Thursday, November 10, 2005

Spanish Fly Away

Brendan escaped from Spain on Tuesday. Dinners at The Mug were down to two and three during the week, lunches the same. This is with 30 hot chefs in the back....chomping at the bit to show their stuff, and stabbing each other in the back to get the opportunity. Literally. Stabbing.

Everyone of the 30 chefs wants to move to California. Including the main support chef, Paco. Just because Brendan is owner of a restaurant in California, Paco decided he was moving and gave notice. This, of course made Brendan's position impossible: main chef kissing his ass for a job, all the buddies trying to kill him for the attention. And, on top.....Paco is a dick. The guy has time at El Bulli and at the Guggenheim, and knows everything about Mugaritz, but........He bailed on El Bulli early to get the Mugaritz job, and now is bailing early on Mugaritz to get the job at......The Cachagua Store?

We did hook him up with Walter at Bouchée in Carmel....but that may be passive-aggressive on our part. We are still pissed about the wine chick from a year ago........Another story. Good luck, Paco.

The good down-side of this adventure is Brendan wading into the incredible pool of talent sloshing around Europe, working for free. These kids are the fuel that is feeding the amazing European culinary machine. They have the skills, and are like honeybees cross-fertilizing all the kitchens of Spain, France and England with new ideas and new skills.

And they all want to come to California. And they are used to working for free.

Not just for the babes......George Bush's ruinous economic, social and foreign policies are finally hitting even Europe. Business is down. The American middle class that fueled a significant portion of culinary discretionary spending is getting hammered by the Hummer in Chief. You can shoot a cannonball through many of the best restaurants and hotels in Europe and not hit a client. Even Prague, with 70,000 ex-pats....and 7 million visitors each on the ropes. It is a buyers market if you want to open a restaurant......or hire a hot, young chef.

Call me.


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