[Skip to main content]

My L’Escargot Roots - Part One of Two

Posted on Monday, July 4th, 2011

My L’Escargot Roots - Part One of Two

At the age of seventeen I took my first steps in the restaurant business and began working part-time behind the bar of a local restaurant in North London, called L’Escargot. The restaurant was owned by John Moretti, a flamboyant English-Italian bon-viveur and entrepreneur who happened to be married to my mother’s best friend. Gina was petite, elegant, feisty, entertaining and quintessentially Italian. In the dreary suburbs of North London, Gina seemed to me about as glamorous as Sophia Loren with her extravagant, hand-painted silk dresses, designer shoes from Cortina d’Ampezzo and West End coiffure. The restaurant occupied a prominent corner position on a crossroads in a quiet backwater close to London’s northern border with Hertfordshire. It was not, at first sight, perhaps the most obvious spot in which to open a smart French restaurant but the location turned out to be absolutely perfect: it was a short drive from residential areas that had become colonized by professional footballers from First Division (now Premiership) London clubs such as Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur and by other nouveaux riches who could afford the big house prices and the golf club memberships. Gina and John became an instant hit with this affluent crowd who greatly enjoyed their hospitality and style and regularly came back for more. L’Escargot was a restaurant full of regular customers. It was indicative of John’s nature that he had named the restaurant in honour of the horse that won the Grand National that year and not, as many people believed, after the famous Soho landmark restaurant with the huge snail above it’s door (our snail was a small bronze sculpture and occupied a prominent position above the bar). John was a keen gambler and liked to tell his friends that he had only been able to afford the restaurant lease after backing the famous horse at Aintree that summer. Having got to know him better, I now suspect that this was all made up but, at the time, everyone believed it to be true.

John was a self-made man who had traveled abroad more than most people he mixed with. As a result he had acquired a more than convincing veneer of sophistication and, in my adolescent view, John embodied the epitome of male chic. He smoked big, fat Romeo y Julieta cigars, padded around in hand-made, Italian calf-skin loafers, drank only the best wines and drove a vintage Mercedes sports coupe. Whatever John lacked in formal education he made up for in style. I mention this because he was always telling people what a bright boy I was (something my father would never do) and how I was getting a much better education than he had ever been permitted to have. He never wore socks beneath his loafers but always kept a spare pair in his brown leather attaché case – “in case I have to see the bank manager” – where they would keep happy company with fat rolls of cash and at least two day’s supply of Havana’s best cigars.

John’s greatest talent was for making people feel special. He would let customers into “secrets”, taking them into a corner to whisper conspiratorially in their ear, and he was always generous with racing tips, even sharing them with me when he felt strongly about a particular horse or greyhound. He was a font of privileged information about shares, currency movements, fine wines and horses. John recognized that people were looking for fantasy and glamour when they dined at L’Escargot and he understood precisely what his and Gloria’s contribution should be. He knew how to flatter people and how to make them laugh; he created an incredible buzz in the seventy cover bistro with its red check tablecloths and improvised liqueur-bottle candle holders covered in thick layers of multi-coloured wax. He could make special occasions all the more special by donning whites and going in to the kitchen himself to create a special dish for a customer whose birthday it was. Later, he might call Gina to come down and share a crepe suzette with these favoured guests. People loved to see John and Gina dining in the restaurant.

I got on very well with John and I must say I liked and admired him enormously. He ran the restaurant mostly hands-on - unless he was away on one of his and Gloria’s frequent trips to Italy - and with its successful combination of popular French bistro food, soft lighting, well-chosen background music and excellent hospitality, L’Escargot was a truly wonderful neighborhood restaurant. I watched John carefully and learned a great deal from him of the art of the restaurateur although I had not the slightest inclination that I might follow him into the trade; I had already set my sights on a Law degree and was preparing for my university entrance exams.

One of the first things he told me when I started at L’Escargot was that we were permanently on show from the moment we entered the building – John never failing to tell me off for biting my nails behind the bar when I wasn’t busy, reminding me that I was in the spotlight and now “public property”, as he liked to say. He showed me how to taste wine correctly, how to handle and cut expensive cigars, the basics of ‘reading’ customers and how to differentiate between those you could be yourself with and those you had to “handle with care”. He adored good food and said that life was too short for drinking bad wine. “But you don’t want to open a restaurant my boy… There are easier ways to make money for a boy with brains like you. People think that what I do is easy and that I make loads of money but, let me tell you, as soon as you hit a quiet patch it’s easy to lose everything you made on the busy days. No, you go to university and become a big-shot lawyer. Now there’s an easy way to make money!”

Stay tuned for Part Two...

252 Comments

Comments

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment form

Indian Hot Seen. Video Budak Sekolah Main. Cat 3 movies com. pornonaft.net Hot kiss of madhuri dixit. Porn Mega Ass.

Lussg662a 16 hours, 15 minutes, 28 seconds ago → Respond

Continue Sorry, we do not have service providers in your immediate area of. Each of the estimated prices you see below are based on the home, the homeowner needs and much more. Ac Repair Service An old unit with practically all life remaining on it. Samsung Washing Machine recall.

A properly running system will maintain humidity, but you may be more comfortable or have medical conditions that require higher or lower humidity levels than your standard HVAC system can provide. Air Conditioner Repair The corporate range of this brand extends beyond their residential AC services.

The coil fins are very fragile and bend easily — go slowly and check your work. https://www.dailystrength.org/journals/arlington-heating-air-conditioning-26-reviews-heating-air-condit Air Conditioning and Cooling Systems. I pretty much got the same unit but the difference with them and the others is the service.

leasteWaife 2 days, 4 hours ago → Respond

View all CMS Mechanical Services jobs in Orlando, FL - Orlando jobs Salary Search: Service Technician salaries in Orlando, FL Learn more about working at Cms Mechanical Services Related forums: CMS Mechanical Services - Orlando, Florida - Service Technician. Replace Repair Air Conditioner We proudly handpicked every item in our inventory and carry thousands of products from a huge variety of the top brands such as Goodman , Mitsubishi , LG , Friedrich.

This whole situation is criminal at best!! A properly maintained air conditioner has a longer lifespan than one that. Typical A/C Repair Costs It appears that the valve did not leak unless it was open for an extended period of time. The installer says the pulsation is thoughts?

These estimates are for BASIC work performed in serviceable conditions by qualified trade professionals using MID GRADE materials. http://gotha.airconorange.review/map26.php Homes with well-insulated windows, doors, walls, roofs, attics, floors, basements, and crawl spaces, along with sealed exterior cracks and seams, typically require less air conditioning and heating capacity than homes that are not well-insulated.

leasteWaife 3 days, 23 hours ago → Respond

As the water rises to the surface, the pressure drops and the water vaporizes into superheated steam that can be used for high-temperature processes. Inhaling freon is highly poisonous and could result in death. American Air Conditioner Repair Main page Contents Featured content Current events Random article Donate to Wikipedia Wikipedia store. Parts Compressor Where is my model number?

For example, if you require a higher cooling demand the heat pump sizing must meet those basic requirements. Air Conditioning New Repair Intelligent Variable Air System for Chilled-Water Applications.

Lake Monroe Permits and Inspections. http://antiagingantiwrinklecream.wrinklea.review/map28.php I appreciate the info. Median Real Estate Taxes:.

leasteWaife 5 days, 11 hours ago → Respond

Parts used for replacement may be of like kind and quality and may be new or remanufactured. Air Conditioning Repairman Delete all board cookies. Pls help me out.

Can anyone tell me if this quote is within reason. This works with an evaporator to make up the system that helps cool your home in the warm months. Repair Air Conditioning System How to detect that there is gas leak in AC? Airflow must be just right; otherwise, you could see an increase in your bill or hot spots in rooms of your home.

If it blocks up, only then does the high up pipe need to kick into action. This motor blows the cold air into the room. http://jeniferduval78.soup.io See more articles and how-to guides in the Knowledge Center.

leasteWaife 2 weeks, 2 days ago → Respond

Просадка, затирание, прогибание нарушение герметичности (продувание, сквозняк) створок окна – все это стандартное проявление, то которое со временем проявляется во абсолютно всех металлопластиковых оконных рамах и дверях. И их конечно надо регулировать (обслуживать), для того чтобы избежать, в будущем, дорогостоящего ремонта.
Это в целом как в машине услуга прохождения технического обследования : когда вовремя не сменить масло, не ликвидировать стук или побочный шум – исходы могут быть печальными другими словами катастрофическими. (в частности замена масла один в год или раз в 10000 км. – по стоимости для примеру 957 грн. Однако ремонт двигателя обходится 9557 грн.) У нас функционируют высокопроффесиональные мастера, которые помогут уладить любую проблему и удовлетворить даже самого прихотливого заказчика Заказывайте ремонт пластиковых окон киев у нас, у проффесионалов.



Заказать регулировка пластиковых окон киев у проффесионалов.

remkam 4 weeks, 1 day ago → Respond

hwuzqrvc http://maydaviendn.com/component/k2/itemlist/user/19134 Where To Buy Rice Paper Uk ここで、ラフィク

wtaletlmmi 3 months, 4 weeks ago → Respond

local loan companies for bad credit money direct person loans fast quick loans

Staceydiz 5 months, 4 weeks ago → Respond

mobile loans emergency loans for bad credit loans in san antonio tx personal loan company

Staceydiz 5 months, 4 weeks ago → Respond

paycheck loans bad credit loans lenders st george personal loan buy now pay later bad credit

Staceydiz 5 months, 4 weeks ago → Respond

[Go back to the top of the page]