- Colin Barclay
THE SPECIAL PEPPER
I've been fortunate enough to work alongside some truly amazing chefs in all sorts of different environments. One that sticks out is (Let’s call him Jacque for the sake of anonymity). Jacque was a chef in a 3 Michelin starred restaurant in Paris before he came over to the states on a contract. He and the owner of that 3 star were hired to re-create a restaurant in the US.
My interview lasted two weeks and I hated it from day 1, but I did love working next to Jacque on the line. He would lean over at the most odd times and crack jokes and say no to customer's requests and freak out on occasion when we couldn’t understand his thick accent. He was, and still is a truly phenomenal chef.
One night after Jacque had left for the evening we were cleaning up and I spilled a good bit of his favorite spice. He had this stuff shipped in from France on a regular basis and I'd watch him sit there and smell it, and look at it, and chuckle a little...mildly creepy, but I understood. This is lovely until you spill a bunch of it. I knew it was special but then I saw the look on everyone’s face when that stuff hit the floor, and I quickly realized this was far worse than I thought.
This kitchen was basically never quite, and you could hear a pin drop while all this special pepper just lay there ruined. Before I or anyone else could really say anything, one of the waitresses jumped in - "I'm just going to tell him that it was me..." She was Jacque's girlfriend.