Yesterday I got sad news about my friend and chef Michael Kobylanski. Apparently, he passed away last weekend. It had been a beautiful day up till then, sun shining outside, inside cooking up a good lunch. The day reminds me of Michael. He wasn't just a dedicated cook. He was a lover of the Sarangi and all sorts of Eastern mystic stuff or other quirks that made him who he was. Special. I will miss him, whether for his politically incorrect jokes or his perfect imitation of one of the characters from Deliverance.
He once greeted me at his apartment wearing overalls without a shirt. "Howdy Clem", he said, pinching his nipple, a typical Michael-moment. The man was full of laughs, once spiking a waiter's egg sandwich with Nigerian cayenne pepper, which became a regular event.
He also baked incredible breads, unorthodox and with a hand feel approach. His pizzas were brilliant. And as an innovator, he always encouraged us not to follow the mise-n-place list of our former chef, a guy characterized by over-seasoning, herbs and copious amounts of flavored lipids. What was hilarious was the same chef tasting our food, believing we'd followed directions, telling us how wonderful it turned out because of his specialized ingredients. Knowing better, Michael and I just listened, sharing a grin.
What I most recall was Mike's professional irreverence. He never could seriously respect the food wannabe, or the superstar chefs. Mike would much prefer eating at home with his beloved wife Renata than try the latest trendy supposed hot-spot. Not that he always stayed home. He sought interesting eats with passion, and looked to push the imagination of younger chefs. I'll always recall him encouraging those working under us. In the stress filled and sometimes less then friendly field we call cooking, Mike stood out as a stand-up guy.
I have so many stories I could share of my good friend, I am sorry we didn't spend as much time together to gather more memories, but I wish him sunshine and good lunches and love, wherever he is.
Rest in peace friend, dziękuję.