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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Two chefs at the pass

(If you are reading this post on a RSS reader, you might want to click through to Chez Pim for the slideshow.)
Alain Passard was at Manresa this past weekend to cook with David -three dinners for very lucky people who managed to call within 45 minutes of the announcement and got their tables. Three dinners, sixty covers at each one, sold out in less than an hour. The man is a rock star.

I got to hang out with said star this weekend. Yeah, now you can hate me even more. Heh. Or perhaps not, because I took lots of photos so I could share the experience with you. So, hate me a little less perhaps?

Here's the first set in a series. I call at 'At the pass'. The shots were taken around the area called the pass in the kitchen. Hence the name. Yep, quite creative, me.

'The pass' is shorten from the word le passage in French, meaning the way. It's the area where the assembling and final plating take place before the plates leave the kitchen and land on your table. It's where the chef usually stands and keeps watch -unless (s)he has a TV show, or another restaurant in Vegas. The pass is always full of action, where the orders are laid out so that the chef can juggle the firing and plating orders like playing a deft game of solitaire.

As the night progresses and the kitchen gets busier, tension builds up until the air is so taut you can cut it with a knife. The heat lamp -there mostly for the plates and not the food, this is not the Mac Do- illuminates the pass so that it's so bright I almost always overexpose my shots. It's where the fun is, but it's also very difficult to photograph. So forgive me if these photos are not so great, but I love the atmosphere and intensity that they've managed to capture.


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