Can we manage without the sausages?

Being happily married to a fantastic lady who also happens to be a fantastic Thai chef, and having started my hospitality career in the kitchens of one of Scotland’s finest grand hotels more than four decades ago, I must admit I am something of a fresh food fanatic. My wife and I have always insisted upon using the best and freshest food items and ingredients from the local markets, even before organic became trendy. 

This dedication to fresh food has kept us both in great shape. Unfortunately, it has also occasionally landed me in the soup with a few of my chef colleagues over the years, as I inevitably take exception to the use of any food items — fresh, frozen or processed — in our kitchens if we do not know the item’s origins or ingredients.

A case in point is the ubiquitous local “sausages,” although this microscopic quality analysis also applies to locally purchased burgers, chicken nuggets and to any other processed food items if the complete ingredients cannot be ascertained.

So, as usual, during my first day on the job here, I did the rounds of the buffets, food stores and freezers and soon became concerned after discovering boxes of burgers, sausages, chicken nuggets and various other processed and frozen food items that were being purchased and dished up to our unsuspecting guests.

Apart from being potentially unsafe, all of these items failed my taste and quality test — in particular the local burgers and the beef sausages, which were pasty in texture and tasteless, and as a result were immediately banned. But what I could not work out was why no one had taken any action on this matter previously. Well, the answer soon became apparent and was blamed on a lack of skilled manpower, but in reality — as is often the case — it had more to do with “convenience.”

As a result of the great sausage debate, we will now set out on a new culinary journey in the second half of the year, adhering to our new credo of “fresh is best,” which will require a massive reduction in the amount of processed, frozen and tinned goods being purchased. They will be replaced with fresh ingredients, some of which are grown locally in massive hydroponic water farms out in the Saudi desert. 

We will also be cooking more items in our restaurants, including fresh fish and seafood and tender home-smoked chicken filets during breakfast to replace the current salty processed turkey bacon and the truly awful sausages no one here seems to like.

In the meantime, I am off on my travels to locate and purchase a sausage machine that will produce a new line of homemade beautiful bangers for our restaurant, including Moroccan-spiced lamb, Mexican-spiced beef, chicken-and-mustard, Thai-spiced prawn-and-lemongrass and Arabian Ouzi (baby lamb) plus a line of fresh vegetarian options if we can find or develop the right type of sausage casings.

Until then, Chef, can we manage without the sausages?