001: Welcome to the Dark Side
Apparently, there is some kind of new electronic media out there, blogging, tweeting, twatting, whatever-the-hell, and I’ve been asked to pretend I know something about all of this. But I’ll write about the restaurant, and you guys can see for yourselves if it’s worth wasting your time to read.
For our initial launch, I’ll tell you ten things you (probably) didn’t know about me.
1. I have been peed on by a lion.
2. I am a self-taught guitarist, and got to play on stage with blues legend Lowell Fulson. Later, I recorded my own music at Prince’s Paisley Park Studios. Before I learned to play guitar, I played harmonica in a bluegrass band.
3. I’d like to find the guy that invented Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups, and kiss him on the lips.
4. I used to tour with rock bands as security. I was stabbed twice working for Van Halen, and, with Waylon Jennings, had a beer bottle broken over my head, requiring 17 stitches. Rock and roll my ass.
5. As a kid, I was an apprentice arsonist, setting fire to the attic in our house, and completely burned down a neighbor’s garage. Even now I blow fire just for kicks, and a half gallon of white gas on charcoal briquettes gets your barbeque ready to cook in about 7 seconds.
6. When we opened in 2002, our first customer tried walking out on his bill. Our server caught up with him outside and brought him back inside to pay.
7. I swam naked from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic ocean.
8. I delivered my third child.
9. I spent a year and a half living off the grid just outside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in a cabin with no electricity, no bathroom, no water, and just a barrel stove for heat.
10. As kitchen manager in a restaurant in Ada, Oklahoma, I slipped on a wet floor and cut through five tendons and bone on my right hand, nearly severing three fingers. They had to shorten some tendons to put my hand back together. I still can’t extend my ring finger.
11. I flunked kindergarten. Kindergarten, for Christ’s sake! The bottom of my report card said, “Mitch would benefit from another year in kindergarten.” My severe asthma kept me at home or in the hospital a lot, but c’mon. That said, I scored in the top 3% of the country on my S.A.T.’s, so maybe it was a good thing after all.
OK. I said “Ten things you don’t know about me” and then give you eleven. Well, I’m attention-deficit, anal-retentive, obsessive-compulsive, bi-polar, and suffer any other number of hyphenated maladies. I cannot do even numbers. Not ever, not for any reason. Even when the cookbook proofs came in, it read “156 Recipes from Hell’s Kitchen.” I just had a fit, like fingernails on a chalkboard, so I called the publisher and said we either add a recipe or take one away, but this book was not going to have an even number or recipes.
Well, that’s it for the first blog, or whatever it’s called. I’m really sorry. After this, I’ll write about a variety of things as they pertain to Hell’s Kitchen and food service in general. That said, send me your questions; we’ll begin there.
Warmest personal regards.
Mitch Omer, Founder/Executive Chef of Hell’s Kitchen