An old friend died on Tuesday night in New York City. Floyd Cardoz, a 59 year old chef with whom I worked alongside for a year or so at Restaurant Lespinasse. I hadn't kept in touch with Floyd in many years, other than following him on social media and feeling glad that such a nice and talented guy had "made it." And he was the nicest guy. I worked with him on the line. Before I worked in the pastry shop, I worked the garde manger or salad and appetizer station. Lespinasse was a high-end (the highest of high-end) restaurant, and the appetizers and salads were elaborate. I remember one dish had 17 garnishes, and if one was missing, Chef Gray Kunz (our maniacal leader who also recently died but not of Covid) would notice and scream at us something like WHERE IS THE CHERVIL?and we'd be in the shits, in the weeds, poking each other and rolling our eyes and always, always, laughing up our sleeves. Floyd was incredibly talented and just a good, good man. When I read his obituary late on Wednesday night, I cried for him, for his family, for all of us. It's just so horribly sad, and I don't understand how we will bear the coming weeks.
Here's a poem:
Try to Praise the Mutilated World
Try to praise the mutilated world. Remember June's long days, and wild strawberries, drops of wine, the dew. The nettles that methodically overgrow the abandoned homesteads of exiles. You must praise the mutilated world. You watched the stylish yachts and ships; one of them had a long trip ahead of it, while salty oblivion awaited others. You've seen the refugees heading nowhere, you've heard the executioners sing joyfully. You should praise the mutilated world. Remember the moments when we were together in a white room and the curtain fluttered. Return in thought to the concert where music flared. You gathered acorns in the park in autumn and leaves eddied over the earth's scars. Praise the mutilated world and the grey feather a thrush lost, and the gentle light that strays and vanishes and returns.