Monday, December 14, 2009

Mial Parker

Here is the Chef Parker I knew. A larger-than-life character with a great laugh and an impish grin on his face. He had a fan club. I was one of his secret admirers. The first day I met Chef Parker, he told me I had some wild socks on (they were polka dot),and I told him I wore them especially for him and he giggled. He began to tell his students about how to prep for a banquet. I thought "Do these students even know how talented this guy is?" His descriptions, off the cuff remarks, thoughts, ideas.... were incredible. I instantly had a crush.

The stories that surrounded Chef Parker in his 'early years' were stuff of legend. Parker flying out to the conservative East Coast to meet a conservative colleague and got off the plane wearing a leopard print suit, his antics while competing (and winning) three Culinary Olympic gold medals (For all you non-culinarians out there, this is a HUGE deal).

He conquered his addictions and was sober for many years. But his large personality and crazy fashion taste remained. Pink suits, boas, heavy black-rimmed glasses.... He was the Steven Tyler of the culinary world - a rock star. He was who he was, with no apologies, no embarrassment. He was Mial.

This was a photo taken at a Football Tailgate Party themed Garde Manger final. Mial was a HUGE Raiders fan, and here he is bookended by Raiders Cheerleaders. I mean, what goes better with a tailgate party than cheerleaders? Although many at the school thought that pulling off an outside garde manger final was crazy, Mial made it happen, and it was wildly successful.

Just like the man. RIP Mial. Hope you're up there cooking with the best, and kicking thier ass.


keoni said...

He was a great chef and mentor. He left us far to soon and he will be missed.

Whaler said...

I grew up in Bloomfield Hills Michigan with Mial...We were good friends ...He was Planning on attending a Reunion this summer in Detroit...Oh Boy could i tell some stories...He was a Fantastic Human being...I will Miss Him...Whaler

Anonymous said...

Very nicely said, Syd. I'm sure he would be touched.