THE CHEF + THE OWNER
Transformed, as I have been, by heat, pressure, hard work, luck, and support, I can say this: I may be the only person who could utter “living the dream” solemnly. My partners, Leslie and Alan and I opened plant in 2011 with the intention of making and remaking the best restaurant we could. And now I have the best job I could imagine, have ever imagined. The people you see here, as photographed by Nathan Burrows (the Viking), make plant possible nightly. In a rare endeavor not requiring their assistance, I have written about each of them. It’s on me…
THE PASTRY CHEF
She’s judging your cakes; it’s her job. Pastry chef who descended these hills a high goddess of garde manger, plant founder, and the boss of you rolled into one. A culinary school trained broker of information: Want to learn to whisper to yeast? Want to swim nearest euphoria in a mountain waterfall? She’s got this. But we need her here, as a matter of life. Leah is the double X in our helix.
THE SOUS CHEF
Sous chef from the brutal north, core confidant, vice chancellor of the codes, and plant founder. Escaped a restaurant future for a future restaurant. Grew up fast…imagining science everywhere it should be, and insisting that tomorrow is better…if arrived at logically. Nathan: A Viking with an ethic, destined not to sail away, but to stay…and cook.
THE SUPER HOSTESS + YOGI
Host, S. ‘S’ For ‘Super.’ MEG: 1,000,000 handstand inversions. Incomparable force of nature, all-capable envoy to plant seekers. Yogi to the stars—or to kittens named ‘star’—which is it? If she glares at you, then she likes you. If she smiles, well…maybe just take your seat. The one that gets all the hugs, Meghan.
THE SENIOR AMONG THOSE WHO SERVE
Senior among those who serve. Lead guy led by an understated desire to establish equilibrium in life. Control it! Do not exclaim. Your experience at plant is going to reward you. Patterns emerge. Early mornings in the homebuilt woodshop, pint nights, then flee. Come correct; calm comes easy. Jesse.
THE CREW MANAGER + RESCUER
¿Es posible querérsele a alguien más que a Dalia Esmeralda Marchorro Nino? ¿Puede que exista alguien capaz de dirigir a nuestro equipo en línea recta, considerando nuestras desviaciones colectivas? Una madre podría; esta mamá sí lo hace. Nos rescata sabiamente de nosotros mismos, hace su trabajo mejor que nadie en el planeta. Inteligentísima. Sumamente tenaz. Es Esme de apodo, Esme para siempre.
Is it possible for someone to be more loved than Dalia Esmeralda Marchorro Nino? Is it likely that there’s anyone who can steer this crew in a line as necessarily straight given our aggregate warp? A mother could; this mom does. Keenly rescues us from ourselves, is better at her job than anyone on the planet. Supersmart. Superssturdy. Esme for short, and forever.
THE PRINCIPAL ROUNDSMAN
Culinary school: A distraction for a man who cooked 1,000 plates from a treehouse kitchen. He may look worried, but don’t fret…he is. Things to consider: cooperation, co-opting of culinary technique, cooperative co-opting of talents newly considered culinarily suspicious. The principal roundsman of our virtuously declarative clan. Why be anything else? Be. Ken.
THE TAKER OF CARE
Sublime, isn’t it: Demonstrably eager, even in the astral light of tonight? Sublimation is no longer at the zenith of unique: Lisa is your server tonight. Gifts you. Taker of care. Knows how to make secret life happen. You can keep a secret, yes? Smiles not on loan; you can keep them, too. Vegan tough for 20 years plus. She’s interrupted your regularly scheduled dinner…Lisa.
THE CHEF WHO WAS RAISED ON PLANTS
It’s cool. No, really…it’s cool, man. Far beyond us, at the conscious pedestrian’s crossroads of dominion and true sovereignty…further, to a steeply edged crag. First to appear: strange undomesticated birds or their stranger eggs? Ethereal intercourse among us planteaters and our biological antecedents. He cooks at the precipice of certainty! Ahimsa. Drew: Raised on plants, and raising plants: Praecroquere.
THE TECHNICIAN OF HOPE
Let’s imagine an ice cream flavor that doesn’t exist. It could be similar in texture to that which we revere as ice cream; it could strike awe in our community. For scions’ sake, we wish to enshrine that perfect sphere on its cone. And yet, an absolute equation for recreating that fantastic experience is impossible. If left to us, the quotient melts; the remainder thins. Paige, our clever technician of hope.
THE CREATIVE ALTRUIST
Showing, telling, always working, living newfound means. Paper, scissors, rock & roll, lives creatively. Hell-a-awesome altruist, supporting those in need. Protracted pluck pursuantly, supports plant health, indeed. Feministic factotum who fellow-frowns on lien: Routine spasms of the heart, lub-dub on fraying sleeves. Futuristic icon for the post-postmodern ‘she’…Gaelic’ly in just a word, our essence, our Colleen.
THE SAVVY PROTECTANT
At the time you notice that roaming, reddish-green, be-speckled stem among its group—large in stature, emergent, preservation savvy, standing agog as protectant—you’re already happily situated. When the fields of nuclear medicine and neural vibrational healing merge—and they will—"Hail Kristy shot caller.” Errant adventurer, matriarch, bliss-casting Sunday host on post at plant, “to know, know, know her…”
THE GUY YOU'VE ALWAYS KNOWN
I mean, it’s not like you’re just meeting him…you’ve known Ryan forever. We all have. Of the male clan on the front lines, he is timeless, perhaps eternal. Kaleidoscopic humor, telescopic earnestness: Subtle evolution of your dinner envoy. Pellets of plant food and add some water…Midwest firework blossom. Come for the dining experience, stay for the rewards. Be surprised by Ryan.
THE EXPERIMENTAL LEARNER
Culinary school vinyl limited-release liner notes:
Tracks 3, 6, and 10 written in South Carolina, recorded in San Francisco. Trey would like to thank his family, his daughter, his influences.
Long voyage, a millennium away…now, experiential learning at his fingertips. Spins the work into an intellectual taming of the periphery, bringing the nuance back into focus, as focused as the saxophone in solid contemporary Australian pop music. Solidity is itself a trait which distinguishes few. Among them, Trey.
THE COMPLEX INDIVIDUAL
It’ll cook up like this: 1. Perceptions of inkblots. 2. Translate visions. 3. Ingredients non- sequitur. 4. Find peace in a dissolving status quo. 5. Lose yourself in a found occupation. 6. Reduce. 7. A moment’s solace. 8. It’s gone. 9. Survival is easy for some. 10. Cooking pushes you outer and outmost. 11. Make a note: Cooking takes its just toll. 12. Repeat with a further enlightened perception. 13. Refute theories that any worthy endeavor could require only 12 steps. Your self-proclaimed “complex individual,” Derek.
THE FUNNIEST WOMAN + CHARMER
It’s likely that you’ve looked, but there’s no card like Audrey in your deck. Funniest. Woman. Ever. She’s got service chops stolen from the dark side. Arrived at plant…she has arrived. Incorrigible charmer of the unchartered space between you and satiation. Audrey, you’re dancing again, Joy. You’ll write home about her…