What a world famous chef’s assistant buys for her boss

Assistantis a bit of a catch-all term. Sure, assistants schedule meetings, take notes, and pick up coffee, but they can also act as a quasi-concierge, sending fruit baskets to top clients and buying gifts for partners. In an effort to uncover the very specific material needs of powerful people, we sat down with “Camilla,” who until recently worked as an executive assistant to one of the world’s most famous chefs. We told him about the 18 identical white coats he keeps rotating, the calligraphy pens he uses to sign 300 books at a time, and the Canadian fruit gummies he can’t resist (but still feels a bit guilty of eating).

The chef has multiple restaurants, projects, events and appearances to juggle at all times, and Camilla’s main job for the past four and a half years has been to “manage her comings and goings”. Their small office above a restaurant served as the “epicenter” of the business, where she and an office manager tracked and prepared their boss for all his commitments. As such the Chief was in and out of the space several times a day and particularly on certain things he always needed to have on hand.

Itoya CL-10BP-BK Dual Head Calligraphy Marker, Black

Camilla’s boss has ‘beautiful calligraphy’, an attribute which she says is supported by the use of this calligraphy marker which she keeps at least four or five in the office. He uses them to sign his own books – sometimes 300 in one sitting, in an assembly line process in which Camilla folds a page in each copy so it’s flat (“he hates when it’s not flat “, she says). He signed chef jackets, photos, aprons and even the Bernardaud porcelain plates of one of its own restaurants. “There was this couple who were so in love with their experience [dining there], they asked if they could buy a dish,” says Camilla. “I don’t think they sold it to them, they gave them a dish. And then, lo and behold, they posted it and asked him to sign it.

DeWalt DWHT36109 30' Tape Measure
Very good deal
Westcott 18

“He’s been known to always have a tape measure nearby,” Camilla says of her boss. It’s because, she says, he’s so into (and has so many opinions about) her restaurants, in very specific ways: the size of a kitchen cart in a dining room, the dimensions of menu and invitations (for which he uses the Westcott ruler), the height of a bar stool, the width of a tablecloth. The tape measure once came in handy when Camilla’s boss bought a few pairs of jeans on sale and took them to a high-end tailor. “He was getting robbed, robbed, robbed,” Camilla says, so she told him about a more affordable store in her neighborhood. He asked her if she would take the jeans there for him. “And I’m like, ‘Chief, I won’t bring them unless you try them,'” Camilla says. “‘I don’t want to be responsible if they’re not right.'” So he put on a pair, then she took her measurements. He’s been going to his tailor ever since.

Dare RealFruit Gummies

Camilla always keeps candies at her desk to satisfy her boss’ “terrible sweet tooth”, and one of her favorite kinds is what he calls “Canadian gummies”, a brand she brings home from Montreal every time she goes there, which happens at least four times. a year. They taste “delicate,” she says, because they’re made from real fruit with no artificial flavors or colors. Even so, Camilla’s boss is French and therefore “very regimented”, she says, so he only likes to snack on a few at a time. “I’m just going to shake two or three of them off, and if any more fall, he’s like, ‘No, no. It’s too much,” she said. “I’m like, ‘Seriously, man. Just eat them.

Camilla is responsible for ordering gifts on behalf of her boss. Often this means gift baskets, specialty items from their own product line or, if the recipient is particularly notable, a bottle of wine matching the year of their birth. But in a few cases, the gifts have been even more special than that.

Grand Chef Bragard jacket

Recently, Camilla ordered two bespoke Bragard chef’s coats for Today’s show greets Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager when her boss did a segment alongside them. “We wanted to surprise them, so I had to look at their measurements,” she says. They ended up fitting perfectly. Camilla often works with Bragard, as all the cooks in her boss’s restaurants wear their jackets, each monogrammed in black with the name of the respective establishment. Her boss wears one every day too, although hers are always embroidered in white on white fabric, so the effect isn’t flashy, Camilla says. She calls it her “armor,” always cut the same way: taking an inch from the sides, an inch from the bottom, then he rolls up the sleeves. He has 18 identical coats, some in his different companies, and others for trips or events. Camilla also says they took extra care in cleaning and starching her jackets so they always looked pristine. During the pandemic, when those services weren’t active, she ironed them out herself.

Cognac Louis XIII

When his daughter got married, the chef tasked Camilla with buying an extremely special (and extremely expensive) bottle of cognac. Made of artisanal crystal with a 20-carat gold neck, the bottle was monogrammed with the initials of the bride and groom and their wedding date before being placed in a red velvet case. “Oh my God, it was so beautiful,” Camilla says. The chef introduced it at the event and offered everyone a shot from another unbranded bottle of the same cognac. Camilla was so impressed that she ended up buying her husband the miniature version (about two installments, she estimates). They are waiting for an “exceedingly special” occasion to open it.

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