Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The moonlighting celebrity chef

I guess it's sort of like Dylan cutting a few tracks with George Harrison, or Eminem dropping in on a Dr. Dre album: I have confirmed at least two cases of celebrity chefs dropping in for cameos at other restaurants.

Or maybe they just needed the money?

The first one I heard about was Bradley Ogden at Izzy's Steaks in Corte Madera, not sure if it's converting to something else because it's no longer on the main Izzy's website. Anyway, one of the managing partners there explained to me that Bradley was a personal friend who dropped in to chat with the staff and perhaps lend some advice and instruction. (His appearence had caused some strange rumors I had called to check on.)

The other was George Morrone, who I had been told was moonlighting at Michael Mina over the holiday break when his own Novato restaurant was closed. When I later talked to Mina on something else, he confirmed that Morrone does work in his kitchen from time to time.

I guess it makes me more optimistic, as a diner, about those occasions when the executive chef isn't working in the kitchen. After all, you can't assume the replacement chef has less experience that the regular chef. He might have trained the executive chef!

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V Smoothe said...

Having actually been in a kitchen with Morrone, I can assure you that the farther away he is from your food, the better it is for you.

I am curious about your conclusion, though. I don't really understand why it should matter at all to the diner whether or not the executive chef is in the kitchen on any given night.

January 11, 2007 11:32 AM  
Ryan said...

Quite a dig on Morrone. ;->

My instinct is that the executive chef is there to keep standards tight, making adjustments and critiques to what the other chefs and line cooks are doing. And I'd rather be there when he's doing that fine tuning than when he's not there to do it.

Counterpoints to that are welcome here, of course.

January 12, 2007 11:40 AM  

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