Satire and Digital Painting (abstract automatism) by Ron Maubidea
  » Sep 20, 2021  



« Back   
Maubidea Interview by Putain d’art

Restaurants and Food Service

Interview and content © 2010 Putain d’art
All Rights Reserved

Part 2

After a short dinner break, I phoned Ron back to continue our chat. At this point in the interview, I wanted to explore a bit about his work in the Food Service Industry.

Your career and artistic pursuits have been very diverse to say the least. You began as a Musician and a Composer of Microtonal Music. At some point you entered Food Service and earned the title, Executive Chef. You worked in Cable Television as a Producer / Director, a graphic artist and the list goes on.

*Would it be presumptuous to conclude that you have invested more time in Food Service than in any other area?

That is a good question… but no. I was always involved in something art related after work and on the weekends. Band rehearsals usually began after a 10-12 hour shift in the kitchen. When I was the Executive Chef at the Library Restaurant in Manhattan, a few of us on staff started a band.

Our combined adrenaline level was off the charts and we seriously needed a way to chill out. Burning up the last of that energy was an imperative for a good night’s rest.

*What is your educational background and where did you study?

Most of what I do has been self taught. Music composition and melody were just parts of a genetic package. You could say I was born hearing music and sounds as well as orchestral arrangements. As for the cooking part… I've been preparing food for people since childhood. I think my motives had more to do with an affinity for Chinese cleavers and large, open flames than the cooking itself. (laughing)

*You entered the Restaurant business with previous experience?

No… cooking was self-taught as well and learned all the basics the hard way, in the field. That would include the many thousands of hours spent researching the history and science of food. I had it in my head that cooking professionally would be easy.

After all, it was just about preparing foods right . . . wrong!!

It was Food (fucking) Service and I was totally unprepared for a disciplined lifestyle and a public clientele.

My career started with the opening of a French Café / Restaurant in Brooklyn Heights called, Café de Ron. The menu was casual-eclectic and forever changing depending on the season… the mood… the weather! (laughing)

The basic premise was to be a culinary jazz musician. To improvise with everything and dispel common notions of tradition which included the Classic preparations...

The effort (my concept) was an accident waiting to happen… I was terminally clueless when it came to normal business practices. And after a much needed pow wow with the manager and head waiter (my two closest friends), the idea of standardizing basic items began to make sense.

*Are you saying that you opened a restaurant without a basic menu?

I’m saying that I opened that restaurant making every possible mistake imaginable! Yes… there was a basic menu but the emphasis was on the daily specials in terms of a creative outlet.

*I was under the impression that most restaurants conform to that?

They do indeed… but they don’t usually have twenty or so items on the specials board that could be prepared several different ways. Each variation constituted an entirely different dish. Adding to that, my customers had the privilege of requesting items and combinations that were not on the regular menu. This happened every day at lunch and dinner… it drove my staff crazy!

*Allowing for such choice is quite commendable; did the pace drive you crazy as well?

Absolutely not… I was already there handing out passes to the asylum!

*Was the Café an existing restaurant in the area?

That would be a definite no; it had to built from the bottom up. The space itself was actually a Real Estate office on the second floor that had gone out of business. It didn’t have the right plumbing and an upgrade to the electrical service had to be installed.

*Aside from the demolition and general construction, did you install the plumbing and electrical work as well?

You require licensed professionals for that sort of thing otherwise the Buildings Department would immediately shut you down. I did build the kitchen and help install all the equipment. The counters, tables and the banquette were all constructed with these two hands.

My customers always had the sense they were dinning in a special place… where the majority of the dishes started from scratch. Local people would stop me at the market and ask about the evening specials, a recipe… whatever.

*Were the recipes standardized and would you share some of your cooking secrets if asked?

There were no recipes per say… since all the cooking and preparation was done by me, there was little point in that. At the time, I couldn’t afford to hire a qualified cook and usually brought a staff member into the kitchen if they showed an interest in learning.

I might add that the Café was also the first Modern Jazz Club in the history of Brooklyn Heights… it was quite a unique experience.

Gallery image: Knackende Eier für ein Omelette
Cracking Eggs for an Omelette is the first installment in the Hunter Thompson, Peyote and Juarez Mexico collection of Automatist Digital Sculptures for 2010

End of Part 2A . . . to be continued


Facebook Twitter Google Digg Reddit LinkedIn Pinterest StumbleUpon Email

All giclee prints come with certificates of authenticity.
Powered by ArtWebSpace.com | login