“Jump you fucker”
“Shut the fuck up you bunch of twats”
“Jump, do it…do it now…the waters gonna drop”
“Arrrgghh Jesus…why am I here……..you bastards”
‘Fat’ Eddie McKeown stood 25 feet above the North Atlantic on a out-cropping of cliff in a borrowed day-glow yellow wet suit staring directly down into the Devil’s Pot. The out-cropping was half way down a 50+ft sheer cliff face so his options where limited to either jump or fly….. it was impossible to climb back and I was pretty sure Ed hadn’t mastered flight just yet.
3 of us had made the jump….safely…just about…and we bobbed in the swell looking up and ‘encouraging’ Fat lad Eddie.
“Wait! Wait…stop Eddie, stop…hold, stay put…don’t fucking jump”
“Jesus Christ lads”! Eddie had cocked his body adopting a bizarre swan-dive position in readiness for the leap but the timing was wrong…
“Don’t fucking move Fat lad”!!!
Chefs and surfers alike would hang out at The Devils Pot it was a natural aquatic phenomenon – the ocean would sweep into the base of the cliff and fill a huge whole formed by the rocks maybe 10 to 15 feet deep but it would quickly empty as the tide retreated exposing the truth……volcanic rock, jagged edges and probable death. Timing was critical, you had 25 feet to drop and you had to hit it not when the pot was full but when it was filling, this way you would avoid ‘The Suck’ – hitting the Pot as the water was on the way back out meaning you would be sucked down and literally smashed on the rocks. But to early and you’re ankles would rammed behind your ears.
I could see the terror in Eddies eyes. It was ok for the rest of us we had been doing this all summer plus we were Chefs and had very little in the way of PSPs*
Eddie had breezed into The Kitchen a week before, he was the new Head Bar man and brought with him an astonishing degree of confidence and bravado..it sickened Tony who immediately christened him ‘fat’ even though the guy could have graced the cover of Mens Health. The waitresses always turned up on time for work when Eddie was there…some even arrived with him each morning, maybe they got the same bus…
And Eddie plummeted towards The Pot
I felt his arms break, his flesh rip and his breath leave him. I felt the wind from the rotor blades of the rescue helicopter and the spray of the ocean on my face. I felt guilty and sick. I felt large hands rip me from the water into the RNLI rib and throw a blanket around me. I felt lost staring into the eyes of our rescuers who had had to do this so many times before.
Within the 4 seconds it took for Eddie to hit the Pot I had him dead and buried, I played out the worst case scenario in my head as I bobbed and watched him. But Eddie hit the Pot arse first screaming as he went. It was a dead-mans-drop, ‘no splash no thrash’. He shot beneath the water level like a bullet just as the Devils Pots filled then quickly emptied pulling him straight out to safety.
Eddie cough and spluttered and thrashed around – the 3 of us barely managed to stay above water laughing at our new buddy his face whiter than the plates in the Kitchen…his ego left dangling on the cliff.
“No big deal boys…no big deal”
We hauled the 1/4 km swim back to the adjacent beach, un-buried our packs and broke out the cold sparkling red wine and the pasta and chicken dish from the night before and filled our bellies toasting Eddies health and near death experience. This was Eddies ‘Big Deal’ Pasta
*personal safety protocols
♠ Eddie’s ‘Big deal Pasta’ ♣
Prep time: 5 mins ♦ Cook Time: 20 minutes ♦ Total time about 25 minutes ♦ Serves 2
♣WHAT YOU NEED♥
150 grams Penne pasta
1 large chicken breast fillet
2 Chicken thighs
20 grams Nduja sausage
1 tbs Sundried tomato pesto
1 large red pepper – roasted, peeled and sliced
Fresh grated Percorino cheese
♠HOW YOU DO IT♥
Slice the chicken into strips, season really well and ad to a pan. Crumble in the Nduja sausage and fry in a little olive oil until the chicken fully cooked. Turn off the heat but leave the chicken and sausage in the pan.
Add the pasta to a rolling-boil and well salted pot of water and cook to al-dente.
Flip the heat back on under the chicken and bring the pasta into the pan along with some of the salty starchy water to form the base of a working sauce.
Add the sundried tomato paste and the roasted pepper and stir in well – use as much of the starchy pasta water as you need/want to
finish with a ‘ripped scattering’ of rocket and the pecorino