[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...



Add your comment

Your email address will not be published.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

Comment form

Новыесмотреть онлайн кино 2017 2018
Kingsman: Золотое кольцо

pctxncud 6 months ago → Respond

hills, is fault in's passed not BIRON Speak are in

Jjvso101f 6 months ago → Respond

It is energy efficient and well worth the money we paid for it. Looks like a problem in the thermostat of the AC. Air Conditioning Repair Yelp I will be referring all of my friends, neighbors and family to Hannabery HVAC! To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Perhaps a relay or Capacitors? Air Conditioner Repair Service This unit contains a heat pump to provide cooling as well as heating in temperatures above freezing.

Please enter your zipcode. Advantages of the ductless system include smaller size and flexibility for zoning or heating and cooling individual rooms. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEcyT6at_KTzM0udnoZEaqSYUe7ouncV0 Tools What links here Related changes Upload file Special pages Permanent link Page information Wikidata item Cite this page.

leasteWaife 6 months ago → Respond


Robertneism 6 months ago → Respond


thank space much, they to sore wonder'd not 200

Qurhu833r 7 months ago → Respond

The manufacturer DOES NOT charge for it. He kept me updated as he worked and made sure I understood everything that was going on. A/C Repair And Sales The rate is a computed value based on time, general materials, and company overhead like the office, phones, gas, etc.

Peter from Vic: Brivis Split System AC Installation. Local Air Conditioning Repair Companies How to Clean All the Fans in Your House. Email or Username: Email or username is incorrect.

The blower unit and ducting system. http://felicastahl79.hatenablog.com/entry/2017/08/26/013046 The systems we tested in the past had a single indoor unit, did an excellent cooling job, and were much quieter than window air conditioners.

leasteWaife 7 months ago → Respond

Sunny Leone Sex Vide0. Xvidios mobile. https://wapus.info/ Philipine sex girl. Amazing breast sex.

Onfuq488i 7 months ago → Respond

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

Lussg662a 7 months 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 7 months 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 7 months ago → Respond

[Go back to the top of the page]