Cooking to Win

An Extra Seat?

March 18, 2013

By Joey Bland

I’ve eaten pizza, barbeque, sandwiches, fried chicken, and eggs. I’ve been well-fed in Durham. But there’s a table in town I didn’t get to eat at. It was too exclusive, and I’m jealous.

The décor is simple. It’s basically a half-ballroom like you see at conference centers or in hotels. The ceiling is high, and there’s not much on the walls to look at. In fact, the lighting is not great at all. But it’s where I want to eat. It’s called Scharf Hall, and I’m jealous of its patrons.

Cooking To Win

The only folks who get to eat there are Duke student-athletes. There’s a table for the coaches, a table for the managers, and a few tables for the team. Sure, it would be nice to sit with these folks, powerhouses in their field. But it’s not that company that I need. It’s the restaurant management I want to be close to.

Because not only do these patrons get big and great meals, they get those meals prepared under the loving hand of Sam Lingle. She’s the boss. She’s the catering manager. She’s Mom here. And she makes everything better.

What problem in the world can’t be solved by a little breaded chicken and a hug from Sam? How can the world ever get you down when Sam’s got your back? How can you ever get too full of yourself when Sam is there to ground you? You can’t get too full of yourself; you can only get too full … of pizza, of tacos, of soup and hamburgers and wisdom.

Man, take all your five-star restaurants, your steakhouses, your gastropubs. I just want to pull a chair up to the table with Sam and unload the stresses of the world. She’s got room for one more son, right? I’m sort of an athlete. I mean, I own a tennis racket.

Joey Bland

P.S. Describe your perfect meal.

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