General Discussion


General Discussion 4

Memorial to the Cooks? | Sep 12, 2001 09:25 PM

The following was posted by Linda Civitello through a local, Los Angeles food club. I think it is brilliant and would like to post it here if there are any ideas on how to get it going:

Many, many culinary professionals perished yesterday, from Windows on the World on the 107th floor to every short order cook in every little shop in the building. The culinary community has an opportunity now to do as the great, magnanimous Escoffier did. When the Titanic went down in 1912, the press made much of the rich and famous on board -- Astor, Rothschild, etc. -- and even though the restaurants and the excellent quality of the food were big drawing points, no one except Escoffier remembered the kitchen staff. Most of the survivors on the Titanic were first-class passengers; with a couple of exceptions, the kitchen staff never made it to the lifeboats. Escoffier tracked down the names of as many as he could and wrote the most thorough obituaries he could. A few years later, in World War I, Escoffier set up a fund for the families of the cooks who were killed, even though one of his own sons had been killed.

We need first, to memorialize them, and second, to set up a fund for their families, and do it the way Escoffier did it: down to the dishwashers. It would also be a wonderful thing if there could be a permanent scholarship or award in the name of Windows on the World, so people don't forget. It was Escoffier who began the "Diners d'Epicure," where the same menu was served simultaneously throughout restaurants in Europe. Wouldn't it be nice to do a fundraiser this way, in one night, all across the country? Maybe all over the world.

There is a special place in my heart for Windows on the World. I am looking at a recipe I have had for more than 20 years, and which I got when a colleague of mine here in Los Angeles ate at the restaurant and came back raving about a dessert he had eaten. I called the restaurant and the pastry chef then, Nick Malgieri, sent me his recipe for Frozen Amaretto Souffle (which has now become an Amaretto Semi-freddo to be safer with the eggs).

I am looking at that souffle-spattered recipe now. It lists the restaurants that were in existence when Windows first opened at the top of the World Trade Center: "The Restaurant," "The Cellar in the Sky," "The City Lights Bar," "Hors D'Oeuvrerie," and "The Statue of Liberty Lounge." Now, of course, under gifted, personable Executive Chef Michael Lomonaco, there is --there were --"Windows on the World," "Wild Blue," the "Greatest Bar on Earth," all award-winning and all gone. The special yesterday at Wild Blue would have been Crisp Sweetbread Salad; at Windows on the World, it would have been Roast Suckling Pig. Gone are the Soft-Hearted Devil's Food Cupcakes and the Lady Libertini, their unique martini. Gone are the private dining and catering rooms that served 2 to 2000: the Ballroom, where I attended the wedding of two college classmates; The Hudson, Manhattan, and Pinnacle Suites, the Cellar in the Sky, and the Liberty Suites -- gone. The Wine School, under Kevin Zraly -- gone.

The view from the 107th floor was indeed spectacular. As you looked down into the harbor, the Statue of Liberty raised her torch up toward you. Zagat says Windows on the World "put diners close to heaven." Let's band together and, like Escoffier, help their survivors here on earth.

Want to stay up to date with this post?

Recommended From Chowhound