Tab Tricolore, Chef and Restaurateur
In the kitchen, they call him “Chef” and feign a kind of deference to him that lets the kitchen run smoothly and allows them to keep their jobs. In private, the cooks in his restaurants say they respect him for what he’s achieved and for his “encyclopaedic” knowledge of food, but they don’t necessarily condone his behaviour.
Tab Tricolore (pronounced “tree-caa-lore-ay”), famous “bad boy chef” and The Park’s most successful restaurateur, scoots around the equipment in the kitchen of Clowder, the oldest of his four restaurants. His eyes dart back and forth, surveying his kingdom and looking for mistakes his staff has made.
The confidence that he displays, in himself and in his work, belies his origins. The only survivor of a litter of four, he was born on the street to a feral mother and a father he thinks might have been his mother’s father, as well.
“I think I saw him twice, in passing. He came by to see if we had any food he could have. I don’t remember him even looking at us [Kittens],” he says, matter-of-factly.
Almost everything Tricolore says in conversation is delivered in this cadence of matter-of-factness. He speaks primarily in a kind of running monotone, giving his listeners the freedom to punctuate his sentences and to supply emotion where they feel it ought to be. He has no time for emotion, he says. Or regret or longing.
“They write a lot about the feral world,” he says, when he finally sits down to a bowl of broth cooked in Clowder’s kitchen.
“But what they don’t write about is the good part. Sure, it was tough. You never knew where your next meal was coming from or what danger lurked around the corner. You couldn’t trust anybody and you had to learn early to look out for yourself. But I knew my mother. And we stayed together for a long time. That’s more than a lot of domestic Cats can say.”
Tricolore snarls when he’s asked about the apparent incongruity of a starving feral Cat becoming a picky, gourmet chef. The question, often asked, usually gets his back up. But this afternoon, he offers a more mellow response.
“Everybody eats,” he says, in that characteristic monotone. Then, he launches into an a cappella rendition of The Feral Four’s hit song of the same name: “Everybody eats/Maybe not every day…”
When’s he’s done, Tricolore admits that “under different circumstances” he, too, might have been a musician.
And what songs would he have written?
“No regrets,” he says and then he emits a hearty laugh, at both himself and his interviewer.