Last night was great! I continue to be surprised and amazed at the people who tumble or gracefully enter my door. What drives people to seek out secret supper clubs? How do they even find out about us? One of the diners yesterday had simply put some words like food, travel, fusion into the search bar on google and found the Nomad Chef. Is that even possible? I just tried, and found that if I added the word “nomad” to the other three that there we are near the top of the list. But, who would take the adventure into a secret restaurant found on a random search like this?
The great news is that there are many adventurers looking for new gastronomic heights to scale, new relationships to forge, and unknown territories to discover. And I am in search of the same things, so we met in a space where our taste buds, friend finder compasses and search for the new and unknown were aligned.
The night was even more special than all of that for me. One of the things served to this adventurous group of diners was a mole sauce that I made with my son just before he died. Yes, it was more than a year ago that we put it in the freezer. It was one of our favorite dishes. We had spent a day making it, as we had done once a year for about 7 years. A tradition for us for most of my years on the Cap d’Antibes when he came to visit me from Los Angeles or New York and one that carried over to London. It was on of our things that we did together. (And no, it was not too old to eat.) It was kind of like a shrine to him, stored in the freezer. I carefully drove the sauce from my last flat where he lived with me for about 2 years as a grown man, about 3 minutes away in the car, to the new flat where he never lived or visited.
The only artifacts of my son’s existence, the vestiges of him in my new life, my new house without him, are his hat (that I put on the coat stand in the living room to give me the sense of his presence and the feeling that he has only gone out for a minute and will be right back) and a couple of cardboard archive boxes in a cupboard. And there was the mole, safely stored in the freezer. But now the mole, made with both of our hands, one of us who is now an angel or maybe more (who knows how the hierarchy works up there), the last of his love expressed as food, has been consumed. It’s not unlike the wafer on the tongues of those who participate in a catholic communion. His love went into our mouths. It was his hands that touched the dozen or so varieties of chili peppers and ingredients that went into this Mexican party food. It was his heart and soul that went into his last supper with me last night.
The dinner was truly holy. I’d decided on the theme for this Wednesday dinner at the Nomad chef: Cinco de Mayo but I hadn’t thought about his potential participation in it. And yet somehow the universe conspired to send a few of his friends to our secret restaurant to partake in the communion with him. It is “our” restaurant, as in “his and mine” because it was his inspiration and legacy. An ex-girlfriend of his from California and her new husband happened to come this week for their honeymoon, and then to this dinner. A couple of his close friends from here in London happened to come for this dinner – partly because they love to honor the Nomad Chef (originally his baby) and partly because of the menu. And then there were the strangers. My son would be happy that I am filling my home with food and strangers. But more than anything he would get a great comfort, and laugh, at the thought of his holy mole!