My first encounter with Mitch was on my trial shift as a waiter at The Ivy in April of 1997. I had to write down the names of the regulars who were to dine that lunch time. Standing next to table 20 and looking at him reading off the allocation sheet as he stood next to Stage Door Johnny and leaned over the reception desk, I was very nervous and completely out of my depth,
“George Michael with Princess Diana table 6, Harold Pinter table 16, Alan Scott table 21”, the list went on and on. I looked around to see if this was real, sure enough the team were avidly writing down the names that were going to be in their sections, that team he had mentored into a crack unit - Jacques, Manuel, Nigella, Gavin, Fernando, Andrew, David, to name just a few.
At the end of my trial, he walked me up to the nook next to the board room and asked me how I had done. I was intoxicated by the energy and vibe and completely intimidated by this large, 40-some year-old man with his soft blue eyes, his bemused look as he pondered this star struck loon in front of him.
“I don’t know whether to start you as a Commis or Chef de Rang” he said, my reply added to his bemusement
“Well Mr. Everard I don’t know what either of those roles are to be honest with you so I will trust your judgement”
"Ok I’ll start you as a CDR, if you can't make it we’ll move you to a commis, and it’s Mitch or Mitchell, nothing else “
That began my 22-year journey with the man who was my mentor, my friend and my saviour when I was in the darkest place. Gloria, his beloved wife passed over 10 years ago and to be honest that was the start of his decline. All he ever wanted was to be with her and now they are reunited in a better place.
I have a mountain of stories that I could share about Mitch, most of you will have shared at least one with me and a million more yourselves. Mitch was a hard task master and a fair one, although we didn't always agree, we worked together and made it work together.
My shock has not yet started but I know it will come and it will be hard, but for now, I am in a state of fond reminiscence. I remember that Sunday morning I turned up at his house asking for his help, he took me in and a bottle of bourbon later sent me on my way having bared his soul to help me in a way I will never forget and always be thankful for.
Although he has been quiet these past couple of years and now in silence; his legacy will live on and on in those who he touched. I have lost count of the number of people who passed through his restaurants and left stronger and better, whether they left happy or sad!
I still use the lessons he taught me to this day and will strive to continue his legacy and pass on everything I can to the next generation, which is what he always did.
Perudo will never be the same nor will anything else.