Tuesday, November 18, 2008
An Evening With Frank McClelland
Frank McClelland of L'Espalier and Sel de la Terre
It's not often that you go to a book signing where there is a mini buffet of gourmet bites and wines offered but this was, after all, Frank McClelland, owner of L'Espalier and Sel de la Terre.
McClelland, a James Beard Award winner of omnipotent critical claim was at Porter Square Books to promote his new book "Wine Mondays", based on his successful Monday night restaurant event at his L'Espalier venue.
Frank McClelland at Porter Square Books.
We munched on small but very taste-filled bites done in our favorite amuse bouche style: crispy grilled salmon, shrimp and grapefruit, lamb loin and beautifully dressed leaves of endive.
McClelland was at his quirky, casual best, driving home the clear message of his devotion to sharing great food with friends as opposed to an inner need for any celebrity or stardom. In fact, he was eager to remind one that a successful restaurant business is short on glamor but long on hours. Never could he recall, for instance, working anything less than a 12 hour day.
Preparing the buffet.
But the love and devotion were clearly evident. He reiterated that the book was not a pictorial coffee table tome but a book for the kitchen; to be used, marked, tattered and stained. He spoke fondly of growing up on his grandparent's farm, great food, local growers, delicious meals and, of course, the wonderful pairing of food and wine as if such were marriages made in heaven.
Gourmet treats and tastes.
We manged to ask if the huge glass wall at the new location (Gloucester street already a nostalgic reminiscence) was his idea. It was not, he admitted, but he did feel that the glass wall: "..really brought the whole restaurant together." And while some waxed sentimental about the old location, he was not. "It's about taking chances, trying something new," he said. So, for 20 years he's been taking chances and, as a result, consistently topping the list of best restaurant in Boston as a result.
McClelland looks on as the foodies gather.