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Yes Chef

Stories of Culinary Delights and Frights from a Retirement Village Chef.

The year was 2005, and it was my inaugural Pancake Day as the new Chef in an exclusive Retirement Village. Little did I know, I was about to step into the culinary carnival of the century! This day, as I discovered, was not just a celebration; it was a culinary extravaganza, a grand spectacle in the retirement village’s social calendar.

As the morning sun heralded the arrival of Pancake Day, I took my place in the kitchen to prepare as any good chef. We call it Mise en place – a French culinary phrase which means “putting in place” or “gather”. It refers to the setup required before cooking.

It turned out, there wasn’t enough time for what happened next. They descended upon the dining hall like children at a desert bar. And they bring reinforcements – friends and family, all eager to partake in the day.

The wait staff found themselves in a whirlwind, a dance of pancakes and plates as the demand soared higher than our griddle temperatures. Pancake flipping went from an art form to a method of survival.

There was a moment of sheer panic as our supplies of strawberries and ice cream disappeared before our very eyes.

Thankfully, the culinary gods smiled upon us. The residents continued their feast, and the dining hall echoed with laughter and stories of how this day had been celebrated in the family home, long before their retirement.

Looking back, that first Pancake Day remains etched in my memory as a delightful yet chaotic adventure. It was a day when the kitchen became a stage, and I, the unwitting protagonist, learned that Pancake Day in a retirement village is not just a day—it’s a gastronomic carnival that brings people together in the name of fluffy goodness.

About Pancake Day

This year, Pancake Day falls on Tuesday, February 13, 2024. The day always falls 47 days before Easter Sunday (a feast that is determined by the cycles of the moon), so the date changes slightly each year.

Why do we have pancake day?

Pancake Day, also known as Shrove Tuesday, is always the day before Ash Wednesday on the Christian calendar. The word ‘shrove’ originates from the English word ‘shrive’, which is the act of confessing one’s sins and doing penance. Making pancakes is a tradition that was developed as a means of using up rich foods such as eggs, milk and sugar before the 40-days of fasting.

The perfect pancake recipe


– 2 cups all-purpose flour

– 2 tablespoons sugar

– 1 tablespoon baking powder

– 1/2 teaspoon salt

– 2 large eggs

– 1 3/4 cups milk

– 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

– Butter or oil for cooking


1. Prepare the Dry Ingredients

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Ensure a thorough blend to guarantee an even consistency in your batter.

2. Create a Well in the Centre

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. This is where the magic begins.

3. Whisk the Wet Ingredients

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Pour this delightful concoction into the well you’ve created in the dry ingredients.

4. Mix Gently

Gradually incorporate the wet and dry ingredients, stirring gently with a wooden spoon or a spatula. Do not overmix; a few lumps are perfectly acceptable for the fluffiest pancakes.

5. Rest the Batter

Let the batter rest for about 10 minutes. This gives the baking powder time to work its leavening magic, resulting in pancakes that are light and airy.

6. Preheat the Griddle or Pan

While the batter is resting, preheat your griddle or non-stick pan over medium heat. Add a pat of butter or a splash of oil to ensure your pancakes don’t stick.

7. Spoon and Cook

Spoon the batter onto the hot griddle, using about 1/4 cup for each pancake. Cook until bubbles form on the surface, then flip and cook until the other side is golden brown.

8. Keep Warm:

As you cook batches of pancakes, keep them warm in a low oven (around 95°C) to maintain their delightful warmth.

9. Serve with Toppings

Now, here’s where you can get creative! Serve your perfect pancakes with a variety of toppings – fresh berries, a dollop of whipped cream, a drizzle of maple syrup, or, if you’re feeling indulgent, a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

10. Enjoy.

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