I arrived in Philadelphia a few days ago, in order to spend time cooking with my daughter Morgan at Fork Restaurant, where she is the sous chef. Imemdiately I was sucked into the never ending vortex of kitchen work, helping her make breads, desserts and appetizers for busy week ahead.
Morgan’s younger sister Kirby also works in the restaurant business in the front of the house, and it’s hard to describe what its like for me to watch my girls toil away with such confidence and skill in the same like of work I have dedicated my own life to. Not only do I experience a feeling of great pride in observing them, but I am excited for the journey they have embarked on, in a profession that never seems short on thrills.
Morgan’s boss, chef Thien Ngo, has worked across the globe, from Japan to France and points inbetween. In his mid-fifties now, his level of knowlege and expertease is enormous. Morgan could not have asked for a better chef to learn the foundations of cooking and kitchen managment. In this era of culinary schools and food network debauchery, her kind of hands-on training is invaluable. When I came up the ranks in my own career over thirty years ago it was much more common to apprentice than it is now.
Fork is a busy place with a large dining room, full bar, rooms for private parties, including a bakery and take out shop for those on the run. They make all of their own breads from scratch, including what was voted the Best Baguette in the city. The great thing about this for Morgan is that she is getting a fully rounded education in all aspects of cooking, something that is very rare in a time when most cooks tend to specialize in one area of expertease or another.
Every Wednesday evening chef Thien and Morgan cook up a special chefs dinner, which is loyally attend by local fans of Thien’s cooking. I am looking forward to seeing what they come up with and I will give you the scoop in my next blog.
Over and out for now.