Chef Doug also taught me a lot of what I know about drug addiction, he taught me how to snort a line of cocaine, how to use a bullet to deliver the perfect kick of Ketamine when I was coming down, and how to push a refrigerator over in a fit of detox rage. He also taught me a little of what I know about making love.
Every time I cook I think of Doug, every single time I see a endive or a heirloom tomato, or a lamb lion or a wheel of gorgonzola or even when I serve my family a dinner that could be better, I think of him. I worked for him for four years, off and on. I met Doug because I used to borrow ingredients for the small cafe I worked at. I went in to his super fancy restaurant one day and asked for a case of portabello mushrooms, ten pounds of parmesan, and a job.
Doug had always smoked pot, but I don't know when he got mixed up with the really serious drugs. He started to get weird at work, throwing pates and hot pans at the girls, missing for hours during a busy shift, storing kilos of the drugs he was selling in the walk-in cooler. I must have brought him to the hospital overdosed on a combo-platter of coke, ketamene, vodka, and meth fifteen times. Even from a hospital bed, still puking charcoal, he always swore he had it under control.
During a busy dinner rush, Doug once looked over at me and said, " I shine brighter because I burn the candle at both ends. Baby, you'll never understand what it is to live like I do." I told him that I would say that at his funeral one day. I feel like a total ass now for saying that. The drugs eventually cost him his job (another story, interesting) , and after that he disappeared from my world for almost a year.
A freezing januray morning in 2001, my phone rang. Doug was on the other end of the line and said he was too drunk to drive and could he crash at my house for the night. I let him in, and asked how he had been. He said he had stopped using coke, how he was totally clean, totally over that bullshit scene. He asked if I minded if he smoked, and I said no problem. He pulled out a glass pipe, and mixed a crack-meth cocktail and smoked it right there on the end of my bed. I rolled over and went to sleep, when I woke up the next morning, Doug was gone. I never saw him again.
Doug died in a single vehicle motorcycle accident, in late 2005. He's dead and buried, but I can hear him inside my head every time I pick up a knife.