Tab Tricolore, Chef and Restaurateur
“Evolution” is a dirty word in the Animal world, but The Park’s most successful restaurateur is not afraid to use it. As he prepares to open his fifth restaurant, he muses about the attitudinal changes he has witnessed and the rôle that chefs have played in those changes.
Tab Tricolore (pronounced “tree-caw-lore-ay”), famous “bad boy chef” and The Park’s most successful restaurateur, has dust up his nose, but he doesn’t seem to mind. Having refused the offer of a mask and a tour guide, he walks stealthily through the unfinished space that will soon be home to his newest venture. Eating was a very private activity before. Now, it’s become not only a public one, but a social one, as well. We go outside of our own dwellings to engage in it. We eat in front of others. And, not just in front of them, but with them. That difference in habitude is huge.
“This one is special,” he whispers, surrendering his signature monotone to the emotion of the moment.
The PurrrBoy Café at the Park Museum, which will commence service a few weeks before the museum officially opens, has been designed by Tricolore’s favourite firm, Tagma Designs. Though their work isn’t yet evident, Tricolore is confident they will stay true to his vision.
“They know me and they know my tastes, even as they evolve,” he says.
Tricolore talks often about seeing himself as the prime educator of Park Animals’ palates. Indeed, in his recently completed book, “The Evolution of Taste” (to be published in 2015), he admits to giving himself a huge dollop of credit for the success of the restaurant business in The Park.
But his interest these days lies less in palates than it does in what he calls the “evolution of habitude.”
What Tricolore is talking about is the way in which Park Animals now schedule their lives and the new way in which they view not just food, but eating.
“For thousands of years, it was basically the same: find food, eat, sleep, mate, find food, eat, sleep, die. It sounds bad, but that was the way we lived. Most species of Animals didn’t forage together, let alone eat together. We take it for granted now, but eating was a very private activity before. Now, it’s become not only a public one, but a social one, as well. We go outside of our own dwellings to engage in it. We eat in front of others. And, not just in front of them, but with them. That difference in habitude is huge,” he declares.
And that difference has made all the difference to The Park’s restaurateurs. But it has presented challenges, too.
“It’s a cliché but it’s true: chefs are creative types. And we like to see our creativity appreciated. But we’ve had to push for acceptance in The Park. We’ve had to push Animals to try not only our food, but our ideas about eating. That evolution of habitude that we see evidence of now…that is the result of our efforts and we’re still at it. We’re still having to map it out for our customers,” he says.
Map it out?
Tricolore answers with a mocking tone. “Yes, you can eat even if you’re not hungry. Yes, you can eat more than once a day. Yes, you can eat something you haven’t found yourself. And you may even like it.”
Despite his tone, the Chef says he’s sympathetic to what he calls “the novice diner.”
“It’s a whole new world and, depending on your experiences and your species, you may not want to participate. I understand that. But it’s my job and my colleagues’ job to convince you that it’s a positive thing. And if I can’t do that … if I don’t do that … if you don’t enjoy my restaurant and my food and I mean both, then I’ve failed and I deserve to have failed,” he says.
But isn’t that a bit harsh?
“Not in the least,” Tricolore argues. “Because I’ve let you down. I know how wonderful the experience can be and I haven’t been able to show that to you. And, for a chef, that’s the worst failure of all.”
The PurrrBoy Café is scheduled to open later this year.