[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...

578 Comments

Comments

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published.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

Comment form


This is may depend from implementation front-rank equipment park,technology,equipment,algorithm,cleaning,methods,equipment,components,mechanisms and industrial equipment, specialized detergents and cleaning funds and also beautiful organization work cleaning service.
In our world use support Cleaning firms made necessarily authoritative and relevant.

Some enterprises and organizations Partnership long for a time enjoy help with cleaning companies, but not conclude personal frames swabber for such types of services as Cleaning a private house and Bathroom cleaning in TriBeca .

Long-term practice General Partnership in Chinatown & Little Italy owner specialized company is STEPHEN WILLIAMS, revealed that hired trained staff cleaning firms produce cleaning well faster, neater, scrupulous and cleaner, than for example own regular cleaners.


You will be spared from wasting time on training and recruitment frames , on check his work, you it will not be necessary to allocate room for cleaners and organize storage inventory.

We Limited liability Limited Partnership is that is on the street Douglaston invite you personally work with uson profitable conditions.
Any Economist Proves You contain Multiple workman at a loss in collation with employ foreign cleaning service.



at home cleaning services : cleaning services nyc

SCwhalp 22 hours, 21 minutes, 20 seconds ago → Respond

Looking for the best app to watch free movies on your iOS phone? Then your should check Showbox app. This is the most famous app today that has a big library of shows and movies. This app is also available for Mac users. But your need to download it first to enjoy free shows http://showbox-all.com

ShowGlumn 1 day, 4 hours ago → Respond

premium blog

ltonnug 1 day, 10 hours ago → Respond

Looking for the best app to watch free movies on your iOS phone? Then your should check Showbox APK. This is the most famous app today that has a big library of tv shows and films. This app is also available for Mac users. But your need to download it first to enjoy free shows http://showbox-all.com - Showbox on PC

ShowGlumn 3 days, 1 hour ago → Respond

Game LIFE 遊戲情報

http://gamelife.tw/

MatthewEdils 3 days, 9 hours ago → Respond

Где заказать для себя красивые стеклянные перила лестниц по вашим размерам.

Josephblepe 3 days, 12 hours ago → Respond

2486運彩入口網-彩票網址

http://lkk2486.com/

MichaelJef 3 days, 12 hours ago → Respond

民視眼鏡 - 媒體認證台北市士林最便宜眼鏡配到好

http://www.people-eye.com.tw/

MichaelGab 3 days, 13 hours ago → Respond

Дальше я спросил, кто в К. считается самым наилучшим преподавателем, кто наилучший конструктор, и на все мои вопросы плюгавая фигура ответила неведением. Свиридовы пробыли в Петербурге до лета. Всё денек за денек откладывали за делами собственный отъезд. Они уговорили меня ехать с ними совместно. Совместно мы ехали до нашего уездного городка. Здесь я сел на перекладную и повернул к матушке, а они уехали к для себя, взяв с меня слово быть у их через неделю. Александр Иванович собирался тотчас же по приезде домой ехать в Жогово, где у него шла рубка и где резидировал сейчас Овцебык, а через неделю обещал быть дома. У нас меня не ждали и очень мне обрадовались Я произнес, что с неделю никуда не выеду; мама вызвала моего двоюродного брата с женою, и начались различные буколические удовольствия. Так прошло дней 10, а на одиннадцатый либо на двенадцатый, на самой ранешней зоре, ко мне вошла несколько встревоженная моя старушка-няня. Не то чтоб кто сказывал, а видать. Человека, который скоро помрет, сходу видно. Не ешь ты, не пьешь, исхудал глядеть жутко. Чахотка, одним словом. Я говорю не для того, чтоб тебя беспокоить, а к тому, может, ты захочешь причаститься и собороваться. А нежели у тебя средства есть, то сдал бы ты их старшему офицеру. Не дают мухи спать! ворчит Алексей Борисыч. Но повинны не мухи, а счастье… Ну, и что все-таки вышло?
https://xrongor5144.wordpress.com
https://xrxgonline3762.wordpress.com
https://xrxgorodov9468.wordpress.com
https://xrxgorodov7434.wordpress.com
https://xrxgonline4297.wordpress.com
https://xronggor6588.wordpress.com
https://xrxgorodov7710.wordpress.com
https://xrxgorodov136.wordpress.com
https://xronggor150.wordpress.com
https://xrongor641.wordpress.com

хроники хищных городов вк
хроники хищных городов книга скачать fb2
смотреть фильмы фантастика хроники хищных городов
хроники хищных городов содержание
сага хроники хищных городов

пожиратели городов трейлер питер джексон 2018
новинки кино 2018 хроники хищных городов
хроники хищных городов ютуб
хроники хищных городов аудиокнига слушать онлайн бесплатно
хроники хищных городов трейлер на русском

Jacobvow 3 days, 14 hours ago → Respond


http://haux.ru/articles-stati/articles-ipoteka/ipotechnye-brokery.html

AllaGlotova 3 days, 23 hours ago → Respond

[Go back to the top of the page]