The subject of this week’s cover story, Mark Mavrantonis, executive chef at Fulton’s on the River, is a nice guy and a helluva storyteller, but if you read some of his writings without meeting him first, I wouldn’t blame you for being a little nervous. In 2003, after leaving the San Francisco-based seafood chain McCormick & Schmick’s, he fueled up on coffee, sat down at the keyboard, and pounded out the frustrations built up over years working in the corporate galleys. The chapters I read are illuminating, angry, raw, hilarious, and not for the easily offended–the foaming little cousin to Kitchen Confidential.
Here’s what he says about kitchen injuries:
“A true Chef will never go to the hospital willingly, unless something is hanging off at a main joint, usually by only a flap of skin, and blood is spurting at least a foot per pulse. Normally, they look at anything that needs less than ten stitches with strong disdain, and will instead rumble around the utility box for some duct tape. When they come back from the hospital, the other chefs and cooks ask them “how many,” and if it’s one digit, they have to buy the first round that night, and by no means even think about trying to get out of cleaning that shift. I was once stabbed in the leg by a fellow cook, who was indeed having a self-proclaimed ‘shitty night,’ but that’s another story. A Server, however, at any sight of blood will scream and cry until someone at least puts a band-aid on it. In some cases, the cab fare costs more than the treatment.”
Some of Mavrantonis’s stories aren’t appropriate for a family blog, but at the restaurant he hands out a gentler version of his oyster manifesto, a distillation of his chief passion and an excellent primer on the bivalves.