Vadim rolled his own cigarettes. He had broad shoulders, six-pack abs, and a chest tattoo that read “Rock & Roll.” He was the lead singer in a rockabilly band and had a hot rod he planned to fix up. I met him when I took a part-time job as a cashier at Savenor’s Market, a specialty foods shop in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he was the head butcher. Yeah, butcher. Hot, right?
Every restaurant kitchen has an unsung hero — someone who keeps the wheels turning, the food coming (and, as a result, the lights on), but who never makes it into the magazines. Sometimes it’s the dishwasher, sometimes it’s the fry cook. At Oleana Restaurant, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where I worked for several years as sommelier, it was Pacho. Pacho was a prep cook and a legend.