The last international trip I took on behalf of the record company I used to work for, a week before I left my job, was to Lisbon. I had never visited Lisbon before so I decided to stay an extra day and explore the city before heading back to the States.
Yesterday I walked in a restaurant kitchen for a training session and the first thing I noticed was that, among the cooks, there were no girls: a common state of affairs until a few years ago, but things are changing. Women are more and more present in professional kitchens, holding their own, and no longer relegated to pastry only.
Last week, I had the great pleasure of starting a brief stint in the old kitchen where I worked for eight years, a job I left right when Campari and Sofa was born. Two and half years later, it was a bit surprising and very heart-warming to see how little had changed, how certain habits fit like your old favorite shoes.
A million years ago I used to stay in a hotel called the Principe di Savoia in Milan. It was (and probably still is) a very regal, proper hotel. With the most wonderful bar/lounge where they had real barmen who poured old-fashioned cocktails and would never have dreamt of throwing bottles around a la Tom Cruise in Cocktail. There was always a piano player, an elderly man – who told me he had played “with Important Orchestras in Each of the Important Capitals of the World”. The Principe would never have considered piped music. People behaved with decorum, there were sofas to sink into and the rococo decor always made me smile. You could exhale at the Principe.
I’m a huge fan of “Top Chef” – the US TV show that pits proper chefs (rather than Master Chef’s home cooks) against each other. And has other proper chefs…
Did you ever read Pinocchio when you were a child? Did your parents ever threaten your nose would grow at your first lie? And I mean the real Pinocchio, not the Disney-ized version with the cuddly and not so woody puppet, and the grandfatherly Geppetto, but the original fairy tale by Tuscan author Carlo Collodi, which was much darker, as if written in anger: as my friend Luisa likes to point out, the tale runs the gamut of death, threats, lies and punishment, enough to terrorize a poor child for decades to come.
Every holiday has a hump day. That ‘everybody is irritating the shit out of me’ day. Where the allure of being away from home, on tour, on holiday, on a honeymoon or business trip has dissipated. It’s the day where everyone’s excitement whaps up against the reality of their surroundings or companions and each starts to miss their familiar. Its adrenalin fatigue. Its overtiredness. The anticipation has gone, reality has set in and the bleh spills out.