High class dumpster diving. The perfect pot.
Before Francesco opened the restaurant Mercato, he had a sandwich shop in the back of the Red Hook Inn mmm mmm off the parking lot.
There’s a remarkable recycled cooking store in San Francisco where my beloved Dutch oven entered my kitchen. Loved the look of yours! With cast iron pans in tow let’s go to the lost island...
Brilliant as always
Oh so lovely to read about my cousin! Ruth you’ve inspired us to do a cousin collaboration in the fall when my book Italy by Ingredient comes out.
I worked with Francesco at Giobatta as a line cook during the restaurants re-opening in the fall of 2020 while I was living in Tivoli and finishing my degree nextdoor at Bard. I am sorry to report that the man he presents himself as to his customers, friends, and the press could not be more different than how he treated the staff. In my 6 months working for Francesco I witnessed and directly endured a litany of abuses directly from Francesco and witnessed a whole rolodex of steryotypically abusive chef behavior; screaming matches between Francesco and any number of people were a nearly daily occurance, it was not uncommon for the plates, pots, and other containers to be slammed or broken during an especially viscous arguments, often Francesco would use slurs in Spanish or Italian to refer to Queer people and people of color, and of course copius ammounts of alchol were constantly being consumed (but thats not particulary unique to his kitchen).
There are many anecotes and first hand stories I could share but I think they're beside the point. Francesco, frankly, ran a cruel kitchen. As I am sure you know this is a sad reality for those of us who have worked in restaurants. My experience at Giobatta was not an exceptionally hellish experience as far kitchen work goes, rather, it is the norm. I have a great ammount of respect for you as a critic and as an author and I hope you can believe one cooks story.
Such a touching piece. I feel as though I’m sitting across the table from you, Ruth. Francis! Dan! A visit to Francesco this summer is now on the list.
old bardian from the '70s.........whenever I could always went to Mercato and order the ravioli in sage butter sauce.....swooning! have yet to taste the food in the new place in Tivoli where I lived back in the day.......TY for this article have to get my tush back there
I sure wish that trattoria was in the Red Hook in Brooklyn!
It’s such a shame the Gilt Taste articles are not archived online. I printed a number of Francis Lam’s as they were published and have them in a loose-leaf binder.
Just love the waste-not list! Brilliant stuff - and hanks so much for posting the menus.
As always your writing is comparable to a painting. Describing a moment that many people feel but can’t express.