40 Hours of Food and Flicks- Follow-Up

February 26, 2009

40 Hours of Food and Flicks- Follow-Up
by Nathalie Carriere

An eye on grace-gallery, and 12B, before, and after-shift, on the weekend of the 40 Hours of Food and Flicks:

Big Night: Friday (July 11, 10:45 pm): The gallery windows are papered over to inspire a sense of perpetual night. The total of 20 tops are white linen covered, and the candelabras stuffed with long candles illuminate the tone set by gallery curator Rachel Zottenberg, and the committed staff at grace.

Rogue Chef Todd Braiden has set up 3 little camping gas burners and an impeccable mise on long linen covered L shaped tables. One top for cooking, and the other, for plating and finishing, gallery, stage left. He has a fridge to the right, a B-B-Q in the parking lot, and access to a holding and finishing oven in the Narrow’s galley kitchen.

The main wall of the gallery is the screening surface for the 40 hours of indi flicks, rounding out the event.

The Narrow Restaurant, just down the hall, is packed with the sweet sounds of well-executed mixes and Friday night regulars chillin’.

By this time, the gallery is staging its second of many 2 hour turn-overs. Rachel is rushing down the quieter hall between the 2 venues, where the photographic exhibition of Matthew Walker Timmons is interestingly displayed, clutching a cell, taking an 8 top rezo for 2 am that night.

It’s hard to know where to focus, at first- the sizzle of the halibut hitting the hot pan, the flicker of the candles hitting people’s faces, or the whites of the eyes all staring at the rad French/English rap video projected on the wall. Rachel says hello for a quick second.

A new flick is on (Todd is plating).

It’s a dark yarn about a young boy trying to absorb a world of bullies (mom included?) everyone is transfixed. This incredibly poignant little flick is followed with more bold moves and takes from others. This is hot. There is a whiff of truffle oil. This is serious business, but it’s easy, right, 2 hours into 20 tops with a movie, and what you’ve been setting up as ‘what you do for a living’ for years?

Twenty-seven hours in (Saturday July 12, 10:55 pm): Rachel’s eyes, although beautiful, are now doing an all too familiar, tired, yet skilled peripheral vision dance. Something requiring her attention has just caught the eye on the back of her head.

Service crew is standing at attention at the make-shift pass. Chef Todd is plating, punching out a variety of eye and under the breath commands. The plates levitate toward a well-rested, comfortable and entertained audience. The zone is on.

Fortieth hour (Sunday, July 13, 1:20 pm): The place is packed. The final seating is enjoying the flick as Chef Todd stirs feverishly at an ice cream gone ‘not going to listen to you.’

He reaches for a spoon to plate, misses it entirely, forgets, for a second, what he was after, and finally nails the decisive pissed off grab.

He puts the finishing touches on the last course. The audience, btw, is no longer watching the movie. They are watching him.

Rachel stares wildly at these final moments, her eyes, quite literally, spinning in their sockets. Hard to watch, but understood.

The indi film seems now to pathetically flicker on the wall like some bizarre, out of context relic. The plates go out. No one knows what to do or how to react. Chef Todd glares at the plates going out. Everything stops.

A member of the gallery staff, over a loud speaker, announces that this concludes the 40 Hours of Food portion of the event. “Thank you, Chef Todd of 12B.”

RCT: Yeah, so, this is mocha cheesecake, with ummm, a strawberry ice, errr
mousse, and berry coulis. Yeah, thanks for coming.

Two days later.

NC: Was it all you hoped it would be?

RCT: Oh yeah, and more. I remember Chef Tony (NWCAV) talking about that place when you you’ve cooked long enough. And one day you hit your stride. You find your voice, like a personal style. I didn’t know what he was talking about, but I caught a glimpse of that. I got to feel a sense of, that. It felt amazing. It was both freeing and inspiring. Like, I can do this my way. I’m starting to have my own ideas about how do to this, can’t wait to take this ‘tude, to 12B.

NC: How was the turn-out?

RCT: It was great. Surprisingly, for a weekend, a lot of cooks came down to support the event. The crew from Boneta came down, even. I loved it, was good to see those people. It was cool to see the coming together of the culinary and artistic culture. Good times.

NC: Was this a success for grace-gallery as well?

RCT: Sure, the buzz around the gallery was awesome, sold some pieces. The flicks really captured a broader audience. People, who would never come down to Main to check the scene, came to satisfy a curiosity and got blown away. The photographs by Matt are now on display at 12B. Some are for sale, book a night by emailing 12breservations@gmail.com. Come down and check it out!

NC: After cooking for 40 hours, do you still feel the way you did when you first challenged the restauranteurs in this town to stay open all night?

RCT: “ya, more than ever. It can be done, I know it. Just takes initiative, foresight, and the balls to make it happen. Yeah, I really hope someone goes for it.” Make the food great, I’ll be there.


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