Friday, February 22, 2008

Theodore Mazur Bonk

In 1980, Luciano Pavarotti performed for the Virginia Opera at a sold-out Chrysler Hall in Norfolk, Virginia. I was asked to cater a post-concert fundraiser at the the Chrysler Museum a few blocks away. It was quite an honor, as Pavarotti was in the prime of his career (and a great connoisseur of food). For the people who paid thousands per seat to charity for the concert, we set up two 60-foot long tables- one with an elaborate array of anti-pasta including salamis, vinaigrettes...everything you can think of (we didn’t want it to be ordinary) down the center, with plates scattered all along the way and the other table overflowing with beautiful desserts, displayed similarly. For Pavarotti and his entourage, a total of 12 people, I prepared an elaborate, multi-course meal- including fried baby artichokes, Roman style. In 1980, they didn’t sell baby artichokes in markets like today- we had to get them flown in from a farm in California. The main course was a superb veal dish, there was soup, salad- I pulled out all stops for this menu.

Two short hours before the concert, Pavarotti informed me that he was dieting, and requested only plain broiled fish. I had to scour Tidewater to find fish suitable to serve Luciano Pavarotti! I called a fisherman friend and he had some flounder in his freezer. We rushed to pick up the flounder, defrosted it, and prepared it the way Pavarotti requested.

After the concert, we knew that Pavarotti and his entourage wanted to be fed upon their arrival. He was seated and we carried out his meal of broiled flounder on a big silver tray, and started with the soup course of the meal for the rest of his entourage. They progressed through many courses with appreciative smiles and gestures. Pavarotti, of course, only ate the flounder, prepared plainly - the only flourish on it was a lemon wedge.

After savoring his flounder, Pavarotti walked up to me and thanked me, saying it was a wonderful dinner. Then he pulled me over towards him and kissed me on both cheeks. It was wonderful. I didn’t wash up for days.

1 comment:

JB said...

that is the coolest story- you win! I bet he was sorry he was dieting after seeing your spread!