Meditations

Sunday was a long morning…


Sunday was a long morning. Nursing a post-Shiraz hangover, I slump into Savory Coast to package the wood-fired bread that Chef Romy Prasad created for our new company 700 degrees. Three months in and we’re in Capers and Meinhardt’s, with Urban Fare making space on shelves, and I find myself asking why are we doing this? It took three months for us to find biodegradable bread bags, with the next three months going through two drivers (car accident and squeezed by a competitor), fights for shelf space, and figuring out our next product to connect people with their food.

I get to the top of the stairs and Chef is there. It’s the morning of the Vancouver International Wine Festival’s Vintner’s Brunch and he’s roasting off suckling pigs. Succulent pork and alder wood fill the restaurant, and Chef is bantering with his apprentice, Nick. Nick’s in culinary school and talking about his assignment to create a menu.
Nick: He said the sky’s the limit, don’t think price, don’t think availability, so every kid in my class is just Googling menus and cutting and pasting.
Chef: Don’t get me started…
Nick: I’m thinking of something whacked like frog à la grill
Chef: You can’t grill a frog, kills the taste … marinate it in milk for 24hrs… maybe French it… you should’ve gone to Switzerland to Fredy Giradet’s place for his frog legs and white beans because it was an orgasm with each bite… but you can’t serve it here, no one would try it.
Nick: But I need a theme for the menu…
Chef: Why don’t you call it ‘small plates’ and put a bunch of unconnected things together with a splash of crème fraîche like every other don’t know shit chef that comes out of school and says his place is ‘fusion’… no balance…

Chef is stirring his sauce for the pork, gives it a taste and smiles.
Chef: Taste this… tell me what’s in it.
Nick: reduction of roasted pork stock, chilies, thyme, tarragon, and tomato.
Chef smiles and gives a nod… maybe we are getting somewhere.

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