Friday, May 3, 2013

The Pimp Chef: An Interview With Paul Dixon by Christopher T Garry

A journalist interviews an up-and-coming Las Vegas chef who pimps on the side; by Christopher T Garry.

Since 1993 Paul Dixon has been a leading authority on wholesome homemade restaurant cooking. Unlike a lot of chefs running three star restaurants on the Las Vegas Boulevard, Paul thumbed his nose at the established way of doing traditional swank menus, for the sake of food that is strikingly tasty and tasteful, foregoing all pretense of being anything other than just "Good food, done well."

All of his dishes are made from locally farmed ingredients and, with the exception of a few imported ingredients, they all are organic. This is a costly measure of course, but a rewarding one as viewed by thousands of satisfied tourists and locals every week, who have all been afforded Paul's reasonable prices on great food. His restaurant is unique, with distinguished modern decor and delicate gardens lining the walkway leading up to the entrance.

The staff is pleasant, and the atmosphere in his place is cool and fragrant in even the most dreaded heat of the surrounding Nevada desert. If that's not enough to distinguish Paul from your usual brilliant Chef/Owner of a Hip Joint on the Strip, there is also the fact that Paul's staff works for him in another capacity, since he is, in fact, a pimp.

We had a chance to catch up with Paul on a busy Saturday afternoon before the dinner rush.

EJ: Paul thanks so much for taking time out to speak to us. I'm sure I speak for a lot of our foodie readers who have been clamoring to learn more about you when I say I'm truly happy to be here.

PD: No worries, happy to oblige.

EJ: Tell us a little about how your restaurant came about.

PD: Well, I've been working non-stop since 1990, when I emigrated to the U.S. from Wales. At that time a lot of the girls I had working for me turned out not only to be fantastic at their jobs, but avid culinary aficionados, since their day-jobs at that point really allowed them schedule flexibility to work on hobbies and other avocations.

I began to notice that a lot of the girls were either in training at schools or studying food on their own and it often came up in conversation at our socials. We all got very drunk one night and Lafonda suggested we start a restaurant. The girls had been cooking for each other and for me for years and it sounded like a natural progression. We were well-funded, prospering and had a lot of time to spare. Lafonda and Tiffany are my two full partners and all of the original girls formed and remain the majority stakeholders in the company. We started off small a few miles from the Strip to limber up and get to know the clients. After a few years we hit our stride, had enough of a customer base so that we could move to the Strip and the rest is history.

EJ: How do the girls divide up their work between two vocations? Is it required that they work in both... divisions? The restaurant and the... street, as it were?

PD: We call it night work... "street" sounds so dirty and these girls are anything but dirty - especially in the kitchen (laughter). The restaurant is serious business for them, but working the night work remains a passion as well. Working in both divisions is not required. Nevertheless, the majority of the staff being what they are, they tend to attract others like them to both areas of the business.

EJ: Majority? But not all?

PD: Yeah, a few of the newer girls think that working the restaurant is beneath them and they prefer to stick to the purer art. That's fine. The culinary art is not for everyone. The ones who do both, usually have a split schedule, where the work for the day isn't mixed. Usually three nights here, two nights out there and then two nights off. Candice Wallows is the HR/Staff manager and they are awesome pulling together resources and covering each other's shifts and making sure that all the positions are filled, from the kitchen to the dining room. And speaking of the dominatrix... (At this point, Candy approaches, politely interrupts to give Paul some invoices, placing a delicate hand on Paul's shoulder, and whispers in his ear. Paul smiles with a "Thanks, love" and she walks off, a vision.)

EJ: Do you find any of the clientele take advantage of both segments of your enterprise?

PD: Oh, we try not to keep track. If the girls in their work recognize someone that they've seen in the restaurant, they try not to embarrass them. You've got to appreciate the female capacity to work on multiple levels at once, being adaptable and engaging all once, whereas, understandably, the clients tend to be very focused - not thinking about food.

EJ: I can... imagine.

PD: (In the distance pans crash loudly) ...Yes...

EJ: So. Being in the business like this tell us about all the "hats" you must wear? How involved are you in all the work that must go on around here?

PD: Well, when we get busy here we can get spread thin as a whore's underwear. But with regard to trying to manage two divisions, the night work is up to the girls, I don't have to wear the floppy hat, feather and platforms much there, if you know what I mean. Times have changed and so have pimps. For the most part in either division I honestly see myself as more of a support role. I help with scheduling, cover the floor, greet guests, advise on the menu and do the web design. The same at the restaurant, really.

EJ: The restaurant has a website?

PD: I work on the site for the night work - that and print advertising for it takes up a lot of my time. All the best pimps are usually strong web developers. Courtney does the site for the restaurant since she's more visually oriented, while I do the menu and just send her the info. We really do divide and conquer - even security is outsourced.

EJ: Do you need a lot of security?

PD: Not really, I don't get many issues escalated to me. Mosquishia is the perfect gentle bear for that work.

EJ: Do you like the work?

PD: I do. I know that we make a lot of people happy, both in the kitchen and in the bedroom, as it were. I can't imagine any work like this that would make me as happy, although I do have a cousin back home who is studying for his PMP certification.

EJ: There's a certification program?

PD: No, not that (laughter)... Project Management Professional... It sounds like interesting work and not dissimilar to what I do, what with all the unique and peculiar clientele.

EJ: Sounds awesome.

PD: Maybe, but my cousin tells me that the kind of cotton-headed fuckwits he has for clients can be quite frustrating, since often they don't know what they want and can only wax on poetically about how great it will be when they get it. In my lines of work, the agendas are pretty clear: get fucked, get fed, get home and Bob's your uncle.

EJ: (laughter) Yes, I suppose so. Well, here's hoping he never ropes you into that kind of work. It was a pleasure speaking to you Paul. The food and the girls are wonderful.

PD: Absolutely.

Paul's Restaurant, "The Splendid Bedpost" can be found on The Strip in the Miracle Mile.

2 comments:

  1. very good, a nice deadpan style. it is real isn´t it?

    Michael McCarthy

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  2. This is better than some of the "real" interviews I read in the papers. And of course, the tongue in cheek makes for a nice smile throughout...

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