As we often say at Villa Diodati workshops: we write well, we work well and we eat well. On the first evening Jeff made a Mumbai street food dish called pav bajhi, served with nahn.
Here Jeff philosophizes as he cooks…
…while his kitchen slave, Grayson, is hard at work.
Of course, “dinner” also implies “after dinner” (you can tell by the empty bottle and glasses that there is yet one more thing that we generally do quite well):
From left to right: Grayson, Sylvia and Jeff. Missing, me, John, I’m taking the picture. You won’t see me a lot here as I was often behind the camera.
Evening chat and drinks.
All of this cooking implies another thing that we do very well: the actual activity of eating dinner all together. Here we are on the second evening, when I made pollo siciliana with pasta and green salad.
From left to right: Bo (front), John (back), Jeremy, Sylvia and Grayson. Many thanks to Jeremy, my kitchen slave, who had an enormous job of cutting up vegetables that evening. (And thanks to Jeff who took this picture.)
View of the table from another angle. From left to right: Jeremy, Sylvia, Grayson, Jeff and Bo. Missing that evening: Steve and Floris.
Here is Chef Bo on the third evening, making a delicious Dutch-Moroccan-Spanish spicy pea soup…
… that she served up with a luscious salad, preceded by a pickled herring appetizer.
On the last evening Sylvia made a Middle Eastern dinner of spicy roast lamb shoulder, rice and tomato salad, preceded by several appetizers: cacik (yogurt and cucumber), hummus and a sublime feta and pistachio dip.
Here she is, doing a mean job on a cucumber.
Sylvia’s Jackson Pollock tomato salad.
At the table for Sylvia’s dinner, from left to right: Jeremy, Steve, Jeff, Bo and Grayson. My apologies to Floris and Sylvia who are there, but just not in the picture.
But here’s Floris, who was Sylvia’s kitchen slave, preparing something in the kitchen, perhaps lunch.
In addition to cooking and eating we actually did manage to get a lot of work done, both critiquing and writing exercises:
From left to right: Sylvia, Grayson and Floris…
… followed by Steve, Bo and Jeremy.
And here’s Jeff, sitting off by himself in a corner for some reason. (Actually this might have been the timed writing exercise that we did on Sunday morning.)
And here’s Steve, also hard at work.
All in all it was a great workshop. Many thanks to Grayson for the organization and to Jeff for doing so much driving.
Grayson can now relax, reassured by a job well done.
This is a list of the works that were either workshopped or brainstormed at this workshop and have since been sold or published.