Friday, March 7, 2008

72, rue Vasco de Gama

François Pierre Stefanaggi,
who loves anything caramel,
would have liked to be named Arnaud
or Guillaume
or Clément
- any old name.
François was so old fashioned - rinky dink, sort of.
He doesn’t like people you can’t trust
or the taste of dirt.

François came to the rue Vasco de Gama because he wanted a job that would feed him. Also, he wanted to stop working as a checkout boy at the supermarket. Really, what he wanted was to quit the Sorbonne. He wanted to make music and write - he wrote a short story last night, actually. He wants to write a novel that would be like snaphots of life, snipped apart and reassembled. He plays the guitar.

When he got out of the metro for the first time he thought that the rue Vasco de Gama was long and empty; lifeless, but the restaurant was warm, much friendlier than he’d expected. He was coming from a certain emptiness himself. The first person he met here was the old chef - a foreshadowing of what was to come? Corinne, the owner, was late.
He came to be a waiter
(no pun intended),
and at the time he didn’t know the first thing about cooking.
It has been a year, and now he is the chef. He learns fast; he is proud of his adaptability.

He’s grateful to wake up every morning,
though he hates getting out of bed,
and likes a big cup of coffee with one sugar in it,
preferably accompanied by a cigarette.

In the kitchen he moves fast - sometimes too fast. His favorite thing to make is poitrine de volaille entre chair et peau de foie gras with choucroute au miel et aux raisins secs. He attracts problems,
If he had a soundtrack, no doubt about it,
it would be “Hotel California,” by the Eagles.
He gets a little melancholy sometimes
but really,
compared to the troubles he could have,
everything is so small,
he’d say he’s got a good lot in life.
Just because I’m interviewing him doesn’t mean he’s a complicated boy, you know?

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