The Paupered Chef: While the Chefs Are Away
We just left the lobby where all the chefs were lined up neatly in their coats, ready to go single-file into the auditorium to be introduced. This, of course, left all this delicious food totally unguarded. We did all we could to avoid tearing into an intoxicating pork shoulder sitting in a hotel pan with no one nearby. A luscious dry-cured ham sits on a cutting board with a knife next to it — would anyone notice a little thin slice missing? We were tempted to jump ship with the ham and run to Central Park and forget the whole ceremony. Constraint.
While the chefs are away basking in the flash photography, we take the opportunity to speak to a few prep cooks who are in it for the long haul.
The jobs ranged from the menial – the poor preps plucking off every tiny leaf from bags of marjoram – to the physical – major shaking of heavy cream and buttermilk at the Bacchanalia table, destined to become a foam.
Then there was Osteria Mozza, Nancy Silverton’s station, where they seem to be leaps ahead of everyone else. Their leeks already seared brown, artichokes skinned and cooked, and lots of fluffy mozzarella. The preps were basically just guards. Good thing. The mozzarella looks really good.