A Dedication to Al, Ann and Chefs Everywhere
You wanna be like Al? Or for that matter, Merrell? You gotta start getting ready for work at noon. Maybe sooner. If-and only if- you can cook like them (though, let's be honest..), then you must do it all day. Chopping, supreming, paring, sorting, picking, plucking. Washing.
Then work starts. You surf waves of food for eight hours. Perhaps a couple thousand plates. After twelve hours of work, on your feet, you can exhale. A little. You wait for the seats on the end of the bar to open up. The restaurant thins out a bit and its time to "get gracious" and have glass of wine. But work continues. You've done a quick survey of the walk-in, but only a quick one, because you're a step quicker than the quick moving inventory. Because you're Al or Merrell.
With the days menu in hand, can you still find stimulus in this 14th hour? There will be hundreds to feed tomorrow. They have no idea nor care for the hour or circumstances in which the menu was constructed, it just needs to be delicious.
Hall & Oates or perhaps Beyonce has usurped the soundtrack of screams, crashing, bubbling and sizzling. The house lights have come down. Item by item, line by line, you make a plan for tomorrow. Blueberries or pickled beets with the warm goat cheese? And what about the stone fruit that needs to be used tomorrow? There's not that much. On a flatbread or grilled with a pork chop...? These decisions are eased as the wine sets in. But you're definitely tired. All told, this is a 16-hour day. And this is no one-off catering gig or pop-up. You have to have the stamina to do the same thing tomorrow. When you begin again and see what Laurence has brought from the market.
You wanna be like Al and Merrell? Maybe. But it's a hell of a lot easier to live through these photographs. Thanks to Xandre Borghetti, a working warrior in his own right, for beautifully capturing these quiet moments. As Al would say, "it's all a part of the passion."
Posted June 10, 2012 • Filed under Food
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