of course). We’re at the United States Personal Chef Association Annual Conference, meeting industry professionals from across the country including a celebrity chef or two.
The diner of discussion is Chef Amadeus, winner of Food Network’s Extreme Chef Competition, Season 1. Chef has shown his business card to our waitress, telling her also that the restaurant’s chef invited him back to the kitchen for a tour. The waitress knew she was serving a table of chefs, she just didn’t know that one chef in particular has some claim to fame. That moment was probably one of the highlights of her night, just as her stellar service was the highlight of our group’s night. I’m sure Chef Amadeus is enjoying his celebrity everywhere he goes, yet he is humble enough about it all the same.
It wasn’t like having dinner with Bobby Flay or Mario Batali or Julia Child (no offense, Chef). Our group had a “Bumpin’ Good Time” without the nervousness that generally occurs in the company of a celebrity. We critiqued the food, shared stories of our cooking experiences, and laughed as each monstrous plate came to the table. After a long day of conference sessions and bellies too full from brick-sized honey-butter biscuits, I walked out of the restaurant with a new group of colleagues I’m proud to call my friends.