Just for a moment, pretend you’re Chef Scott Popovic.
You’ve cooked in some of the finest restaurants across the country. You’ve rubbed elbows with chefs so accomplished they’ve re-written the laws of taste. Your food has graced some of the most refined palates in the history of mankind. But that doesn’t make this task any less intimidating.
For the past two weeks, your days have been spent in the kitchen, prepping and counting, cutting and seasoning, vacuum packing and packing in ice. Your nights have been a mix of tossing and turning, checking and re-checking your iPhone to make sure the alarm is set, bothering your wife when you realize sleep just isn’t in the cards.
You worry. A lot.
Will your seven ice chests carrying nearly 4,000 Certified Angus Beef® brand short ribs; boniato mash; and mango, jicama and pineapple slaw have enough insulation to make the two-day transport from Wooster, Ohio, to Aspen, Colorado?
What happens if your chef friend recipient doesn’t get your delivery into the cooler?
You daydream that the delivery van gets hijacked en route. Exactly how long would it take to put together another 4,000 plates?
These were the worries on Chef Scott’s mind as he prepared for this weekend’s Food & Wine Classic in Aspen — where everybody from the iconic Thomas Keller and Jose Andres to Grant Achatz and Anthony Bourdain will be in attendance. Not to mention thousands of foodie fanatics eager to sample the fruits of your labor.
Feeding people is what he does, though. When he was a teenager, he begged his mother to take him to Caxton Cafe to experience the food of a 25-year-old up-and-coming chef named Michael Symon. It’s why he left Northeast Ohio and his family for a higher culinary calling in Charleston, S.C., and its acclaimed Johnson & Wales University. It’s why he buried himself in the craft, logging thousands of 18-hour days feeding droves of high rollers in Las Vegas. This is why Chef Scott Popovic became a chef …
The stress. The worry. The scars and burns on your hands. The satisfaction of seeing people truly delighted to taste something you created …
… and serving those mouthwatering short ribs to celebrity chef Duff Goldman.
You’re Scott Popovic.
You love food and you love your life.