Saturday, October 31, 2009

La Fontaine aux Perles and Chef Gesbert

This place I work, La Fontaine aux Perles, is owned by a man named Rachel Gesbert. He not only is the Executive Chef but as I found out a few days ago he also lives on the site with his girlfriend Sophie. He's obsessed with his restaurant, has built it from the ground up and from what Gina and I heard through the grapevine, the only thing Chef Gesbert wouldn't trade for his restaurant is his mother. After pondering that statement we discovered he would trade his three children, his girlfriend of three years who runs the front of the house and an amazing staff. Our friend in the kitchen, Hugo, who speaks English, told us "Chef is a madman..."
I believe it 100%.

Each shift is the same. We all prep our butts off, eat family meal, begin service and then Chef Gesbert trots in. You can hear his piercing voice coming from the hall before he enters in his designer jeans, pointed brown leather shoes (with small heels), black chef coat and seriousness. He plays the role of expeditor and yells out orders walking up and down the kitchen waving his hands. Most often than not he becomes angry at something within a shift and the kitchen changes from a composed and confident atmosphere to a stressed one. Last night I thought his rage sounded like a 5 year old temper tantrum, in French of course. He flipped his lid at one of the cooks who accidentally put butter beans in with the steamed vegetables while plating. If I didn't know any better I would think someone just lost the Chef thousands and thousands of dollars and he was going to have to close his establishment and choose another career. The funny thing is that in the middle of his tantrum he came up to me and pointed to a saute pan with Sole and kindly said a quick sentence in French telling me what to do as though it were an ordinary hour and ordinary behavior. Maybe I need to be enlightened on what "normal" behavior is for French Chefs.

Check out the restaurant van below..."RS" stands for the one and only Rachel Gesbert. There are also plates within the restaurant that have these same symbol engraved in them.

I should point out that aside from his frequent rages during service he is a really nice man to Gina and I and has bent over backwards to get us in for externship. He also showed genuine concern about my Dad when I came back and wanted to know the status of everything which was very sweet.

I've just learned to completely stay out of his way during service and watch the commotion from a safe just never know what he'll be nit-picky about next!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Charles de Gaulle Airport

I'm back in France. Yes, crazy.

My Dad and I talked it out and now that he's stable (God is good) and is onto a future of recovery and clinical trials at UCSF, Jared and I are back in school/externship and for me that means hitting the ground running again at La Fontaine aux Perles in Rennes, France.

To get back I went SFO to Dallas, Dallas to Charles de Gaulle (Paris), bus to train station (over 1 hr.) and then a 2 hr. train ride to Rennes. Forgetting everything else, I'd like to fill you in on Charles de Gaulle.

The airport is HORRIBLE. I would say avoid it at all costs if you have the choice, especially if you're traveling alone since there won't be anyone to share the misery with. After experiencing the airport a few times now I think of it as a massive concrete structure full of confusing signs, construction, taxis/buses/cars and a number of different languages being spoken at once.
A few months ago my Dad and his work buddy came to France on business and I received this email from him speaking of Charles de Gaulle:

"This airport has been solely designed to make you appreciate everywhere but here. Someone could use it as a case study for mass confusion...Amir is walking as though someone put a bag over his head and spun him around...and that's every 10th step. You can't find the restrooms, let alone the gates...oh, you thought you were in the correct TERMINAL!?...yeah, get on a bus and go to the next city! I asked 2 people who WORK HERE for directions...forget shook his head and the other looked as though she were about to cry."

I couldn't have said it better myself.

The good news is I'm sitting in the apartment right now that Gina found while I was away (what a trooper) safe and sound listening to the rain patter on the roof. Back to the grind....stories from the kitchen soon to come.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Update 101

I am so grateful for family and friends, diligent prayer warriors and the wealth of support my family and I have received since hearing the news about my Dad.
Thank you so much.

Here are some facts of the current situation:

1. My Dad had a successful surgery and now has a scar with tons of staples on the right side of his head and it's shaped like a giant staple. Pretty ironic right?

2. He is still hopeful for getting better, still trusting in the Lord for healing, and still cracking jokes. He is an inspiration.
(He was taking a pain med called "norco" and insisted on calling it a "bronco" so he could tell the nurses he wanted to "ride the bronco into the sunset")

3. He has more friends than I ever thought imaginable and they all care so so so much. What a blessing. I guess he's kind of a big deal at work...
(actually, funny story, last night one of his old co-workers came in and after recognizing one another in the elevator we did a half hug with a side kiss that I didn't know was we ended up brushing lips and basically almost getting to first base. awesome)

4. Purell must be making a fortune these days in the hospital market...shoot, everyday I read the sign outside the door that tells me to "gel in and gel out."

5. We're continuing to pray the swelling in my Dad's brain goes down so they don't have to go in and drain it themselves...and that he'll get into a clinical trial at UCSF

6. I'm officially in the Bay Area for an unknown period of time. France will still be there when all this is over with their quirky habits, weird store hours and cobblestone roads. Until then, here is a picture I took in Rennes a few weeks ago at a flower shop that I the wooden ladder, love the buckets and love the sign.

Monday, October 5, 2009


Rennes, France

I once heard those who built cathedrals in the past made them large so people would feel small and recognize God's power through that. If you've ever been in a huge one you know the feeling I'm talking about.

In times of struggle I think it's necessary to remember that we are small and powerless without the hand of God. He is the only one capable of providing the strength we need.

"In the day when I cried out,
You answered me,
And made me bold with
strength in my soul."

- Psalm 138:13

My family is struggling right now with news my Dad is sick with cancer. Will you pray that God would heal him and that His glory would be revealed through that? I not only believe in the power of prayer but also that every prayer counts.