Tuesday, October 7, 2008


(the flat top)
I've had my fair share of, "wtf was I thinking" moments at Lacroix. Like the time my pan for my water bath for the potato gratin was too small, and I spilled much water, along with much cream while trying to take it out of the oven. Or the time I was making croutons, and burnt the bread, got some new bread, cut it into croutons, then burnt them again. Or maybe the time I was making the vinaigrette for the night's service, and though I had made the same vinaigrette at home many times before, it broke just before service. The list goes on.

Last Saturday I was helping prep for the "Matthew's Salad." I was to char tomatillos and corn. I grabbed some tomatillos which I quartered, then seasoned with salt, pepper and olive oil. I charred these in the center of the flat-top, moving them around with a fish spatula. I then grabbed 8 ears of corn, and cut them off the cob. I seasoned these, grabbed my spatula, then plopped them on the flat top. They started off silently, pop pop, and I barely took notice. Pop Pop, I began to contemplate the origin of the sound. POP! POP! wow, we got a problem here. I checked to make sure I wasn't Orville Redenbacher then decided I didn't want popcorn. The popping continued, only now it was more frequent and vigorous POP! POP! POP! POP! I was getting stares from all over the kitchen. I tried as best I could to move the corn to the edge of the flat top, but the kernels slipped through the perforated fish spat. "I think I just got hit with a piece of corn" someone said. Someone was cracking up behind me, I ignored it. By now I was getting THE STARE, from one chef. If you don't work at Lacroix, you don't know what I'm talking about, but if you do, let's hold hands and sing Kum by yah, cause you understand. I've gotten THE STARE, throughout my time at Lacroix, and it is never a good thing. Like an anvil cloud to a sailor, it looms down on you, foreboding, dangerous and terrifying. The storm just ahead, you anticipate the lightning strike. I glanced over, he shook his head in disappointment. The simple head motion was worse than a yell. He wasn't mad, he was just disappointed. He could have yelled all he wanted, and it wouldn't have made as big an impact. The shake of a head signified shame, lack of potential, inability. He came over, not yelling, nor screaming, and told me that next time, I grill the corn before cutting it off the cob. He grabbed a dough scraper and cleared the rest of the corn from the flat-top, and placed it in a bowl.

(former Matthew's salad)
"Damn, I screwed up," I thought. I felt like Desean Jackson when he dropped the football before reaching the end zone, a few weeks ago. Deep in shame, I quickly thought to myself, "what do most people do when they're sad and upset? They eat!" I dropped a hand and grabbed a few kernels from the bowl. "Hey! these actually taste pretty damn good!


CHEF said...

Damn....... I sorry, Nick. I couldn't help but laugh. I saw a video of your ordeal playing in my head as I was reading it. It may not be funny now, but it will be. You will have this and so much more "crap-hitting the fan" stories to tell as you progress along. Someday, it may be you giving the "Stare."

Nick N said...

yea its actually quite funny now that i think about it.