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the glass brasserie – a review of events.

Looking at a man working is not a matter for self criticism when he’s onstage and under the lights in one of those lookatthechef establishments. Where once you had to peek into little slots in the fence to watch a construction process, now the best kitchens put their workers cooks tradesmen chefs up as entertainment. This is judged good value by some.

– and sometimes it gets ugly.

Here is Mr. Luke Mangan at the door of his lookatthechef kitchen the other day. He has a knife. He is also conveying an ambivalent attitude; either that or someone has convinced him to pose in front of his Brasserie kitchen with a sneer, and a big knife.

Mr. Mangan. The knife, the look.

We will begin gently here with a memorable Wednesday lunch at The Hilton and nothing to do for the rest of the afternoon but wander over to the lobby of the The Sheraton On The Park and look at the twenty or so Hermes’ models come and go in and out a few times. That’s about 40 bare legs in the vision every go-by, and nobody dared look higher. Nearly nobody, for the girls wear nearly nothing.

They had the soft chatter of women twice their like and number. Later they clustered at the Hermes door on Elizabeth street to be let in only 5 at a time, a mist of essences – inside the fizz of Champagne and murmur of low conversation. Whispers of fabric, flashlight pops. Not an un-georgeous person in the room.

it is a commonly held belief amongst men in the construction industry that if you secure a permanent spot  on the town hall steps

on every windy day at  lunchtime – watching the girls go by  – you will score a complete de-frock.

Chardonnay by the bottle please, and not too chilled. In flutes if you will.

back to it ..

Working in the Mangan kitchen was an employee muster of about 18, men and women, all gliding about and all silent. Except for the two lads in charge. The Big Quiet Bloke and his Noisy little Mate. To our left a tawny youth doing precious little and a dark-haired little warrior princess putting together the fishboards with netted lemon half plus chips never fries, plus salad and a small beer from Cecil at the table $20 – The Deal. Serviettes you could take home, use as a towel.

Up the back was a guy who appeared in all the Capone movies, the Sicilian Silent Knifer. He was doing the chip orders. Slipping up through everybody like a cobra. Sliding the small bowl of chips onto the counter-top. Slipping away. Two women at the same preparation table working too fast to talk to each other, their heads down low and everything placed, never put.

But it was the big quiet guy and his noisy little mate who held the show together. Mr. Mangan himself called by from time to time, after all he wrote the show, produced it and he’s the one taking home the gross. Therefore no need to be at station every day, LM is a very busy super-chef – this you don’t even have to ask him.

Ten years of boat-yard experience and having to share every one of those days with a very noisy little bloke who we will call Mark Evans makes me an impeccable observer of a short-arsed noisy minor (aka the little noisy bloke) at work. Evans could levitate with rage, he had to if he wanted to look you in the eye. Pity he could never see the humour of the situation. Same with this fellow here.

The waiters insert their table orders up into the shelfslot at the chef’s eye-level and Noisy rips them down one by one, stares at them the way a man stares at a ransom note – and he immediately starts shouting at the nearest three people, collectively. Decisively. He takes another order and barks rapidly at the Sicilian Silent Knifer. Every food order excites an impatient anger in him and he bristles away at the prepared food before it goes to the tables. He snatches away this or that with great disgust. A tea-towel offends him, it is hurled away. He glances over at me. I’m laughing at him, he is not at all amused.

All down to  Luke Mangan  – good sport that bloke.

Excellent lunch.

{applause}

– and great show.

head pic the glass brassiere

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. “… the way a man stares at a ransom note”

    Wonderful!

    March 11, 2012
  2. Pete, I am not too sure about which is the more menacing – that look in the chef’s eyes or the knife lurking down below . . .

    March 12, 2012
  3. Red Ted #

    the look and knife are for the waiter…. who changed the chicken for the beef at the corporate luncheon … throwing the table order out of sync…. leaving a chagrined headwaiterperson confused…. anticipating the dole queue

    March 12, 2012
  4. Went back to a little Italian restaurant called Filicudes in Fivedock, got into their kitchen as well and gave Maria some cheek – she cooks the scampi, but she would NOT pose with a knife.
    But that’s ok, the big guy in the bar with the scars was more than happy to.

    March 12, 2012

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