Chefs who own the restaurants were between the first to feel the consequences of covid-19. Restaurants are places of social gatherings, so most of them needed to close, with the owners and employees remaining not only wtihout what they love doing but also without their income. I am daily interviewing chefs, starting with the Italian ones who were between the first to feel the consequences. How did they deal with it? Yesterday I talked with Niko Romito, today talks to you Eugenio Jacques Christiaan Boer from Bu:r in Milano:
Today talking with Eugenio Boer of Bu:r in Milan:
How did your city change because of the virus?
Milano is as beautiful as always, just pretty empty and lacks life. The shops are closed and empty, same with bars and restaurants. Seeing them without people who put life into them, is sad.
The worst were the first days of quarantine when we didn’t know how to manage our time and what to do. Being thrown out of our daily routine – especially when you are used of the dynamics of a restaurant – can be pretty scary at the beginning. But we have more time for us now, for those we love, for our home, for the family, for our animals. More time to cook a dish that smells of Sunday even if you are cooking it on Wednesday for example. Time to see the film you always wanted to see, for reading the book that was waiting so long to be read. It’s not so bad staying at home if it helps to save lives.
What was your first thought when coronavirus appeared and how do you see it now?
At the beginning it was a whispering fear, nobody knew the face of this monster. It seemed like a ghost. My first thought was protecting the people I love. Carlotta (my partner), my guys and girls (the team), my friends … Now I see it as a real monster which we are fighting with all the arms we have. But the strongest one is staying at home.
How are you spending these days?
With Carlotta and Nanuk (our beautiful dog). Behind the stove also at home, and between the books looking for new recipes. We are thinking of a new menu and dreaming of reopening of our restaurant.
Quite some chefs have now, when restaurants are closed or empty, started offering their food as a take-away. What about you?
I have no plan for a take-away option. Firstly because I believe it’s too dangerous to carry on with the restaurant and expose my team to the physical contact. Secondly, my cuisine would miss a lot sent out without the explanation of the dishes and the magic we are trying to create for our guests every evening.
What are you doing to remain positive?
I never stop dreaming.
There will be more awareness. A better public spirit that somehow got lost. We will be more united, readier to help and support each other, also between the chefs.
This “staying at home” time can be also a great time for reflection. Do you think it will provoke some change in your life and work?
We can’t just expect that things will change. It’s on us to listen and understand what this world needs and see if something changed.
Do you have any message for other chefs around the world?
We need to unite. It doesn’t matter how important we are, how many restaurants we have, how many awards. We need to hold each other’s hand because we all need this. Kitchen and food have, in the end, always been like a glue for the world.