Kelly Neil

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An antiquated spirit from days of yore.

Unless you've worked in a restaurant kitchen.

You see, in a restaurant kitchen, brandy is part of the routine, part of the clockwork, part of the machine.

I worked with a chef that was so stressed out he would sit at his desk next to the walk-in freezer and chain smoke while he gulped glasses of brandy. And not the good stuff either. I'm talking the 1.5L magnum of D'Eaubonne that cost about $25 at the time. He probably drank two bottles a week - maybe more. And no one. ever. said. a word.

I've worked with cooks who could reduce heavy cream with brandy and make it taste like a miracle.

I've worked with cooks who would deglaze with huge sweeping theatrical splashes, always wanting more fire, more flame. Sometimes the hot orange tongues licked so close to the fire suppression nozzles it's a wonder we weren't all covered in foam and forced to shut down for the night.

I've worked with so many cooks over the years. Some good, some bad, some lazy, some mediocre, some that didn't give a shit except for when the next payday was coming.

But every once in a while there'd be one.

One that was so gifted with true natural talent and cared so much it could damn near take your breath away.

Cheers to them.