This is part one of my interview with Colin Mallet, chef of Sassafras; part two of our chat will run tomorrow.
"Hey, I'll be back in a sec. I've got a fire to put out," says Colin Mallet, who utters the words with remarkable nonchalance. In ten minutes, he's back in the dining room at Sassafras, sheepishly asking if he stinks of grease. Turns out one of the cooks had spilled some of the slick lubricant, sparking a fire -- with flames -- in the bay of the grease trap underneath the flat-top. "I filled a squeeze bottle with milk and sprayed it in there and then had the guys clean up the mess," Mallet reports with the same degree of reserve.
It's just another day on the line for the Sassafras chef, who's extinguished quite a few fires during his 33 years. Despite his relatively young age, he's already had 27 jobs, most of them in restaurants.
See also: - Southern breakfasts take center stage at Sassafras American Eatery - Best Milkshake - 2013: Sassafras American Eatery - 100 Favorite Dishes: Chicken-fried eggs and smoked buffalo hash from Sassafras