HOLIDAY 2021 - Page 16

Mobile kitchen
Steve with Cantonese garlic lobster .
COURTESY STEVE BOGART
Steve Bogart at Chef Chu ’ s in California .
Fish Stuffed Bamboo Pith in Chicken Supreme broth . “ White Rabbits on a Lawn ”. One of Steve ’ s signature dishes , Shrimp Dumplings .
because most of my life I worked a five-day job , and then catered every single weekend .”
In 1970 , he started an underground Chinese restaurant . Friends lent their house every Friday and Saturday night . They had enough room for about 25 people , and he would cook on the porch . He soon came up with the idea of having a traveling pop-up Chinese kitchen , and he started catering at people ’ s houses .
At , not in .
Bogart created a self-contained traveling Chinese kitchen in the back of a truck . He installed a Chinese wok range , a small refrigerator along with counter space , and a commercial exhaust system . He catered out of it for years , miraculously bringing 12-16 course classic Chinese banquets to people ’ s homes .
“ I would go all over New England , serving classical banquets . I would just pull up , and all they had to have was their glassware and napkins . I supplied everything else , because I wanted it to be traditional so I brought serving plates and everything .”
Along the way , Steve worked in other ’ s kitchens , developing his repertoire and gathering his signature portfolio of recipes as he gained experience .
He catered and traveled for 15 years . The high point ? Spending three days at David Rockefeller ’ s estate in Tarrytown , New York . Rockefeller was hosting a thirty-five-member delegation of Chinese officials , and they specifically told Rockefeller , ‘ We don ’ t want American food .’ Steve would go in to Chinatown in Manhattan every morning and buy all his needed supplies .
Steve recalls , “ Mr . Rockefeller brought me out after the last dinner , to introduce me .
They were shocked that a non-Chinese had been feeding them . And the Ambassador said , ‘ Your toque is not tall enough .’ I was honored .”
After that , Steve opened A Single Pebble restaurant , initially at River Run in Plainfield in 1995 , then to Barre in 1997 , then to Burlington in 2003 . The large , devoted following that Steve had gathered stayed true , trekking to Burlington to enjoy his meals .
Martha Stewart visited the Barre location of A Single Pebble restaurant twice . The first time , she was aghast that the restaurant shared the parking lot with a bowling alley . And she said , “ Oh , this must be about the food .” The second time , while she was up here doing a special on Vermont ice fishing , she said , “ I want to go back to that wonderful , funny restaurant near the bowling alley .”
14 VERMONT MAGAZINE