At some point in the early afternoon I decided I wanted breakfast for dinner.  I figured Victor would love the idea as much as me – and I was correct.  Bacon, eggs over easy, fried potatoes, and toast.  It doesn’t get much better.

I had cooked many an egg – the donut shop and Uncle Sam’s Yacht Club provided more training than one individual deserves – but both of them were eggs on griddles.  It wasn’t until 1976 at The Old Post Office in Carnelian Bay that I actually flipped an egg in a pan.  And the fact that I did it first time surprised me to no end.  It seems I was a natural.  I flipped a lot of three-egg orders at the Old PO and when I left there and went to The Hyatt Lake Tahoe, I worked for a chef  named Peter Koenig who pretty much demanded that every egg be perfect every time.  Actually, he wanted everything to be perfect every time. He had very exacting standards and was tough when necessary but was also one of the nicest guys around. I learned a lot from him about presentation. Hell.  I learned a lot from him, period.  He was a great teacher, and excellent chef, and a really great guy.

It’s fun to trace some of my neurosis back to their source.  The mechanics of egg-flipping were learned at the Old PO, but the art of egg flipping was definitely from Peter.  The art of exhibition cooking started at The Red Chimney in Stonestown in probably early 1975.  I cooked lunches in the dining room in my own little cooking station flirting shamelessly with with the blue-haired little old ladies drinking their manhattans and very dry martinis.  But while flirting and cooking, my station always had to look perfect. Everything lined up, everything neat, everything in its place, labels and logos facing front. Impeccably clean uniform. Cleaning rags precisely folded.  And that was because my food was going to be judged by my stage and no matter how great my performance was, the food was never going to be great coming from an unkempt stage.

The necessity of facing all bills in the same direction and in proper order starts with Neils Hoeck who owned the donut shop.  That was how it was done, period.  It forced one to look at every bill and make sure they were correct.  Other jobs I had that had cash-handling reinforced it.  When bartending at The Riviera, money was always face up, noses to the right.  When I was finally responsible for cash and cashiers, it’s how I had my cashiers handle their money.  And I continue it to this day.

There’s more, of course, but I’ll save them for another day and time.  Right now I’m just flashing back on that very first pan of eggs I flipped.

I still don’t know how in the hell I did it.