A visiting angel

The day before yesterday I received a strange email from someone. I had no idea who she was but I’m used to getting emails from strangers. She said the night before she had helped out at another secret restaurant in London and had had so much fun that she wanted to do it again in another venue. She asked me: “Could I be of any help waitressing/washing up?”

I couldn’t believe my incredible fortune! We were completely sold out and had at least 24 people coming for dinner. I’d already posted on my personal FB page asking if any of my friends wanted to come help out. No luck. And then less than 24 hours before the dinner I get this angel from somewhere out there in the ether saying that she wanted to do exactly what I needed help with. And then when I gave her the address it turned out she lived a mere 4 or 5 houses away from us, on the same street!

Was this divine luck the nature of prayer? Or the power of food? There is something so special about the people who choose to attend a dinner in a secret location with, at least in our case, an unspecified menu, filled with complete strangers. Someone asked me last night, as happens often enough, “Don’t you worry about letting strangers into your house?” No, uh, I guess I never thought to worry. From the first time we opened the doors to the Nomad Chef about 2 ½ years ago, we have had only the nicest people come to dinner. I think it is somehow self-selecting. Only those passionate about meeting new people and trying great food in secret locations would turn up. And who are these people? They are often in the 30s, but we have younger and older too. They are usually professionals and often in the creative fields. And they love food. But it is even more special when a 20 year old university student chooses to come and help! So there is really nothing to worry about!

The angel came to my door last night, 15 minutes before the guests, 24 of them who were mostly strangers. She is passionate about food. And curious. I guess she did some research about secret restaurants and our name came up. Was her courage to go a strange place and offer to help nurture or nature? I think she is the youngest stranger to come to the Nomad Chef. She rocked up and pitched right in – hostessed, served cocktails, washed dishes, plated food and helped serve. How did she know how to do any of this? I later learned that she’d never even been a waitress and this was only her second visit to a secret restaurant as a visiting helper. It must be nurture, I figured. But no! She said she grew up in a family where food was only fuel, not an obsession or passion like it is for her, or for me, or for most of our guests. Wow, so then it must be nature!

Today I woke up to a thank you note from this lovely angel! She’d beat me to it. I (and Bruno my boxer boyfriend and sous-chef) was the one who was supposed to be thanking her! I think this heavenly visitation came from the power of food rather than prayer. Those of us with this passion know how to find each other. And for that I am grateful.

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