I was in Dumbo tonight for the launch of Photoville’s photography exhibit, The Fence. 1000 feet of Fence is covered by large-scale prints of local photographers. (My friend Barry has several of his photographs on the fence.) I was anticipating that I would find my stranger at the party. On my way, I passed by Mark standing in a doorway, and turned and walked back to ask to take his photo.
I turned back, because it was one of those perfectly directed moments you see in movies. Kitchen worker or chef standing at the back door of a cool local restaurant. Maybe he’s taking a break or waiting for a delivery. I explained my project and Mark said ok. Just then he was indeed getting a delivery. Typical, regular moment in the life of a chef. Maybe I could get the delivery guy in the shot too. It’s probably the same guy every day. Mark told him, he would take care of bringing the delivery in and the guy left. After I took Mark’s photos, I was getting his information: name, age, occupation, best piece of advice (I’ve added that into the project.) When it got to occupation I started him off by saying, soo, are you the Chef here, or… “No, I’m not really a chef.” Oh, a cook? “I’m an accountant for a corporate travel agency.” Oh, and you just do this on the side? I started thinking maybe this was an underground supper club. “Noooo.” I looked a little closer at the surroundings. The delivery that stood in the hallway behind Mark, was from Fresh Direct. There were buzzers outside for each apartment. I realized we were standing in front of Mark’s apartment building, not the backside of a restaurant and not a supper club (well that hasn’t been confirmed or denied. I forgot to ask.) This is your apartment? It wasn’t that I was disappointed, but I was really surprised at how much of the story I had made up- all of it. So do you like to cook? I was hoping that was at least true, he was wearing a white apron after all. (Turns out it was Swag from a restaurant.)
Mark does like to cook and he sounded like he would have wanted to be a chef at one point. He’s been warned not to start down the road to the chef’s life after 30, because it’s so hard on your body. Is that true?
By the way, his best piece of advice was: Don’t Panic.
Mark looked like a chef on break at the backdoor. ©Katarina Kojic