No, I’m not drowning in some self-afflicted pool of despair – that is not why I haven’t posted in eons. Quite the opposite, I am now the Executive Corporate Chef (official title: Culinary Arts Director!) for 5 restaurants with one brand spanking new location on the horizon and I am so krayzay busy I don’t even know where to begin. A whole novel has come and gone in just three months!
My writing time has been cut slightly in favor of ending the 12-hour work day with a glass of wine in front of the tele completely vegged out – if not comatose – and yes, my bucolic days of whipping up farm-to-table dinners along the coast are simmering on the back burner but not yet completely put out to pasture. I still have events and workshops to choppy-chop my way through before the farm season comes to a close. Quite a different world to be back in high volume restaurants from the fields I’ve luxuriously lounged in over the last four years.
And you know what, I couldn’t be happier, I have the best of both worlds!
I never thought that by marrying a Persian man that I would end up cooking for one of America’s most notable Persian Chefs. But there I was at Faz restaurant in Danville over a year ago, holding my wedding reception (a year after marriage – we eloped) with 200 Persian relatives and friends dancing, drinking, throwing our hands up in the air, feasting on Persian cuisine and, well, that’s where it all started…
I didn’t meet Faz that glorious evening although he saw us take over the patio in style from the comfort of the restaurant that surrounds the outdoor patio. Yes, I suppose we were quite the spectacle for all the other non-wedding guests and I’m pretty sure many of them ended up on our dance floor towards the end of the evening attempting to learn some of the hip rolling and wrist writhing movements from my in-laws. Persians know how to party and by culture are a warm and generous people who make everyone feel welcome.
It wasn’t until this Easter, when my inlaws invited us to Faz in Danville again for brunch that I met the legendary Chef Faz Poursohi. He came to our table to meet n’ greet and my mother-in-law introduced us in Farci. It was one of those conversations where you don’t understand what’s going on until you hear….. “blah, blah, blah, blah, CHEF, blah, blah, blah”…
I turned a deep shade of crimson considering I was nursing my second mimosa and totally unprepared for the intro and the interview which proceeded. But Faz, turned his attention to me and immediately demanded my credentials, resume, blog and email address. And to be honest, I just felt like the whole word sort of melted away and I was already back in the saddle with the: yes Chef, no Chef, of course Chef, It would be a pleasure Chef…
Let me honest here, Chef Faz is very impressive. He is Persian, tall, handsome, always outfitted in a freshly pressed chef’s jacket, and direct yet warm with effusive positive energy. His passion for food, people and the hospitality business is contagious. He is very much like the other two impressive Chefs I have worked for: Guy Savoy and Eric Ripert although his style and philosophy are worlds apart but his tireless work ethic, love of beautiful seasonal products, and 30 years plus of success are the same.
I wasn’t really expecting this little introduction to go anywhere but to my surprise it did. Over several lunches, in which Chef Faz brought me to his various locations, fed me, and talked with me about food, style and vision did I realize that this could actually be my dream job. To work as Chef Faz’s right hand and help to execute a new menu vision across the board is incredible.
Not to mention creating our product line, opening new restaurants and being part of the design process, as well as training and hiring staff and working with executive Chefs to create standards – oh and redesigning the wines as well. Oh, and working on our cookbook that is basically an anthology of Persian cooking. Yeah, kind of exciting.
I’ll save my “Lunches with Faz” for another post because these meetings were filled with restaurant stories and growing up in Iran and I found myself inhaling food and scribbling down notes all at the same.
The excitement of all these fun things can seem almost impossible in reality. Restaurants are constantly evolving and some are more successful than others and different kitchen cultures present different problems and I’m a few years out of the loop but I have missed this so much and I couldn’t be more excited to be back behind the line creating and teaching and doing what I do best.
I’m lovin’ it, and I have so many amazing recipes and stories to share… stay tunned for the Wonderful World of Faz!