Is George Mendes the New Nathan Lane?

He runs a tight ship. Go watch!
He runs a tight ship. Go watch! Photo: Patrick McMullen

The short answer is: not in any way, shape, or form. However, the Times has a story about the theaterlike experience of dining at Aldea, watching the drama of the dinner rush unfold on the seat of your chair. Such chairs happen to be a basil-leaf away from Mendes’s kitchen, where “not even a silver of glass separates you from the action.” The writer watches with baited breath (probably garlicky) as Mendes swears a bit and flings a plate in a moment of sous-chef tension, but is mostly elegant, impermeable, and hard at work. (If he were to star in the unconfirmed Top Chef, the Musical, he would play the role of Chef Strong ‘n Silent.) The piece concludes with a bold declaration: “I’m not quite of the school that believes chefs are artists. Good food enhances the joy we may take in life, but can it really express a vision of life the way art can?” A weighty question. Especially around that crowd. [NYT]

Related: George Mendes on High-fiving with Ferran Adrià and Other Memories of Working at El Bulli