I (follow/am “friends” with him) (since I’ve met him several times through the Montclair Food & Wine Festival (#MFWF), and so) saw this on Chef Francesco Palmieri’s personal Facebook page. As you can see, I responded to his call, and he replied. Great. (I thought: “I will do him the favor of being a body to make the place look lively, and I will get free food—double-good!”) I went there on time (earlier than scheduled) and asked how I could help. (I had worn black so as to be able to blend into the background; I certainly didn’t want to be interviewed on camera. [No worries, about that—we had a good crowd and the host/producer found some articulate people to talk to.])
Here’s what the scene looked like:
Alexandra with her mother Melody Kettle (the founder & director of #MFWF!), with [my new friend] Doreen Sarcone (Bloomfield Center Alliance), in the left corner. [My old friend] Paul Brewster (from FitzGerald’s 1928, in Glen Ridge) and his wife, in the back. [My new friends] Barbara & Paul Castigila, against the wall. Penwah Phynjuar, at the bar. [My new friend] Diane Biancamano, in the middle, with other good folks.
The chef being interviewed, in a quiet moment, after (he was taped while) cooking all that food.
Penwah proudly eating the mushrooms tempura with her fingers…
… and equally not shy about licking them!
I’ve met Lauren Glassberg, of “Neighborhood Eats,” several times before. She’s a great gal, and a real pro. She and her videographer taped bits of the chef cooking, of him being interviewed, of the plated food. He made (what he called “Global Comfort Food,” [and I’m surprised that this expression wasn’t used in the final video product]) a skate dish, mushrooms tempura, pizza, calamari, a pot pie, and this vegan “BLT” soup:
How cute is this girl?! (Althea is the daughter of chef de cuisine Andrew Watterson.) Oh right: another (the first) dish that the chef made was pasta—a short rigatoni tossed with who knows what… I was too busy… (including taking photos of people!)…
Have I mentioned that the chef had only kitchen staff on hand? That’s right: no front of house personnel! So guess who jumped in, to be #maitredwaiterbusboy ! I sat people as they came in, got them something to drink, introduced them to each other, and then served all those dishes that I mentioned above. They were large platters, so I shared them around. And then cleared plates and refilled glasses. And served more. And repeated. There was plenty of food, and everyone loved it/was stuffed!
Here I am, in action:
with three of the photos to which I gave them exclusive rights.