when richie texted me asking me if i'd be up for helping out with hapa at the stand at the ferry building today, i said ok. but i also immediately followed up with wanting a confirmation that the stand would be "camera free". i know that i like to take pictures but i'm not fond of being in front of any sort of camera.
for many reasons.
there was a definite groove and hum to service today. it was a beautiful....just absolutely beautiful day....and there was much going on within the stand as we were running a new chashu as well as soy braised pork jowl (toroniku) as an add on. it never ceases to amaze me how folks are in tune with each other in the stand. i didn't really understand until my random helping out with hapa why a kitchen team is called a brigade. in the case of the hapa, it is really the front of house and the kitchen together. if something happens where one person has to step away from FOH or on the line, someone else on the team immediately steps in to keep things moving. in my "real" job, i set clear expectations for this on my team by assigning a "primary" and "secondary" on every project. this way, if anything happens, the project always makes its deadline. at hapa, it is similar...the team accommodates and changes depending on interactions with clients, the flow of tickets, impromptu meetings with industry, and the like...to ensure that orders are taken, food gets made, and then sent out to the clients.
richie had to step away for a moment and while most of us were garnishing and plating the food....behind me, i heard mrs. hapa ramen ask for confirmation on whether a certain someone was jake gyllenhaal. i took a quick peek over my shoulder to where he was sitting with someone on the wooden plank across from the hapa stand......and then i said "yes, that is jake gyllenhaal." the reason why i was so confident was because in nov 2010, when i was in new york, i had ample amount of time to pretend that i wasn't aware of him in a tiny room before a variety event that GC was moderating. it was a semi traumatic experience. for more details, please feel free to visit my older posting about it.
much conversation went on while we were plating the food that i really won't get into here.
yet, i will go into how at that moment....i didn't think he actually ordered anything from hapa ramen. in hindsight, it makes sense that he ordered from hapa ramen since mrs. hapa ramen asked for confirmation regarding who he was. yet, i didn't realize he actually ordered from hapa ramen until i called out a number and then he got up to walk over the very short distance.
when i saw him get up, i thought "oh shit."
this wasn't a time for my social awkwardness to be front and center....heck...when a famous chef comes to the stand (i.e., such as CC, DP, and the like)....that is typically when i find a reason to scamper into the back...you know...to find more produce to refill bins or something.
also, unlike the time in new york, i couldn't try to hide behind a projector or GC's coat i was holding. i also couldn't pretend that he wasn't there...since he was a client.
when he came up, i treated him just like any other average client. friendly but no extra special treatment. extra special treatment is reserved for hapa extended family and hard-core committed regulars.
i thought that was the safest route to take....because really....if someone is at the farmers market they are likely there to enjoy the day and do their own thing. he wasn't traveling with an entourage. someone asked me later why i didn't take a picture....and when i heard that...i felt like taking a picture in that context would have been inappropriate. he's a person...like anyone else....would likely value a certain level of privacy....and it wasn't like he was performing or "on the job" at an event where pictures would be expected and appropriate. he was picking up food. he also isn't a friend so taking random pictures also seemed inappropriate as well.
i did find it rather hilarious that after he left the stand....a few minutes later....that someone from 4505 meats (to be clear...it wasn't ryan....but someone female) came by to say that they wanted to talk to us about something....and we all thought it was something serious....and then they said that what they wanted to know was whether or not that was jake gyllenhaal that came to hapa.
the reason why i thought that was hilarious is because it is a prime example of how lightening fast the behind the scenes gossip network is in the food industry.
it didn't come from me btw. i didn't tweet/text/communicate on my phone at all during service.
also, after service, i stopped into wing wings to grab a couple of things and the FOH folks introduced me to my first panuchos (top pic). it really didn't surprise me that i ended up here after service. sometimes, i want to go to a place where i know the food is good, where i'm comfortable, and where i can just let my hair down (oftentimes....literally). by the time i arrived home and checked online, i saw that social media had already been all lit up regarding jake gyllenhaal's visit to the ferry building farmers market.
i just shook my head at some of the comments.
like anyone else that comes to hapa....famous, not famous, or something in-between....i hope he enjoyed the ramen and had a positive experience.
Saturday, January 7, 2012
Posted by foodie hunter at 11:52 PM