Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Chez Fabulovna

There were some comments on yesterday's bistro post referring to my opening a restaurant called "Fabulovna". Which made me laugh.

Then last night, during a production meeting about Here's the 80s (and how we're going to start a Viacom boycott because they suck) JP asked, "Did you ever go to culinary school?"

I laughed.

"So where did you learn all that stuff about cooking?" he asked.

"Watching TV," I said. Which isn't the whole truth of course but it's part of it. I learned from Dame Judi, I took home ec classes in high school, I watched Graham Kerr and Julia Child. But mostly I just learned by doing. I like good food, so I learned how to make it. Pretty simple really. Add to that the fact that I live in a city full of good restaurants, that I had some spectacular meals in France and I was fortunate enough to marry someone who likes good food, cooks well himself and enjoys entertaining as much as I do and there you go.

But JP wasn't done. He'd been thinking about this. "Did you ever think about going to culinary school? Like in a few years when The Child is out of the house and you've got the time? Because you're half way there...it would be the easiest educational experience ever".

And I thought that was adorable. The man hasn't even eaten anything I've cooked. (Though he been promised fried okra with tomato marmalade someday). And here he was, based on a few pictures, telling me I should go to school, become a chef and open my own restaurant.

So I told him what I'm now going to tell you. Not. I've been in the restaurant business. It's grueling. A restaurant kitchen is the most stressful place on the planet. And I don't cook to get stressed out. I expect all the fun would be sucked out of it inside of a week.

This is not to say that The Spouse and I haven't occasionally talked about it. He was in the restaurant biz for 20 years. We understand what we'd be getting into. Which is why the conversations never go very far. Forget about the astronomically high rate at which new restaurants fail. It's hard work. Hard work on evenings and weekends. We'd never entertain again. And we like entertaining. And so we quickly shelve ideas of prix fixe menus and return to planning parties.

There is a circumstance under which I'd open a restaurant. This involves falling into a bucket of money, so that we wouldn't actually have to make anything off the restaurant. And it also involves having a restaurant somewhere other than America. Because my idea of a perfect restaurant is like some of those I've read about in Peter Mayle's Provence books: an out of the way old house, run by a husband and wife...she cooks, he waits tables and pours wine. Or the other way around. And people go there for the food, they eat whatever the chef feels like making that day and they wait to be served. And they go away happy. The notion of cranking out 100 dinners a night for a bunch of people who are on their way to the theater, not so much.

But JP seemed stuck on the idea. "Well, what if you moved to Stars Hallow and the Dragonfly Inn was being sold and Sookie St. James didn't want to cook anymore because she had, like, a bazillion kids? Because then it could be exactly the sort of restaurant you want and you could cook all this beautiful food and buy excellent produce from um, from your husband who would start growing produce..."

"Because Jackson had to quit farming because he had, like, a bazillion kids".

"Exactly," he continued. "And so then I could move to Stars Hallow, too, and I could, um, play 80s videos and Sling could be the bartender (do you think he really was a bartender? Because some of those drink specials he comes up with are really exact. I mean, I've spent a lot of time in bars and all I know is "Bud Light") but anyway, we could all live in Stars Hallow and war with Taylor all the time and it would be totally great".

And I told him that yes, if the Dragonfly Inn was suddenly available and Stars Hallow was a real place and we suddenly found ourselves living in the midst of "Gilmore girls" then sure, I'd have a restaurant.

And, by the way, should that ever happen tiaras will be mandatory at Chez Fabulovna.

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Blogger jp opined...

Wow. You recalled that entire conversation word for word. Now I'm scared.

February 06, 2007 9:16 AM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Yeah, except the parts that I just made up because I couldn't remember what you said.

February 06, 2007 9:18 AM  
Blogger Eric opined...

Correction I worked in restraunts for about 10 years

February 06, 2007 9:32 AM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Then why do you always say you worked in restaurants for 20 years, hmmmm? Whatever, Mr. Stickler McSticklerson. (Which, btw, is a lot easier to type than to say. Try it).

February 06, 2007 9:43 AM  
Blogger Red7Eric opined...

So no restaurant in your future -- but you could hire yourself out as a caterer of sorts. When someone in Seattle who is fabulous in every way except the culinary way wants to throw a fabulous party, there you are in the kitchen whipping up fabulous meals in a little white apron. Sort of what Carrie Fisher and Dianne Weist did in Hannah & Her Sisters. You could limit the amount of jobs you take per month so you don't get sick of it, and you could charge your clients up the wazoo. I think it's a good idea; if I could cook, I'd do it myself.

February 06, 2007 12:27 PM  
Blogger rosemary opined...

I would waitress/hostess and wear a tiara....I always thought I was a princess underneath my sweats and no bra.....I wouldn't want much $$$ unless that bucket was really, really deep.

February 06, 2007 12:53 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Hello? Red, were you not paying attention? Stress? Working evenings and weekends and thus not being able to entertain myself? Not in the game plan, babe.

February 06, 2007 12:54 PM  
Blogger jLow opined...

Dusting off my tiara - - and since there apparently is going to be no Chez Fabulovna in the near future, I guess I will just have to wear it to Olive Garden.

(EEEE-gads! the horror!!)

February 06, 2007 2:16 PM  
Blogger JessnBekahsmom opined...

Okay, no restaurant, but considering how many people visit Seattle, how about a bed and breakfast? Dinner could be arranged/reserved in advance. And B&B's can have as few or as many guests as you want. As often or as infrequently as you like. Maybe only during the summer? Call it Dinner and a Movie or something catchy or romantic. That would be my idea of a good way to use your talents. Just a thought...

Check out A Snug Harbor Inn at http://www.awesomeview.com/ It is in Ucluelet on Vancouver Island. We stayed there once and I will never forget it.

February 06, 2007 3:46 PM  
Blogger Iwanski opined...

I will happily eat there, but I will NOT wear a tiara.

February 06, 2007 4:21 PM  
Blogger Sling opined...

There are some few things I do for pleasure that I would NEVER do for a living,(legitimate stuff,I mean),it would suck all the joy out of it.
I kind of agree with the whole catering idea.That way,you could pick and choose.
...and yes,I was the lead bartender at the Lake Arrowhead Hilton Lodge,in lake Arrowhead Cali. from '87 to '90..A couple of hours from L.A.,we catered to a buttload of celebrities...I try to keep the recipes authentic to the 80's,(although I may change the names to suit the theme)...just sayin' .. :)

February 06, 2007 6:15 PM  
Blogger Pamelamama opined...

lorraine, you are funny and brilliant and amazing.

February 06, 2007 8:48 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Jlow: Long live the tiara!

JBM: You are NOT paying attention. I don't want to work on the weekends! (Although, sure, if a bucket of money were involved...)

Ok, Iwanski, but you are the only one who gets an exemption. And that's only if MHP wears two.

Ha! I knew it, Sling! (And catering? Puleeze).

Pamalamama, This from the woman who crocheted a robot.

February 06, 2007 10:03 PM  
Blogger gina opined...

Is working in restaurants a mandatory part of a baby boomer's growing up experience? I worked in them for, like, a gazillion years before moving here. No, don't even cater. You're right. It would take all the fun out of cooking. But if you ever did open Chez Fabulovna in Star Hallow, I think rosemary would make the perfect waitress, Sling the perfect bartender, jp the perfect hostess, er, host, and the rest of us, the perfect guests, all in tiaras!

February 07, 2007 8:03 AM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Gina, Thank heaven. Someone who gets the horrors of catering. I think I'd rather eat my own arm. With cream sauce of course. But the Stars Hallow concept...I'm all over that.

February 07, 2007 8:44 AM  
Blogger Alan opined...

Ooooh! Open your restaurant in Aix En Provence, please! We can go to Marsailles to get fresh seafood and ogle the French fishermen guy dudes.

Oops. I think I just invited myself along for the ride. I'd be a great waiter! I promise!

Okay, fine. A busboy. Whatever.

Let me know when we're leaving. It won't take me long to pack.

February 07, 2007 9:19 AM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Alan, darling, I think you should be the host, don't you?

February 07, 2007 9:20 AM  
Blogger Red7Eric opined...

Okay, okay ... one party, every other month. And you only work for your friends, so it feels like entertaining, anyway (and then they pay you).

February 07, 2007 9:34 AM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Red, Maybe I should just put out a tip jar at parties...

February 07, 2007 9:36 AM  
Blogger Dariush Alavi opined...

I know exactly what you mean. I love food and I love cooking, and every now and then someone decides to flatter my efforts with a well-intentioned, "You should have become a chef," to which my initial (silent) reaction is always, 'No. This is something I want to leave at the 'doing it 'cause I enjoy it' phase.

February 07, 2007 11:40 AM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Exactly, Dariush. I know the whole "do what you love and the money will follow" thing has validity but there's a big difference to me between cooking for people I love and cooking for strangers.

Have you ever seen "Mostly Martha"? Where she comes out of the kitchen to yell at customers who have the termerity to complain about how a dish is prepared? That would so be me.

February 07, 2007 11:56 AM  

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