two chefs. and a whole lot of other stuff.

two chefs.

a while ago I wrote about three chefs that I had worked with that had an impact on me--they changed the way I looked at food and cooking in general.  now as I go deeper into the jungle that is cooking, i've come across two more chefs that have made me take pause and appreciate what we do. 

Ann Merrell.

I hired Ann at Pres a Vi.  We worked together, and for a while it was all good...and then it wasn't.  To ask her to give a number value to how much she hated me then, she says "9."  When I arrived at Nopa, and we needed a sautee cook, Merrell came in and killed it--running the station on her stage.  Former co-workers of ours were baffled that we would work together.  But a sincere apology and many busy services later, we're friends.  Merrell is considered the best sautee cook in the kitchen, and her progression and passion for the kitchen life has won her the respect of all the cooks.  (She's also been mentioned as a future sous chef.)  To have a cook that you know you can constantly challenge and push is a comforting feeling--and knowing that Merrell is cooking can be enough to put you at ease.  She's a friend, and I hope I get to cook with her for a long time to come.

Corey Nead.

If you read this blog, you know who Corey is.  He says funny shit--usually crude, innuendo filled self depricating stuff.  What you dont know about him is that he is a deeply talented cook.  Grilling, sausage making, and a homemade ice cream making habit that is slightly suspicious are all components of this cook.  He has a relentless thirst for cooking knowledge, and had the notebooks to prove it.  Cooking with him on the line is great, but it's the quiet one on one moments where he is at his best.  His sausage and charcuterie have a bit of a following at Nopa, and now that he is moving into the AM sous chef role, it's going to be interesting to see what he brings to the menu.  Having him around just seems to make everything a little more fun. 

contradictions about linecook415.
  1. im not a linecook anymore.  i've been a sous chef for 4 years now.  i could still serve your ass up on sautee though.
  2. despite all my talk about being in kitchen and giving yourself over to cooking, I recently chose to take Fridays and Saturdays off to spend more time with my wife.
  3. i live in the 415, but the area code on my cell phone is 925.
  4. i'm one of the worst blog readers around. 
  5. this blog was meant for me and the cooks I work with.  didn't really turn out that way.

  • 210 covers in three hours is a lot.
  • pauls nicknames this week were boner and mosh pit.
  • sometimes I just wish Bourdain would keep his mouth shut.  He talks shit on the orthodoxy of alice waters, and doesn't realize that he has his own orthodoxy...
  • a girl was mad at matty because she said he called her fat.  the next night i saw her wearing a dress that was tearing at the seams.  i shit you not.
  • sometimes I love San Francisco so much it hurts.  like loving your favorite band when you were 13 hurt.
  • speaking of SF, it's interesting how different the city looks during different weather.  its like seeing it for the first time some days.
  • if you need good cooking music, play barracuda by heart.  put it on repeat.
  • cooking is not a competition.
  • if you go to bevmo, make sure that the price tag on your bourbon says $28.99, and not $289.99, as this can lead to an emberrassing moment at the register.

quotes and conversations

"Oh, that's what I smell."
-Merrell, whose towel was on fire.

Me:  "You look like George Clooney in the first season of ER."
Al:  "Oh really?  I used to have a picture of that guy in my closet."

Me:  "Here dude, have some beet juice."
Corey:  "That's ok.  I make beet juice every morning in the shower."

"Al's kinda funny.  Like a fat kid got ice cream on his face funny."
-Corey, who makes great ice cream.

"You can get the handjob, but you can't get the thirty dollars."
-Paul, who is thrifty.

Me:  "There's essential oils in nuts."
Speez:  "You've got essential oils on your nuts."

Me:  "It's not a democratic system, it's a socialist system."
Ponder:  "Yeah, you should know about that one Frenchy."
-on trying to convince Paul to buy Asahi's

Paul:  "It was getting old, so I was trying to use it less."
Me:  "Oh, just like your dick."
-on the way Paul calls back fry time.  he took a lot of shit this week.

Chef:  "Ponder's done a lot of mushrooms.  You can tell."
Me:  "Really?"
Ponder:  "Oh yeah."
Me:  "I've drank a lot of kombucha, so it's almost the same thing."
Chef:  "I've eaten a lot of mushroom pizzas."

from top:  dinner, nopalito masa grinder, amy, organic eggs, chicories, fried sage, 4 qts of garlic takes a long time, tortellini, filthy clogs, fizzy lizzy tattoos, dim sum, goose, merrell, coffee at blue bottle, corey, my suspension form from 1996.  Mom still had it.

photos via flickr by metagrrrl and violet blue

photos via flickr by Jamison Litten, who is a considerably more talented photographer than I am.


Adam said...

i always love reading the blogs you spit out. I am not a restaurant chef, but I am considered the be the [insert celebrity chef here] of my kitchen.

I must make a pilgrimage to San Fransisco.

BIG SKY CHEF said...

Another fine Blog post Chef...We used to listen to The Heat is on by Glenn Frey back in the early 80's on repeat during the rush. What do you think about Music In The Kitchen? Some Chefs don't allow it, yet they will let you drink during cleanup. Personal preference?
Big Sky Chef

lakeviewer said...

Your blog is worth waiting for, like a special dish whipped up just for you back in the kitchen. Keep up the good work. And good for you for taking time out. (Even though, I told you that you were lucky to be so into your job).


M_twang said...

"Cooking is not a competition" Kudos for that one.

I'm in NYC, and I have had a suspicion for a while that SF is the place to be right now. It seems like a great environment to be around people who feel the same way that I do about this thing we do. I met Nate Appleman a little while back and he pretty much proved it.

Thought more than once about packing up and heading out, and it just came back into my head after reading this post.

Good stuff.

Chad said...

You guys all now that Richie is a great author/blogger. What you may not know just how talented a cook he is. On top of that He is really good looking. Has to be a lot to handle. How do you handle it? What's up Richie, looks like things are good.


maria cleo martin said...

i ♥ your blog & think its cooler than anything on TV. what you write makes me wish i could come work in your restaurant. i hope you already have a book contract ~maria

Matty said...

I love "like loving your favorite band when you were 13 hurt."
I can totally relate to that.

and for the record, I never called that girl fat. Drunk and obnoxious? Absolutely. Fat? Never.

Alyse said...

Just wanted to say that I love the blog. And also, thanks for linking to my blog last week.

I'm a huge fan of your writing and reading it is part of what helped me get the balls to leap from my desk job and throw myself into the world of cooking for a living. I appreciate all the advice for young cooks and the fact that you're so honest about all the sacrifices and struggles that come with working in this business.

Thanks again for the link and for doing what you do!

Lisa said...

I have neither the balls nor the drive to cook anywhere outside my home. What I love about your blog is living vicariously through you so I don't have to do the actual work.

Tony B. used to be, I don't know, much more than he is these days. Seems to pander and snark rather than offer real insight anymore. Can't quite put my finger on what's changed.

Kudos for taking time off to be with your wife. :)

MetaGrrrl said...

I certainly hope I'm not the first to say you'd enjoy today's Achewood very much, but I wouldn't want you to miss out on "Real Kitchen 101"

See you soon.