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A Private Chef to the Stars Tells All: Drunk Cooking For the Nightclub-Hopping Actor

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Here now, yet another private chef to the stars on what it's like to cook for the Whales of Hollywood. Anonymous, of course:

[Photos: Lev Dolgachov/Shutterstock; BillOggPhotography/Flickr]

I work as a private chef. Most of my clients require me to work for them full-time during our contracted period. Usually, they are on a special diet, looking to get lean or, occasionally in the case of actors, interested in gaining weight for a role. This is the story of when I worked with an actor who needed to get to a certain body type for a movie that would start shooting in six months.

It was 2 a.m. when I got the text. "Can't sleep. Cookies and milk?" I was across town, but knew I had cookie dough in the fridge and could speed down the empty streets, turn on the oven, scoop the dough and have freshly baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and a glass of whole organic milk ready in 25 minutes. When you work for a person that's paying you three times what an executive chef at a hotel might make, you sleep with your phone next to your head and respond to every request as quickly as possible. "Yes, be right there," was my response. Every time.

We went out for dinner the next night, the client and his entourage. I came to every meal because I had to order for him. Our party of six — five men, one woman — gathered around a table at a well-known steakhouse in Manhattan. It was the client's first time there, and while lean red meat was fine, the side dishes presented a number of problems. Mainly, they were mostly potatoes or fried. Accompanied by the maitre'd, I went back into the kitchen to have a chat with the expediter that night.

"Hi, sorry to bother you, I can see that you're busy. I'm with [name of client], and he's on a strict diet. Is there anyway to whip up a batch of mashed potatoes with chicken stock instead of cream? A bit of butter is fine," I started. He wiped his brow with the back of his wrist.

"Uh, right, ok, yes, yes." He called out some orders to the kitchen. There were some distant "oui chefs" called right back.

"Could you also steam some asparagus? Just salt and pepper, and maybe a few drops of balsamic?" As the restaurant was packed, I could tell that these additional requests were straining this fellow. I felt for him, I really did. "Thank you so much," I said, and walked right back out the door, thanking the maitre'd before sitting back down and sipping my wine, trying to catch up on the dinner conversation and monitoring the client's bread and butter intake. At some point, I pulled a busboy over and handed him the butter dish. If the client couldn't have any more butter, no one at the table could have any more butter.

The following week, we were in Denver. More specifically, the entourage and I were in a party bus, complete with stripper pole and stripper, following the client as he raced on bike over mountains and hills in the middle of the night. Often, drunk or sober, he liked to work out in the middle of the night, and that meant everyone came along. Sometimes this meant a jog, sometimes this meant renting an SUV so we could stay close as he biked, cross-country skied, or skateboarded. Sometimes he'd let security splurge on a party bus. There wasn't always a stripper on board, but there was always booze. Incredible, lethal amounts of booze.

It was easy to get drunk during this job, but I eventually found out that I needed to actually monitor my alcohol intake. Once, while in Paris, we stayed out at the hottest nightclubs until 4:30 in the morning. A limo deposited us back at our five-star hotel before dawn. Half an hour later, I got a call.

"Hey, can you have breakfast ready in 20 minutes?" That was the first and last time I made breakfast while completely drunk, and still in a skimpy dress and four-inch heels. I remember the kitchen porter at the hotel staring at me very strangely while I worked. Probably because I was overcooking the eggs. I topped the omelette I made with plenty of cheese and bits of crumbled pancetta. Thank goodness everyone was as drunk as I was; I didn't get fired.

Wealthy people, or at least the clients I've had, are all the same in that they know that their money affords them privileges that the rest of us don't get. The famous ones buy out movie theaters, stores, and restaurants when they want privacy. The not-famous ones sometimes try to enhance their image by hiring private security, buying their way into the hottest club/restaurant or casino room. They take helicopters when they don't want to drive. They charter jets... big jets with bars and private bedrooms. They stay in six-room penthouse suites. And, if they don't like a meal, they order another one. And another drink, until they're satisfied.

· All Whale Week Coverage on Eater [-E-]

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