the soul of a chef and his eyebrows

Cleveland is in my bucket list of places to go before I kick it. He is the only reason I would visit Cleveland. Okay, maybe one of two reasons, but I digress. I’ve been following his career for the past eight years – since Michael Ruhlman first wrote about him in The Soul of a Chef. He is Michael Symon. Chef and owner of Lola and Lolita in Cleveland, and Roast in Detroit, an Iron Chef (who most thrillingly beat Nate Appleman in a challenge), James Beard winner and now cookbook author.

When I found out he was signing at the Williams Sonoma in Union Square, my palms started to sweat, my pupils dilated, and I think I even wet myself. My head swam with this scenario of our introductory meeting – after I regale him with my sweeping Symon knowledge, he invites me back to his hotel suite outfitted with a gourmet kitchen (of course) where he proceeds to fry up crispy pig ears and we pork out.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Not even close. Although, as I inched my way down the line with the other fan boys and fan girls, I tried to think of something witty to say to induce his little girl laughter, or maybe if I asked kindly, he’d let me pat his globulous head. But when I finally reached the signing table, he looked up and flashed me his ha-cha-cha smile,  like Deborah Kerr in “An Affair to Remember,” all I could say was “hello.” And all I could see were his eyebrows.

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