Everyone in The NikoVash Empire has gone silent for many a reason. That said, we are coming back in force, we have been working on a large number of projects for the underground, so we are releasing a sneak peak of one of them that is soon to release! A full chapter from the upcoming book “Fuck Mayonnaise”!
Thankfully I did not start my culinary career rehashing American diner food, as normally seems to be the case. Actually I fell into this deranged world of cheffing around quite by accident, which I am sure is just saying something to the larger picture of failing vertically positive. Winter 2005 was an interesting time to be living in downtown Seattle; hookah lounges were all the rage and I was such a technician (as there was not a real term that described what we were doing). My close proximity to the flying fish market lead to a dull buzzing noise of never ending tourists and fish mongers, reading from some long forgotten script, so naturally I stayed meditated medicated. This dream was however short lived as we lost our downtown lease, probably because a rag tag group of degenerates in a prominent location in the downtown metropolis was likely the talk largest talk of the health department and snarky business owners alike. Eight months into this endeavor and we transferred to a larger shop on Capital Hill, and soon after fired due to a single lackluster hipsters, as I had discovered he was banging underage girls in the VIP area after we were closed.
Before I could submit this evidence to the owners I was fired weeks before the city who was equally aware of this fact, raided and shut down said unnamed hookah lounge; forever tightening legislation for such places the city over. That aside we did have a regular I had fallen in favor with, a short rotund gentlemen with an almost french accent who always had just ball-dropping-drop-dead-gorgeous women with him at all times; real Californian twelves. Turns out this gent, who we will call Fred, was the owner of a higher end Persian restaurant/nightclub in the Industrial district. Upon learning of my departure he hired me as his personal hookah tech at his restaurant, and occasionally as a bus boy when the heroin junkie he had hired for the job was on one of his famous reckless benders. We would sit around and smoke and drink well into early morning hours. For months I would follow a pattern of school, ‘work’, drinking, death, rinse, and then repeat. A month into this madness he realized I would largely bring in my own food to cook as I had full use of the kitchen as the Mexican head chef and I had bonded over the fact I could make actual Mexican food (a byproduct of my equally strange youth; a different book). One day Fred in a massive hangover of death asked me to make him something off menu as he was tired of eating Persian food all the time. It was a simple BLT of all the stuff I got from the market with the a few additions of focaccia bread and 25 year aged smoked white cheddar I had found at the market, and mashed potatoes, because I am a reckless asshole of refined tastes. This motherfucker had been in America for over 40 years and had never once tried mashed potatoes, he was floored at this stunning revelation in culinary masterpieces… Starting that day he had the head chef train me to prep all the food from then on.
I am going to cut this part of the story short and say that over the next 6 years would be intense training to be a full caliber Persian chef, tons of fuckery and inappropriate situations that may or may not be divulged later in this book. Flash forward to New years 2010 Fred would sell the restaurant to a shifty group of Armenians who I have always assumed were into some mafia type happenings. The day after they acquired the restaurant they informed us all, the kitchen would go back to minimum wage if we had any desire to keep our jobs. It was a full mid shift walk out; truly an epic sight one must see once in their lifetime. All the illegals and the lone white boy of the kitchen walked strait to the bar all grabbed a bottle off the shelves and hit the front door.
A year or so goes by and Fred calls me to check up on me as he would over the next few years, and takes me out to some overpriced steak house. As we were sitting there we talked about his retirement and how he actually did not even need the restaurant as he was well off from being an aeronautics engineer for Boeing. The conversation switched over to my being a line cook at some greasy spoon back in Portland and hating every minute of it. When he asked me why I had to take a pause; the free alcohol, the less than legal nights of parties in the industrial district, the just obscene amount of debauchery that had been my life for the last six years had unintentionally shaped my vision for what I wanted work to be. In a brief moment of clarity, while yes, I did miss all those things, I had come to realize that so much of “Amreican” cooking was actually French, or Mexican, or Spanish or… etc. I liked the Persian style of cooking, and what I liked most was the lack of heavy saucing, which lead me to my professional outlook of just why the fuck do we slather mayonnaise on damn near everything. I rattled this off to him for the better part of an hour when he stopped me and asked, “…wait, so there are other people who hate mayonnaise, it so gross, WHY MUST IT BE ON EVERYTHING!!!”
In this moment I realized Fred would forever be my friend.
Time would press further on and I would find myself at a burger joint, making “high-end” gourmet burgers. Dredged in mayonnaise, day after day after day, when somewhere between a brief moment of not being stoned out of my mind or not hungover (both would have surprised me really), I snapped. I asked the owner why we have to put mayonnaise on every fucking burger, as if it was the savior of the fucking sandwich world? Puzzled he looked at me and declared, “What else would you put on a burger, It’s the American way!”
This my friends was my breaking point. If you have never seen the movie “The Whole Nine Yards,” stop reading this go watch it right now, about 30 minutes into the damn thing Bruce Willis’s character goes off on how putting mayonnaise on a burger is the least American thing you should do and he could just murder anyone who does (paraphrasing here). Point is, what follows be my official declaration of war on the culinary world and their norms:
“Every red-blooded American knows that there are only two,
count them, fucking two,
condiments you are allowed on a burger.
Fucking Ketchup and fucking mustard, that is it!
Anything else is outside the norm and thus should not be attempted
in a mass market appealing restaurant.
Anyone who puts mayonnaise on a goddamn burger is basically
stating, and I am paraphrasing here;
Is that they are a goat fucking terrorist with no respect for
the humble cow or said burger from which it is made”!
This may have earned me a clock to the jaw, of which the ass-beating returned to him was epic. This spot still exists today and if you listen hard enough the kitchen still whispers of it behind his back. I was offered two months pay in the form of cash to never return.
The highlight of that story was apparently when the owner asked me, “Who the fuck do you think you are, you little shit?!” my response apparently was “I’m Rick James BITCH!” Of which my good friend Zoey still holds this over my head to this day; as she puts it, “The only way that situation was going to end was either in tequila or my lawyers office… I achieved both FYI.
Keep it locked and loaded to see what we are going to be getting into the rest of this year!