Cooking Experiences

Foodie Fails: my less successful foodie adventures!

As someone who would nowadays claim to be a foodie (albeit a burgeoning one!), I have enjoyed some amazing experiences at some truly fantastic restaurants. In addition, I’ve had a fair few tasty successes doing my own cooking and also courtesy of my wonderful wife Charlotte’s cooking.

It would, however, be remiss of me to suggest the road to ‘foodiedom’ has been a smooth one; there have been a few bumps and bruises along the way! This post aims to share my top five #epicfoodiefails but please do share yours by commenting below or emailing me at theleedsfoodie@gmail.com.

Number Five

Looking back, this was an error entirely of my own making. The food could have been (and still was as far as it could be!) brilliant but I made a rather epic fail.

I was at a very posh (5* no less) London hotel with my wife Charlotte (at the time my girlfriend) and her family, whom I wanted to make a good impression in front of. I made the bold choice of ordering steak but, when ordering, made a big deal of the fact that I needed the steak (fillet steak no doubt!) to be cooked well done.

Suffice to say, the waiter gave me “the look”, and Charlotte still likes to remind me of this almost 10 years later! Obviously now I love my meat rare, so it pains me to think back on this!

Number Four

Most of us have split mixtures before. Most people, though, can see this and can attempt to save the dish using various techniques before it’s too late.

Unfortunately this was early days for me in my cooking development and I didn’t spot the split, didn’t react to the split and, worst of all, was making creme caramel, which is basically a custard dish.

With this in mind, you can imagine the look on Charlotte’s face as I excitedly handed her the first creme caramel to try and she spat it out in disgust!

Wondering what had happened, I took a bite myself and suddenly had this horrific egg taste in my mouth mixed with overbearing vanilla. It was a disgusting experience and it took me four more attempts to get my creme caramel right.

Number Three

Picture yourself jet lagged and in a country where you don’t speak the language at all. Then, put yourself in my position of being on your own in a seedy hotel in Quito, which is not exactly a city you want to be messing about in (although it has some beautiful areas), and then throw in the altitude effect and you might have some sympathy for me!

I decided to go looking for breakfast and sadly didn’t take my guidebook with me. With this in mind, the only thing I could do was look for somewhere that was busy, had an open kitchen, and looked half decent! Sadly, my normal ability to hunt out a good breakfast let me down and I ended up in an awful restaurant where I just pointed at the menu and asked for an ‘American breakfast’.

My food came with stale toast, hard boiled eggs and something that I believe was meant to be bacon but just really, really wasn’t! This was truly the worst breakfast I have had the displeasure of eating and not at all reflective of most of the food I enjoyed in South America with the exception of…

Number Two

If you go to Lake Titicaca on a group tour, you might have the ‘pleasure’ of enjoying a meal with a family on one of the islands on the lake.

While I cannot give a true description of how heavy the meal was, I can advise you that it was a meal consisting of pasta shapes, beans, potatoes and just about any other carbohydrates you can think of, all smothered in a bizarre ‘tomato’ sauce that was sickly sweet.

I managed to eat half the bowl (family staring at me throughout) and then persuaded the family that I was full and didn’t need anything else! Add into the mix the ridiculous attire I was wearing to keep warm and you had a real recipe for a truly epic foodie fail!

Number One

While there are several honorable mentions I could include in a longer list of foodie fails (with a great story from @fussy25 on Twitter who, whilst on holiday in Spain, “bought 3 different tins thinking they were tomatoes to go with the brekki- they were all tomato soup :-(“) there could only ever be one winner here!

In 2008, Charlotte and I spent three months in Madagascar. Language problems occurred on a daily basis as we spoke barely any French or Malgasy, so any friends we could make were really welcome.

The lady who did our laundry (and did the laundry far, far better than I ever could!) was very kind to us and invited us to visit her church one Sunday. We went to a rather crazy service that in itself could be the subject of a blog and before we knew it Charlotte and I were sat down at the front of the church to be the guests of honour.

Sitting at the front of the congregation, not only did we have dozens of people staring at us, but the food we were served has lived long in our memories for all the wrong reasons!

Offered what seemed like a harmless bowl of rice and a bowl of dried fish sauce (with added joy in the form of some dried fish), the real moment of failure was when I bit into the rice and found that not only was it freezing cold but also had rocks in it!

I thought that the fish would maybe salvage something but it was truly horrific in taste and I really could have been sick on the spot eating it! Fortunately, we managed to battle some of the food down and the crowd soon started to disappear, leaving us able to find creative ways to hide the food and make it appear as though we had eaten more than we had!

Since we’d been invited as guests, we really didn’t want to appear rude, but this simply has to go down as the worst foodie fail I have ever endured!

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