Snap | Cal Peternell, Chez Panisse

A photo series capturing chefs in the wild.

November 14, 2016 ● 1 min read

A few weeks before the release of his latest cookbook, A Recipe for Cooking, Cal Peternell spent a sunny October morning at the Albany Bulb for his wife Kathleen's birthday. While their family dogs zoomed around the park, the maestro of Berkeley's Chez Panisse recalled his humbling early brushes with the working world.

“I was a garbageman for the summer after I graduated high school. I spent the summer riding around on the back of a garbage truck throwing the garbage in. During college, I got a job as a clown. I was supposed to dress like a clown, and take balloons to Faneuil Hall — the really touristy part of Boston. I bought the balloons at a certain price from a person who was running the thing, and if I sold them all I would make a certain amount of money. [One time], I took them on the T, and it was windy; instantly, my whole bunch of balloons spun around and became incredibly tangled up. This little girl and her dad came over and said, “I’d like a balloon!” and I just could not get a balloon untangled from the others, so I gave them all of the balloons and lost money on the deal. Maybe there’s some technique to keep your balloons from getting tangled but I never found out what it was.”

Photographed and interviewed by Steven Piasecki