Thursday, March 01, 2007

Behaving like a Julio-Claudian

March 1

Last night Sean Griffin was cooking at the Beard House. He’s chef de cuisine at Neros Steak & Seafood (no apostrophe) at Caesars Palace (no apostrophe there, either) in Las Vegas. I was sandwiched between the Beard House’s president, Susan Ungaro, and Kenneth Langdon, the director of PR for Caesars Entertainment. A woman on maternity leave from Star Chefs was seated next to Susan, and she showed us pictures of her beautiful four-month-old twins. She expressed some concern that beautiful babies often grow up into rather homely teenagers, and vice-versa. I consoled her with the fact that beautiful teenagers that become the high school quarterback and cheerleader tend to peak at around age 17 anyway.
Ken was his high school’s quarterback.
Susan was a cheerleader.
Potentially awkward, but we had a good laugh.
The next day Sean and Ken were scheduled to meet me in NRN’s offices for an interview at 11 a.m. They were just 10 minutes late, which is pretty good considering our offices are at 425 Park Avenue and they showed up 30 blocks away at 425 Park Avenue South.
They greeted me with their coffee cups in hand and Sean, who the night before was a handsome, enthusiastic young southern Californian, was a worn-out, green-skinned man who didn’t take off his coat.
Oh, I knew that feeling. He looked like he’d been out drinking all night, which it turns out he had been. He and his crew went from cooking dinner to eating at Babbo, to drinking at Mas, to further drinking at a jazz club the name of which he couldn’t remember. He said he got back to his hotel room and then got ready to meet with me. His wine director was still in bed.
Very much to his credit, although he clearly wanted to lie down, he instead discussed in great detail the preparation of the pork shoulder dish he serves at Neros, which fits in very well with a story that I'm working on. By the end he was practically alert.
Their meeting with me was to be followed by lunch at Le Bernardin, so I don't really feel that bad for Sean. He’ll be fine.

What he served at the Beard House:

Kumamoto oysters with verjus gelée and steelhead trout roe
Blue crab and Maine lobster cakes with blood orange aïoli and hearts of palm
Seared foie gras slilders with port-braised rhubarb and candied ging

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