This happened so fast my brain has whiplash. The biggest topic of conversation at the Quartet friends/press dinner on Monday, was that the notorious Morgan Brownlow was out of John Gorham’s new Tasty n Alder restaurant before he even started!
Gorham announced Morgan’s involvement a few weeks ago, saying that he would be cooking on the night shift. This raised lots of eyebrows, because Morgan has a reputation of being really difficult to work with – over the years I’ve gotten more nasty emails about his interactions with employees than any other chef.
The announcement was quickly followed by an interview of Morgan in Willamette Week by Michael Zusman. Here are a couple of quotes:
How do you respond to critics who say you’re impossible to work with…a screamer, crazed tyrant, etc.?
I’m an intense person. When I first sat down with John Gorham, he told me that I’m a bombshell, a powder keg. I’m just a really intense individual. But that’s no excuse for blowing up. And when I was younger, at Clarklewis, I did that. I know that I was out of line on multiple occasions.
Zusman had obviously heard the rumors of Brownlow’s once wild lifestyle and asked another pointed question:
Ever been treated for any mental health or drug and alcohol issues?
No. As far as alcohol goes, I mean, I’ll have a few drinks. But when you’re broke, you’re not going out drinking. I’ve never been arrested. I’m sure there’ve been a few times when I’ve drank too much, but it’s never had anything to do with my work.
I read the Willamette Week interview with Morgan, and then went back to read Nancy Rommelmann’s interview with him in 2007. It’s really interesting to compare the two. You can draw your own conclusions.
As far as Tasty n Alder goes, yes, it is now open for breakfast. I went in over the weekend and tried the “Bim Bop Bacon & Eggs”. Take a hot stone bowl, add rice which gets nice and crusty around the edges from the heat, add nice sweet chunks of pork belly, kimchi and break an egg over the top. Wow! It was an ‘A’ dish – I can’t wait until I can get off the couch and try more (housebound once again)