Every once in a while I get e-mails asking me about Marianne Miller, the chef who ran the kitchens at both Bobino and Red before they closed. I have not heard word one about where she wound up cooking until the other day when I got an email from a PR firm about an event she is participating in that sounded unique, to say the least.
Studio Vincent, a local jewelry design house, is throwing its annual spring event, called The Art of Seduction, on May 4. The event will be held at its huge loft in the Warehouse District. Guests can take a tour of the workshop where designs are created. Stephen Lehman, the jewelry designer, will be on hand showcasing the newest pieces from the new line. Sounds pretty normal, but there’s a twist—food for the event is being prepared by Marianne Miller, the Judge Crater of the local cooking scene. The menu sounds good . . . .
Sea salt–crusted root chips with tapenade, polenta crepes, seared sea scallops with watercress sauce, grilled figs with mascarpone and prosciutto di parma, grilled pencil asparagus with goat cheese mousse, New Zealand green-lipped mussels with smoked bacon broth and chervil pesto . . .you get the drill.
All the beverages will be provided courtesy of Sam Haislett of Sam's Wine Shop, one of my favorite stores in the Cities. Here’s the kicker: The whole point of the party, according to the event description, is to give you everything you need to know how to woo the one you love. Kind of like a ‘key party,’ but with a food focus. Besides offering a tongue-in-cheek theme, geared toward folks looking to hook up with more frequency or with better results, the event also benefits the Smile Network International. Nice combo.
OK, let’s recap: If you want to attend an event that will help Smile Network perform more facial reconstruction surgery in second- and third-world countries, and you want to eat some good food, drink some good booze, and shop for some cool jewelry, while at the same time improving your chances of getting laid, then this is the event for you.
Hopefully Marianne will land something soon—behind a stove in a restaurant. She’s a good cook and could flourish under the right circumstances. Many chefs endure struggles early on in their careers; saying yes to the right job at the right time is tough. And MM has chosen some goofy places to hang her toque. The woman has talent and needs to be in an environment that allows her to be at her best, and she needs to work for someone who has a keener eye toward ‘editing’ what she cooks, at least more than her last two bosses did. The Red team had no clue how to manage their chef and her kitchen and Bobino was already dead when Miller cooked there, but wouldn’t admit it. Too many chefs both here and across the country take top jobs before they are ready to execute at the highest levels. The cooking school glut, cult of celebrity, and a perverse sense of entitlement have created a generation of would-be chefs who want it all and want it now. Some of them can get there, but as Freud famously suggested, patience is the leading indicator of maturity. It will be interesting to see if Miller can bloom the next time she sets her roots in new soil.