100 Stories: Chef’s Table Opening Night

“Theatre is all about the rehearsal process. In fact, I think a lot of times on opening night, there’s a sadness because you’ve finished with a lot of people’s favourite part, which is finding the character”

Although the initial concept of Chef’s Table was a relatively simple one, from execution to creation, it became a great deal more complex.

For Chef Vincent’s team, opening night meant being on stage, for the first time in their careers, in front of one big opulent Molteni stove, in the middle of the room.

Chef Vincent says: “On opening night, before service, I saw my team of chefs in front of the mirrors nervously putting the finishing touches on their hair and makeup! When we were behind the safety of kitchen wall I never saw that once!”

“When the moment finally arrived, the chefs were smiling, making eye contact, shining in their uniforms. This kind of interaction - was difficult to imagine. But on the night and I saw them walking around with confidence. It was great. And again it was all so well received. The guests were very happy and positive about the food and atmosphere.
Delighted with the experience. The most important thing for me is that the guests leave with a good experience. The rest is secondary.”

“I believe the most important factor to the successful opening night was building the team. We practiced a lot, there was apprehension, we made changes before the opening, but in the end it was smooth.”

“To be honest, when you are concentrating on the task at hand, you forget you are on stage. You are just focusing until someone wants to chat. And that’s nice. It means we have succeeded in breaking down that stuffy ‘fine-dining atmosphere’; where there is often a level of discomfort for everyone in a formal environment.”

“I think as soon as you pass through the door of Chef’s Table, and you receive the first welcome smile by a member of the team, it makes you feel very welcome.”