The Chef Goes Up in Flames
Our kitchen ceiling and white cabinets have beautiful dark grey swirling patterns on them now. The beauty betrays very little of the kitchen fire that made my husband's 21-year old cousin catch on fire for a few moments last week. She was cooking for my book club dinner since, even though I'm a nutritionist, I was too lazy to cook for a whole dining room of guests. Seredipitously, she had just started a catering business after graduating from college. Sounded like a win-win to both me and her.
Everything started out great. The menu began with acorn squash soup follwed by grilled chicken with a mango black bean salsa, garnished by taro chips. Now, which of these ingredients do you think caused the fire? I would never have guessed. In fact, with the nice stove we installed during our remodel 5 years ago, the thought of a fire never crossed my mind. I didn't even know how kitchen fires were started, unless someone left mail on the stove and turned it on.
It was the taro chips. My husband's cousin, A., mistook our deep and narrow asparagus cooker for a deep fryer.
Book club gals were busy eating cheese and grapes. We were not discussing the book, but were happily chatting about our big trip to Cabo from a couple weeks ago. I had a direct view into the kitchen from the living room and could see A. at the stove, her back to me. When A. added the taro slices to the hot oil, we heard a big BOOM! There was a quick explosive sound and I heard the whooshing of a big fire taking hold of something. We figured out later it was a grease fire. I looked toward the noise. I saw A. from the back, she looked like she was on fire — there were bright orange flames, 2 feet wide, emanating from her chest and lapping the ceiling. She screamed and began to bat at the flames, moving away from the stove and carrying the grease fire with her for about 10 feet. I bolted to the kitchen and was trying to grab blankets or kitchen towels to throw over A., but as quickly as the fire started, it was gone.Continued on the next page