“Throw Back Thursday”
Bruce West, Age 25
Poissonnaire for Café Royale,
a French Restaurant in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
If any of our readers have spent time in restaurant kitchens, you will recognize the lean frame along with the pursed-lip smirk on my face.
First I will address my unwanted skinniness. So much great food, but no time to eat. In 1985, Café Royale was a leading restaurant in Philadelphia, with a reputation. We worked like dogs, as we had big competition. The Four Seasons Hotel was located directly across the street. Philly renowned Le Bec Fin was only a few blocks away.
We wanted to be the best, so everyone in the kitchen worked constantly at top speed, aiming for perfection. For me, each day was spent making fish terrines, butchering fish, making sauces, consommés, soups, and galantines, cleaning, ordering, prepping. And then dinner service followed. I’m sure I consumed more calories in beer than I did in food.
Next, is that smirk on my face that needs to be slapped off. I was not humble. I thought I was good…real good. I could sauté fish better than anyone in the kitchen; I never broke a butter sauce. I cooked fish for international rock stars, politicians, and famous actors.
I thought I knew it all. But I had so much more to learn about food.
Every picture is a snap shot in time and tells a story.
~ Bruce West