Saturday, April 18, 2015

Per Se Kitchen Tour: Loose in the Labyrinth


After three and a half hours of artful food, copious drink and meticulous hospitality, my friends and I were offered a tour of the Per Se kitchen.  Considering our state, we damn near peed ourselves at the invitation. 

Here’s why: Per Se is one of the top restaurants in the country.  It has two Michelin stars and is currently considered #30 in the world.  This is the type of place for the rich, famous and spoiled.   We were just a couple of girls saving our pennies for the chance at a unique experience.

With out a doubt, we must thank our pal Elwyn Boyles, head pastry chef, for the VIP treatment, but I suspect that our genuine appreciation for hard work and friendly attitudes had some role in getting us through those doors.

Inside we were greeted by a bustling throng of masculinity.  Don't get me wrong there were a few women in there too, but the testosterone of the whole situation was hard to ignore- Heeeeeeeeeeeeeey! 

 The scene was less Gordan Ramsey Hell kitchen and more beehive, but the interesting thing is that within just a few steps, we turned the corner onto something completely different.

Only about 1/3 of the Per Se kitchen is used for service.  The rest is a labyrinth of turns, coves and alleys allowing for a complete change of energy and focus. Pivoting out of the bustle and buzz, we barged in on a young Asian woman patting a sugary blob onto a cookie sheet.  She was alone and displayed that lovely meditative state that working in solitude can bring. We asked her what she was doing.

“I’m making peanut brittle,” she responded with a smiled.  She was completely chill.

Deeper into the maze, we found a baker busy behind a rack of bread; he too worked in silence, stacking loaves.  From where he stood, we could hear none of the service hustle.

While the kitchen layout and enormity were the most striking aspects of the tour, there were telling details everywhere.  Like the clock with the words: Sense of Urgency, written below it or the shallow individual fridges that replace the traditional walk-in. 

After viewing these secrets behind the curtain, we finally popped out of a back door and found ourselves at the hostess station and my mind was like: What the holy Willie Wonka did I just see?

Our goody bags and coats were put into our possession without thought or action on our part.  Dazed and over-stimulated, we walked out of there like a couple of bedraggled school children after a long day of Disney. 

More on Per Se and all the other wild things I experience to come.  Click here to have update delivered to you for free.

For more picture of the meal and kitchen, check out my instagram

Ciao for now!

FOOD IS ONE OF THE MOST VISCERAL ASPECTS OF A CULTURE; IT CAN BE EXPERIENCED WITH NO LANGUAGE SKILLS, NO GUIDE, AND MOST TIMES WITH VERY LITTLE MONEY.