Since I started working with Chef Buitoni at Aurora I have been treated as family. This is a phrase that people tend to throw around like free popcorn at a movie premiere these days and I'm afraid that it does not carry the weight that I intend to apply by saying that I have been treated as family. I'm 35 years old and I've been working since I was 15. These people have reset the bar for me. I'm a changed man for their influence, from their example.
|...these are actually raisins, not hamber|
|"Run downstairs and grab me the Pockfax!!"|
I came to the Buitoni School knowing a minimal amount of Italian cuisine. I'm still, and always will be, learning. I mean, what can you say about a cuisine which is literally thousands of years old and which has had such an impact on the way humans eat...especially Europeans and their progeny. I've learned an unquantifiable set of skills in Chef Buitoni's kitchens. Not just food skills. Remember, I said before that the magic of this place has much more to do with the people who work here than anything else. In my final weeks here I find myself hoping that some of that has rubbed off on me.
Coming from the background of kitchens that I've worked in, one of my greatest challenges has been to overcome the explosive dynamism that we so often find as young cooks, so eager and so electrically inspired that we often find it difficult to get back to the humdrum, monochromatic mentality of most working people. People who are just trying to pay their bills and get to the next step in life's parade of mediocrity. To be more clear: I've been known to have trouble keeping my temper in check. I'm getting better all the time (like the Beatles).
Its been one of the most fun years of my recollection. I've made some potentially life-long connections and, hopefully, affected lasting change in some people's lives along the way. I've learned how to use bananas to surpass the world's highest technologies. I've put fruit on raw fish--again. I've seen marriage proposals, wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, bar- bat- and probably some other sort of -mitzfahs that I don't even know about yet. I've hung out with movie stars.
In the immortal words of Han Solo: "Sorry about the mess."
I'm excited to make this next move. Its like a first taste of entrepreneurial life all over again. Except this time I feel like I've had lasik surgery. Or fallen into a vat of radioactive waste to gain some weird super power. Or grown somewhere. Or something...I love these people. They have helped to guide me in the direction of an amazing future. Riccardo, Gaspare, Elena, Damien, Emanuele, Carlos, Beto, Abram, Porfirio, Antonio, Domingo, Lucas, el Perdido, los Crudos...ha!... Ellen, Mike, Suheyla, Kelly, Ever, Camilo, Lazo, all of the slightly homosexual 'coffee station guys' from Aurora. Irene, Nadia, Rebecca. Frans. That's just Aurora...I don't have pictures of them:(
Frans was the transition, he took my place at Aurora so I could take on the pizzeria. Marcus greeted me smiling in the doorway on my first day. I'm sure of it. How could you not love this face:
The yin to his interminable yang: Miryam, Theresa, Anais, Joan, Jackie, Laura, Roxanne, Aisha, Hannah, Fulvia, Danielle, Lena...Valkyries all. The first time I've really gotten on well with FOH. Chemma, Miguel, CJ, TJ, Bruno, Diego, Sasselli, Mike, Alan, Khaled, Mohammed, Imed, Giuseppe (thought I'd slip that one in on the sly *wink*), Jose, Daniel, Mark, Corey, et alii.
|joie de vivre|
|the grill section|
Riccardo has a gift for creating a crew. Its the most valuable lesson I've learned yet. These guys are a frikkin machine, capable of far more than they even know. Lanfranco, Joel, Bayro, Chaco, Eliseo, "Brian", Pedro, Angel-Samuel, Angel , Juan, Edwin, Lusiano, Daniele, Miguel, Danny, Epifano, Alejandro, Frans. My sanity belongs to them. They are the ones that keep this vessel of mad pirates afloat. They are the crew of the S.S. Baraonda. We make the magic happen. Thank y'all.
|the magic of Bayro|