We’ve long been advocates, and sometimes lucky collaborators, of Dan Bransfield. Dan is a dazzling sketch and watercolor artist, whose eminetely recognizable work centers mainly on restaurant scapes, plates and people. Although we’re always impressed with him, this latest series of watercolor renderings of Nopa Chef/Partner Laurence Jossel is particularly impressive. It has the same effortless style, but is a surprisingly vivid depiction of an intensive and deeply personaly weekly ritual for the chef. Better still, Dan gives us a well constructed narrative that makes these images even more fun. We’ll share an excerpt below, but if you’d like to see the piece in its entirety, you can check it out on his blog here.
“We’re getting killed by onions,” warns Chef Laurence Jossel, as he welcomes me into the basement kitchen at Nopalito on 9th Avenue. Sure enough the vapors overwhelm my eyes and the waterworks begin, while the cooks busy themselves with their daily preparations. But a different ritual brings me to Nopalito today: Every Friday, Jossel butchers a Stone Valley Farm hog, providing Nopa with a variety of pork products. He used to butcher the animal on the pastry table upstairs at Nopa after Saturday brunch, but that proved to be inefficient, among other things. “It freaked the pastry chef out,” he remembers. “‘No blood in the sugar, please.’” The Nopalito kitchen offers him more room to work. The former vegetarian describes the butchering rite as “an intimate act, a deep experience. I don’t take it lightly. The one thing about the pig is that it’s so giving. You can use every single part—and we do.”