Who knew that anyone would find this so fact about my life so fascinating. Especially FF .
It was 1996 and I was getting ready to graduate from culinary school, I was chosen by my instructors to create the chocolate centerpieces for the Chef of the Year awards banquet held every year in Beverly Hills. They were quite happy with the way the centerpieces came out so I was invited to attend the event. When the event was over and I was leaving, I was in the elevator with a gentleman that said he really liked what I had done and wondered if I would like to come work for him. I honestly thought this was a pick-up line. He handed me his card and I thanked him. When I got to my car and read it I could hardly believe it. It read William Carter, Executive Chef, Playboy Mansion. Well, I was in a state of shock. I could hardly sleep that night. So the next day at school I gave the card to my instructor and he called and arranged the whole thing. I can tell you that he was probably more excited than I was.
I was a hired as a banquet chef. A lot of very fancy charity functions are held at the PB mansion throughout the year. Several hundred people attend these events. They are usually at least $1k per person events. So they are a big deal. I usually had to pass hors doeurves after having worked in the kitchen all day long. I was always happy to do this because I got to see lots of movie stars and politicians. It was a lot of fun. None of the male chefs did this. While I was there, there was only one other woman chef. She was a pastry chef who just plated pre-made desserts. My duties regularly included marking meat (putting grill marks on so it could be baked off later) and trimming vegetables. The boxes of veggies were stacked as tall as me. Basically I would do whatever needed to be done. I never made HH's personal meals. I did see them be made. Very, very bland. Canned soups & sandwiches. Every afternoon at 3 he came into the kitchen (in black silk pj's) for cookies. He rarely made eye contact with anyone. The young male chefs worshipped him. Chef Carter knew that I was interested in starting my own catering business so he was always giving me work that aligned with that effort. He is an exacting chef and extremely particular about the quality of food he puts out. No fruit or vegetables could have even the slightest bruise. It was all top, top quality. Surprisingly the buffet tables were very simple. Always pink tablecloths with a very beautiful but simple menu. Everything is rented, all the way down to the silverware. Everyone wants a piece of the PB mansion for a souvenir. I thought menus and centerpieces would be very elaborate, but they never were. Always the very best but simple. I still try to create menus like this. He taught me that it's more important to do a few dishes very well instead of a bunch that are just so-so. That always stuck with me. He was extremely generous in sharing his knowledge. It was a fascinating experience working there. Huge, exotic birds just walk around the grounds like nothing. I would round a corner and there would be a couple of them and they always scared me. I did go in the zoo. Crazy. Also the grotto, even crazier. I saw and learned a lot. When I was ready to start my own business, I was so excited to tell potential clients where my experience was. But a lot of customers were not impressed. Quite a few said, "yuck!" So I really just excluded it from my speech/pitch. I catered for about ten years and quit before my back broke in two. I became an esthetician thinking it would be easier on my back but I was wrong about that. So there you have it, my year at the Playboy Mansion.