Blind-Sided While in Motion...

This night will definitely go down in my history book of "cooking memoirs" as one odd freakin experience. There have been a few here and there, and surely some that are not even mentionable on my blog,(at least while I have young kids that can read it) that can be chalked up to what this crazy, damn, f*d-up biz can hold for you. It was on course for a great night of cooking...nothing too crazy in our reservation line up. Special menus ready. Staff in place. New flavor combinations and plating ideas to be unleashed. A chef's table for two~easy money! An amuse sent-(dungenss crab, mango, avocado and yuzu sabayon served in an egg shell) Cool enough. We ventured into our first course with plenty of normal conversation~ rabbit confit and bucatini terrine, fava bean tapenade, lemon creme fraiche, white asparagus-sweet cicely salad, mostarda...buzz starting. I should have seen it coming as we rolled into our second course, but yet I was blind. Something was off. Sweet Louisiana Shrimp, Pea Risotto, Duck Prosciutto, Preserved Lemon Tempura, Lemon Leaf Essence made for a nice foil for the culinary emotions that lay ahead. Signs were there...the monster was coming. We all were not paying attention like we should have. A wonderful Citrus Smoked Catfish dish with Creamy Bacon Mashed Potatoes, Golden Beets, Morels, a Porcini Syrup and PX Vinaigrette made sure to distract us from signs of the inevitable while we poured our thoughts and minds into the intermezzo. Ugliness was forthcoming and we didn't even know it. What seemed to be a nice refreshing palate cleanser of Summer Melon, Peppered Honey Gelee, Rose Geranium Syrup, Pistachios, Murray River Salt and Honeydew Melon Ice didn't even come close! By now, it was clear that there was something in the air that was not right. A bad vibe. An intuitiveness that told us that something was clearly bizarre, and yet, still, we were blind to it. Why? No signs of heavy abuse. No swaggering. No knocking over glasses and slurring of speech. No excessive and exaggerated laughing and carrying on as one would expect at some shitty frat party. No vulgarity. No real signs of anything. We forged ahead with the meat course of Crisp-Skinned Muscovy Duck Breast, Quinoa, Seared Foie Gras, Grilled Porcinis, Sweet Corn Coulis, Peas and Douglas Fir Sauce. That was it! The dish pushed aside. A bleak look on their face. Nothing but emptiness and that numbing stare before one gets sick. Yak! Hurl! Spew! The tone changed in a blink of an eye from that of excitement, passion, drive, ambition, desire, fulfillment, and sheer devotion to food to one of solemn, shock and desolation. Wiped out of all emotion, with the exception of disbelief, we(the cooks) were done. The party was over. We didn't even get to finish cooking the meal. Was it the wine? Was it the richness of the food? Something they ate earlier? Who knows? As we stared at each other in amazement and utter perplexedness as to what we just witnessed, we finished service as best as we could while stewards cleaned the mess. I felt so sorry for them, both the guests and the stewards. They had come to experience something great, didn't get to finish, and only ended up with an unfortunate occurrence. I only wish them a more favorable experience the next time they come to dine with us, and hope they feel better in the morning! What a night to remember...and forget!


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