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Saturday, February 02, 2008

Inside The Devil's Lair

It's been busy around these parts for the last few weeks.

I'm doing an internship at the local NPR affiliate - WUNC radio - and I started taking a class through the Center For Documentary Studies in Durham by Duke University, both as a way to add a few more feathers to my cap for when I get to job hunting when my 4-year-old goes to kindergarten.

Band practice has also resumed from the holiday break.

And now catering is starting to pick up again.

I had to work last Thursday. When I checked my schedule I saw that the party was on Duke's campus and that it was in a building by Cameron Indoor Stadium. So I checked the team's basketball schedule and - sure enough - there was a game that night which meant that most likely my party would be a pre-game thing. Pre-game shifts are always hectic because you have to scramble to set up the space before getting slammed by a rush of people eager to eat and drink before high tailing it to their seats. The upside is that these parties are usually quick and have what we like to call an end time because people have somewhere to go and therefore don't stand around shooting the shit while we caterers have to politely wait for them to leave before we can break down and clean up.

When I got to campus I found out that this particular party was going to be held on this sixth floor of a building right next to Cameron. The guy who was captain for the pary arrived with the van full of supplies and confirmed my suspicion: it indeed was a pre-game gig. But instead of the usual fare of heavy hors d'oeuvres and drinks this was to be a seated, served dinner (three course) for 14 people.

No big deal. I've done this sort of thing a thousand times.

The problem was that we needed a card to get into the building and then some sort of ID to get the elevator to work. Again, not that usuual as most campus buildings these days have pretty good security.

When we pulled the cart of food and drinks off the elevator we were greeted by a big picture of a Duke basketball player and then a whole hallway of photos and trophies.

"Oh shit," I mumbled.

As some assistant told us where our kitchen space and prep area was going to be it became plainly obvious that we were in the war room of Duke basketball.

We set up our are and then went into a conference room and turned it into fine dining. As guests arrived I was instructed to see if any of them wanted something to drink. This is called butlering - as oppose to standing at a bar - and takes a bit more dexterity to balance a dozen of so drinks in varying glassware on a small, round tray.

The door to the room was closed and the assistant pointed to another door that I could use to get into the room so I turned and entered...

And I found myself smack dab in the middle of Mike Krzyzewski's office.

Or Coach K as he is known to the rest of the world.

I had joked earlier when we were unloading the van about how I should have brought my camera because the world needs to see the silliness that is Krzyzewskiville: a tent city where students camp out for Duke basketball tickets. I would love to ask the parent of one of these students how they feel that their kid is spending an entire semester in a tent for $45,000 a year.

And now here I was in Coach K's office with signed basketballs and trophies and framed jerseys and not a damn thing to show for it.

Man I wish I had a camera phone just for times like this.

For you Heels fans, nope I didn't get a chance to pinch their playbook or spill red wine on Coach K's floor but there's always next time....

And now the menu:

Passed Hors D'oeuvres-
crab cakes topped with basil aioli
house-smoked salmon on a potato cake with creme fraiche and chives

First Course-
Arugala salad with red onion and parmigiano-reggiano

Second Course-
Cowboy-cut beef steak served over sweet potato hash, topped with chipotle-lime compound butter.

Third Course-
Creme Brulee


Whit said...

Devil's lair indeed. You could have at least pissed in the ficus.

greg said...

there was no ficus whit.

most likely because people would want to pee in it is my guess.

Chag said...

Aw man! The damage you could've done!

John said...

Ah, basketball, I've heard of that. It's a bit like netball, isn't it? A girl's sport, right?

greg said...


it's a bit like cricket mate...
and australian rules footie.

John said...

Oh yeah, now I remember, you got your arses kicked by ARGENTINA in the last Olympics, despite having a team of professional NBA players, didn't you?

Bird Spot said...

Krzyzewski ain't krzit!

HoorayForSaturday said...

Wow, how crazy is that story.
At least you got to eat.

AMR said...

On this day, you should have left an arsenic laden apple on K's desk. At Whole Foods, you should have recommended to Tyler that he try some of the poison blowfish sushi.

Wake Forest Fan (aka AMR)

p.s. you live a much more interesting life than I, greg.