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Skinny chef

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Back in the day, I was a diver on the high school diving team. In the water, we girls all pretty much looked the same, devoid of makeup and crazy-eighties big hair. The boys, slicked-down wet and wearing tight little skivvies, were unrecognizable in the halls by day, prompting me once to loudly blurt out “Ohmigod, I didn’t recognize you in your clothes!”

While I suspect initially the guy’s girlfriend was somewhat taken aback by my gauche sophomore comment, she recovered, realizing a) I was a dumb sophomore, and b) I was a swimmer.

Well, I’ve grown up, only I still make gauche comments to athletes. Recently, the athlete was none other than Pacific Grill legend, Chef Gordon Naccarato, slightly out of “chef coat” context in workout shorts and tee as he hefted weights with his trainer, Matt Gylling.

Even after months of training concurrently with Naccarato, I’ve never recognized him: I didn’t put a name to a face until I nosily asked, “Where?” as they discussed Thanksgiving food at “the restaurant” and the word “chantrelle” floated up in the air like a magical steam.

When he said, “My restaurant, the Pacific Grill,” my jaws flapped like those of a guppy out of water, and I reverted to the phrase of my youth, only modified to “Ohmigod, I didn’t recognize you!”

Naccarato acknowledged that he has, in fact, lost over 40 pounds, and acknowledged that Gylling has been instrumental in a lot of that.

And all I could do was gawk, and mutter, “Ohmigod.”

Some things never change, even while other things — like people’s physiques —do.

[Pacific Grill, 1502 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.627.3535]

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