The backlash against media portrayals of restaurants is in full effect this week. As Chef Daniel Patterson of San Francisco’s Coi often explains to new acquaintances at cocktail parties, “[C]ooking is an exercise in tedium interrupted by the occasional disaster.” (He usually then makes a beeline for the drinks table.) In a two-part guest blog post on Chez Pim, Patterson recounts opening night at his restaurant, which he warns may be a snoozer for readers expecting Kitchen Confidential–type antics.
But damn if it doesn’t have its moments—which, of course, are often tales of some near-crisis. Take this particularly well-put bit about the morning’s kitchen meeting:
We start out by talking about the day ahead—since we had only one rehearsal dinner, there was much to be done, to put it mildly. (There are always plans for a lengthy training period in place, which are sooner or later dashed on the shoals of construction delays, permitting issues, and budget overruns, until the question evolves from ‘What is the ideal training period?’ to ‘How little can we get away with?’)
See—leaves you kinda panicked for him, right? Later in the piece, he moves into more “exercise in tedium” territory with a minutiae-laden discussion of issues sourcing the next week’s lamb rack; but somehow that’s riveting too (especially because it wraps up with the delicious phrase “coat in ras el hanout, a Moroccan spice blend, cook sous vide and then sear, and serve with spring onions and English peas”).
Sorry, Patterson, you’re not putting this dork of a reader to sleep!