When a chef asked why OC Weekly wanted to leave behind the serene dining room and step into the world of heat and chaos, we had only one thing to say: Because you people are rock stars. Or maybe pirates. (You’ve got knives, after all.)
Sure, one can blame it on Anthony Bourdain—including the pirate thing. As the tall, tattooed culinary badass continues his multimedia world tour of all things edible, his groupies snatch up each morsel of gastronomic wisdom that drops from his strange, strange plate. But who wouldn’t want to live such a delicious life?
The chefs featured here are living their own versions of it. Behind the swinging steel doors, they are free to express themselves with the food singing in their frying pans; it’s their instrument, their means of traveling to exotic locations—and taking us with them. And the passion and commitment they have for the gig is written all over their arms, chests, backs and feet—and just as likely to fade.
What follows is your backstage, all-access, below-decks pass to a scene covered in more ink than a barrel of pissed-off squid. Bon appétit.