For this blog, I’m going to continue to write about the memorable moments I have out there exploring the food world. But as much as I love the food itself, the markets and the restaurants, I tend to gravitate towards stories about the people that make it happen.
Case in point: A recent night in Half Moon Bay back at the Ritz Carlton’s second annual Inside the Kitchen event (www.insidethekitchen.net)—a late October weekend of excess, including a lot of amazing food and wine, top chefs from the Bay Area and Las Vegas, cooking classes and more.
All I have to say is don’t tell me French men can’t (or rather, don’t) dance. At the after-party, among tables of salumi, stinky cheese and petit fours, just about every Gallic chef in SF was crammed onto the makeshift dance floor, boogying like there was nothing to brunoise tomorrow. Piperade’s Gerald Hirigoyen’s hair was sweaty; Aqua’s Laurent Manrique, normally impeccably dressed, had his shirt-tails hanging out; Roland Passot of La Folie was getting redder by the minute. Non-Frenchies included David Kinch of Manresa and his girlfriend and blogger Pim (chezpim.typepad.com/blogs), as well as my unofficial dance partner, Eugenio Jardim, the wine director at Jardiniere.
But this is the clincher: The DJ was Hubert Keller, 52, better known as the Alsatian chef and owner of Fleur de Lys for the past 20 years. He was spinning house music, working the headphone-as-accessory look and simultaneously jumping up and down, pumping his fist in the air, with his wife Chantal dancing up front, like the most devoted groupie.
Let me tell you: Hubert is good. It turns out, for the past year, he’s been learning from a pro: DJ Frenchy Le Freak (www.frenchylefreak.com), who is pictured above with Hubert at Fleur de Lys' second anniversary in Las Vegas. “Hubert told me, my dream—if I wasn’t a chef—would be to be a DJ,” he says. “And I replied, ‘That’s funny, because my dream—if I wasn’t a DJ—is to be a chef.’” Thus, the trade-off began. Frenchy comes into Fleur de Lys weekly to learn how to cook and Hubert gets his lessons from Frenchy. Lesson learned: Never say never.
For more about Hubert (and his Bastille Day Ruby Skye gig), tune in to 7x7’s February issue which includes our first annual Eat + Drink Reader’s Choice Awards!