I Just had my first face-to-face conversation with Dean Robb at Miro District Food & Drink today. Nice guy, fast talker, quirky sense of humor. While describing the process for making the fresh ricotta that accompanies the grilled peach appetizer, he segued into a story about kitchen pranks he used to play on the staff at Bottega in Birmingham.
When a new kid showed up to work, Robb would haze the rookie by asking him to fetch an obscure utensil, such as a polenta stretcher. The polenta stretcher is very expensive, Robb would say, and only restaurant don Frank Stitt has access to it, so go tell Frank you need the polenta stretcher (or some equally fictional and moronic utensil). Now go, and don’t come back without it!
In these parts, that’s what we call sending someone on a snipe hunt.
Since arriving in Nashville as executive chef of Miro and sister restaurant Watermark, Robb has inflicted this humor on the staffs at both tony eateries, no doubt punking Watermark chef Sean Norton in the process. I’m glad I’m not the one asking Norton for the dough repair kit while he's putting the finishing touches on an order of antelope with spiced berries, but it all sounds kind of fun.
So here’s your chance to taunt Iron Fork chef Sean Norton and the rest of the crew at Watermark and Miro. What apocryphal kitchen utensils can chef Robb send them to find? I’m thinking about a garlic de-veiner, a grit fork or a Rube Goldberg contraption like the one pictured above, but I can’t wait to hear what Mr. Pink comes up with.