I can feel my nerves on the subway ride to Hammersmith. They're at a full thrum on the short walk along the Thames from the station to the restaurant.
Beside the kitchen door are teetering stacks of balsa wood boxes overflowing with the most exquisite Italian fruit and vegetables—flown in that morning from the Campo de Fiori market in Rome and points further south. A palette of ingredients for an Italian master. Like a Caravaggio still life.
The menu was written daily at the River Cafe, and there was always something new to do. They took the full measure of me and assigned tasks according to my refined talents.
Fresh pasta made with egg yolks the colour of sunrise, English country butter and double cream tasting of ryegrass and clover, gull's eggs plucked from cliffside nests, sparkling stained glass vinegar from the pastoral Chianti village of Volpiai, green crystalline olive oil pressed to specification months earlier, and a shower of Maldon salt shards over everything.
Men and women in equal number and at work as equals in the kitchen.
Ruth and Rose's universe was glorious.
Double happiness every single day.
Soundtrack - 2000