Mistral: (1) the cool, dry, north wind of Provence (2) fr Latin magister=teacher, a "Master Wind" (3) by extension, change, motion, improvement.
It's just past six, and the earliest guests have already arrived at Mistral, the elegant 12-table eatery on Blanchard's slope from First to Second: a trio of Japanese visitors drinking champagne, the first of several international VIPs in tonight's book. As it happens, they're associated with one of cable TV's top cooking shows and they've come to pay homage to the one chef in Seattle who actually turned down their requests for a guest appearance.
But the sun is still high over Elliott Bay, and Mistal's owner and chef, 35-year-old William Belickis, is playing stickball in the parking lot. ...
Tonight, a commercial photographer is on hand, gathering images for Mistral's new website. Jim Garner, wielding a monster Contax 645 camera outfitted with a Kodak 16-megapixel digital back, shoots close-ups of pots, pans, dishes, vegetables, fish, chops, plates; he poses William in a halo of light diffused by gauze curtains, snaps the dishwasher destemming thyme, catches the chef in a blur at the stove, captures the waiter pouring an apéritif.
Note: a slightly different version of this post also appeared in the June 2004 issue of the Belltown Messenger. Follow this link to read it as a PDF.