Ginger Rogers famously said of Fred Astaire, “I did everything he did, but backwards and in high heels,” which pretty much sums up the difference between chef and chef/owner. I pondered this as I stood on the top step of a ten foot ladder, reaching forward three feet while twisting to the left to apply another layer of matte medium to a corner pane. Around this time my phone rang, and I half-turned to pull it from my back pocket. I felt like a contortionist. My back would be unhappy with me later.
(Chefs, more than any profession except perhaps athletes, tend to ignore the effects of the passage of time on their bodies’ capabilities, until the evidence, a carefully collected assortment of nagging injuries and aching joints, becomes too overwhelming. Because they start so young, they become accustomed to their bodies being loyal, obedient and indefatigable employees, which is largely how they’re treated. Somewhere around the mid-thirties there evolves a lengthy and bitter fight between spirit and corporal body, which sooner or later the body inevitably wins. After that the interaction between mind and flesh becomes a series of terse exchanges between two distrustful and occasionally vengeful equals.)
“Daniel. It’s Dick. I hope I didn’t catch you at a bad time.”