Exchange Alley’s Paul Gerard Shucked Clams for the Mob

"Hey, uh, you got any more lemon wedges over there?"

New Orleans is the muse of chef Paul Gerard's East Village restaurant Exchange Alley, but the Brooklyn native cut his teeth in Bay Ridge as a teen, he says, back "when the mob was still very prevalent." This interview in Paper makes it seem like the budding chef didn't pick up too many advanced knife skills on the job, but Gerard seemingly learned how to keep a crowd happy. "I always saw them in party mode so everything was cool," he says of the mafiosos. "Nobody else would tip you fifty bucks for shucking a half-dozen clams. We'd be running Bloody Marys out to cop cars at two in the afternoon." [Paper, Earlier]