Kitchen Bitches and Why I Love Them

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Kitchen Bitches and Why I Love Them

Illustration: Shivali Devalkar

“D

on’t stare at me madarc**d, I’m not your mother. You don’t frighten me,” said a short woman with sharp features, as she chewed out a friend for not keeping his station clean. “And you, fatso, you’re not a chef yet, so try not to show off. You won’t last five minutes in a real kitchen,” she screamed at me, as I repeatedly tossed a chicken breast in a pan like I’d seen on TV, despite being told to do it just once.

Malathi came into our lives when we were wet-behind-the-ears kids, fresh out of junior college, learning at a catering school in Mumbai, the foundations of what it takes to hack it in a real-life, balls-to-the-wall, hotter-than-Emilia-Clarke, commercial kitchen. She was about 5’2’’ and she taught a class that had quite a few strapping Jat boys, in addition to the rest of us, all hooligans who came in an assortment of shapes and sizes. Yet, she struck the fear of God into the lot of us.

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