In my work as an editorial writer and photographer, everything I shoot on assignment is with my Nikon as the publications I work for only run full color images.
Even so, I rarely go out on assignment (or even into the world, for that matter) without my Leica in tow. It’s small, lightweight, unobtrusive. It has other characteristics, too; those of you who have an MM get it. Leica haters will continue to hate, but for the rest of us, we’re not engaged in trying to convince the world why we love our Leicas. We’re too busy out playing.
The seat in the bar area of Cafe Adelaide where I met Chef Carl Schaubhut was up against a window facing the street. I sat with my back to the window and could see the flow of energy behind him as he talked, his face lit with with soft, natural light behind me. I found him to be a warm, genuine and interesting person. Chefs are their own breed of celebrity status in a town like New Orleans, a world that I know very little about but find fascinating.
After the interview, he took me back into the kitchen where he offered to make me lunch. When he learned I’m a vegetarian, his eyes lit up — a challenge, he told me. He began chopping, flipping, catching things on fire; he clearly had entered a difference place. He was in his zone.
I observed the energy of the kitchen. The writer in me was struck by the very large letters on the swinging kitchen doors that separated leisurely upscale clientele from the loud, boisterous, shiny world that is Chef Carl’s: “YES” and “NO.” I thought about that for a long while. Clearly superior to “in” and “out,” it doesn’t matter if one is a photographer, chef, waitress or maître d’ coming or going, the choice of which door to walk through designated with YES and NO leaves no room for error. A constant bustle of traffic, those doors are but one example of efficiency in an extremely fine tuned kitchen, Chef Carl told me. Makes sense.
He offered me the final product featuring spaghetti squash, oyster mushrooms, green bok choy, Louisiana soybean puree and pea tendrils, garnished with walnuts. It was easily the most beautiful meal anyone has ever presented especially to me. I carried it through the YES door, back to my cheery, sunny table in the bar and enjoyed.
Chef Carl has his own blog where he tells his own amazing story. Everybody has a story. His family appreciates the support.