By Lolis Eric Elie
Unlike Desautel’s which was filmed at Patois, a real life restaurant, the kitchen at Restaurant Brulard was constructed on a sound stage. But it is a working kitchen. Some of the “refrigerators” are merely dummy doors, since we have no need for refrigeration on set. The sinks are attached to running water, though they drain into buckets. The gas stoves are attached to real gas lines and there is real steam and smoke from actual pots of boiling water and pans of sautéing food.
For our chefs, the one drawback might have been that the kitchen was a bit too good to be true.
“The kitchen set was amazing!” said Alon Shaya, the chef at Domenica in New Orleans and the grill man who failed to let his duck breasts rest before slicing them during Episode 201 of ‘Treme.’ “I have worked in kitchens like that in Vegas, where no expense is spared. Typically in cities like Philly, New York, New Orleans, rent is high so most of the square footage in restaurants is devoted to dining rooms where you can make revenue.”
"The first and most amazing thing you notice when walking into Brulard's kitchen is that there isn't a restaurant attached!” Adrienne Eiser, the sous chef at St. James Cheese Co., wrote in an email.
“Every detail is so meticulously accounted for, it is amazingly hard to believe that you are on a set,” wrote Eiser, who played Brulard’s saucier on the show. “It reminded me, in many ways, of the hangar-sized kitchens they work out of at Eleven Madison Park and Bymark Toronto. Every station has a full range, ample prep space and a full row of low-boy reach-ins.”
Chester Kaczenski, our production designer, provided these pictures of the kitchen at rest, no chefs or actors on hand to disturb its peace.