Dan's School of Food and VCR Repair, Tether to Creation
On Avenue J near East 43rd in Brooklyn is a moderate-sized building that proudly proclaims itself as “Dan’s School of Food and VCR Repair”. It’s run by Dan Heston (“no relation”), a late-30-something man with an Italian look about him and hands a piano player would kill for. Black hair, 5’8", nice smile, and a habit of waving his arms wildly when he’s in the midst of creating one of his culinary masterpieces. Which is just about all the time.
Dan opened his school on a lark 15 years ago, after several long talks with his good friend Connor (unbeknownst to Dan, Connor is the Angel of Cooking). Dan is much better at cooking than VCR repair, and his classes were very popular. About six years ago, a man wandered in, sampled some of the dishes being prepared in a class called “Cooking with the Right Side of the Brain”, smiled beatifically and left. It must have been Eli, because the next time Connor arrived, he found that Dan’s school was now a tether. And that Dan, a completely normal human with no idea of the War, was now its Seneschal, though of course he didn’t realize it.
Since then it’s been a gathering place for servitors of Eli and anybody who likes unusual and unusually good food.
There are two large refrigerators and an upright freezer on the premises. One refrigerator holds raw ingredients, the other has finished dishes and recent leftovers. Anything that isn’t eaten fairly soon goes into the freezer, with (usually) a fairly precise label. Sometimes, however, a dish will simply be labeled “Challenging”, or perhaps “You’ve got to try this!”
Things you might eat at Dan’s:
—mango sundae with Thai chili
—halibut braised in goose fat with ginger jus and shallot cracklings
—sweetbreads en cocotte with ginger and licorice
—milk chocolate tart with carrot sorbet and lemon chili sauce
Dan is a very precise man — all of his pinches come out the same and he can accurately reproduce a recipe every time. He can tell the spices in a dish with just a taste, and he’s a natural teacher, breaking down the most complex recipes into manageable parts with ease. His students love him, and he has several “life-timers” who are now his assistants and who occasionally teach some of the classes. Connor stops by as often as he can, if only to taste what’s new this week.
And once in a great while, if a student is having problems with her VCR, Dan will fix it.