Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Spanish Boots.....

Onwards in the world of haute cuisine....or Alta Cocina.

Bitter, depressed IM's and phone messages from Brendan at Mugaritz. Weekday business is slow, and they do big weddings on the weekend. Andoni is out of town, and the Basques have the run of the place. The wedding food is utter shite. Stale, boring, possibly fermented.

Plus, the Basques have attitude to the foreign workers: "Hurry up! Hurry up! You are too slow!" This is while they are doing 14 dinners. With 30 chefs in the back. Brendan takes extra seconds to make his dishes absolutely perfect.....and takes the heat. It is like soccer, once again. When skilled white boys play with a Mexican team they will almost never get a pass. They can dish off over and over again, set the brothers up perfectly, and get no respect.....for a while. Eventually, the Latinos realize the value of cooperation and get over it. This is not random is for good reason: there are very few skilled white boys, after all.....and god save a Mexican on a white team.......

Brendan almost walked out on Saturday over the prawns for a wedding. Even us, at pathetic groveling AMF always try to remove the entire tail shell of the prawns.....leaving just the flipper meat and no shell. It doesn't always work....seasonally the shells are too soft or too bound to the meat, but we always try.

Of course, the idiot guests STILL throw out the tails......because.......??? It is Shrimp Ass meat?? Because they always throw out the tails? Because they are too stupid and self-absorbed to realize we have taken the shells off for them?

Failing removal of the tail shells, we peel the REST of the shell and leave the tail shells....which the guests will throw out anyway. At least it looks like a prawn. Mugaritz they just rip off the whole tail structure. Trust me....if you are at an event and are offered a prawn with the tail ripped off....put down your plastic glass of chablis, and back out of the double-wide, get in your pickup truck and drive away.

Brendan dug in and was carefully removing the tail shells. I mean, the guests were eating in a Michelin one-star restaurant, and paying more than 100 euros per guest. The Basques ragged him hard.

The next day was Sunday, and a busy day in the restaurant proper. Busy enough for Andoni to show up. The Basques continued gerning Brendan for taking too much time on his dishes. Andoni overheard and freaked. He blasted the Basques, called over his partner and his chef and gathered around Brendan's station. They all patted him on the back and blasted the Basques again. Just then the press showed up, so Andoni took interviews at Brendan's station. The result was: Brendan on the front page of the Sunday Metrolino section of the Madrid paper. Wow. No bitterness among the Basques about that! Oh, no. Clear sailing on the job site from here on out. You betcha.

After the interview, Andoni bought Brendan a drink and gave him the rest of the day off. He went out to the garden and kicked back. Ahhh......the herbs. Ahhh......the flowers. Ahhh......two hot Columbian chicks grab Brendan, stuff him into a Mercedes limo and off they go. ''Kidnapping is an old traditon in our country.....It happens all the time!" Great.

Champagne flows......Brendan tries to escape. More champagne. The limo is going to Barcelona, don't you know. Eventually, Brendan convinces the girls to let him out....with 200 km of cab fare.

My Sunday was not exactly like that. How about yours?


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