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Memoirs Of A Chef & Restaurant Critic: Intro

Sign In San Francisco Shop Window, photo by lee klein

After some four decades spent in the food business, I figure it’s time to start jotting a few memories down. So over time, in unscheduled, erratic manner and with a haughty disregard for chronology, I’m going to offer up some stories from my career.

When scanning over the lengthy list of my culinary-related work below, two thoughts will perhaps pop to mind:

This guy has done a lot of different things!
This guy can’t hold down a job!

My point being, this is the fodder from which I’ll carve my narratives:

*Food runner for coffee shop, Wall Street, NYC

*Bagel meister, Bagel World, Queens, NYC

*Dishwasher, Rhythm Café, Isla Vista, California

*Counterman, New York Delicatessen, Boulder, Colorado (where Mork met Mindy!)

*Line cook, Berardi & Sons, Italian restaurant, Boulder, Colorado

*Assistant cook, Molly’s Bar & Restaurant, Boulder, Colorado

*Head cook, What’s Up, American restaurant, Boulder, Colorado

*Sous chef, Parachute & Monkey Bar, Boulder, Colorado

*Head chef, EAT, health food restaurant, St. Marks Place, NYC

*Student, Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York

*Editor, La Papillote, C.I.A. newspaper, Hyde Park, New York

*Culinary Extern, Fairmont Hotel, New Orleans

*Tournant, Russian Tea Room, NYC

*Poissonnier; Saucier, Prunelle, NYC

*Sous chef, Alcala, Spanish restaurant, NYC

*Executive chef, Butler's, Continental restaurant, NYC

*Feature food writer, New York Daily News, NYC

*Head chef, Mangia, upscale take-out, NYC

*Head chef, Hale & Hearty, upscale healthy take-out, NYC (where Lee met Diana!)

*Chef/Instructor French Culinary Institute, NYC

*Catering chef, Restaurant Associates, Randall Gottier Catering, NYC

*Head Chef for special wing of rich patients at Mt. Sinai Hospital, NYC

*Manager, Gardner’s Market, South Miami

*Head chef, Café Impala in the Hotel Impala, Miami Beach

*Restaurant reviewer, Ocean Drive Magazine, Miami Beach

*Restaurant reviewer, Fashion Spectrum Magazine, Miami Beach

*Food/travel writer, Boca Raton Magazine, Boca Raton

*Partner, Trillium Caterers, in-house food for Liquid nightclub (the Chris Paciello days) and Park Central Hotel, Miami Beach

*Fill-in chef, Jeffrey’s; Spiga, Miami Beach, and Magnum, Miami

*Chef, production lunches for catering companies, and my own events, Miami Beach

*Restaurant reviewer/staff writer/blogger, Miami New Times

*Restaurant consultant, Green St. Café/Lulu, Coconut Grove

*Private chef, Coral Gables and Newport, Rhode Island

*Contributing writer, Food & Wine, Variety, Miami Herald, other publications

*Auteur,, Miami Beach

Surely there’s an intriguing tale or two to be culled from this riveting resume? We’ll see. I almost forgot to mention that food-related writing derived from my world travels will likewise be included. But as the bricklayer said as he began work on a lofty skyscraper: Let’s take it one story at a time.