BY Rudy Mars (QSP)
Traverse City, MI — In an emotional speech at the conclusion of his fiction reading at Squirrel’s Book Grotto, Andy Mozina announced that his personal chef had rejoined his Quality Snacks book tour.
“Someone I love is close to me again,” Mozina said. He then invited his audience to look to the back of the room where stood a person in a heavily padded black chef’s jacket, black toque and a black goalie mask from which protruded a voice-distorting mouthpiece. The chef stood perfectly still, staring at Mozina.
“It really is like a marriage,” Mozina said afterwards, waiting to see if anyone would come by to get a book signed. “My chef cooks and puts out snacks and I bare my soul, so to speak, to the reading public. We’re great colleagues and best friends.”
When asked to elaborate on what had soured their relationship, Mozina said, “That’s between me and my personal chef. Sometimes the bone heals strongest at the break, I’ll say that.”
The other half of the tumultuous professional relationship was more forthcoming.
“He owed me money and he finally paid,” the mystery chef said through the voice-distorting mouthpiece. “Just doing what I’m hired to do.”
In contrast to the sophisticated offerings at earlier readings on the tour—prosciutto wrapped gnocchi with smoky tomato vinaigrette and artichoke beignets with ancho mayonnaise had been the twin pillars—the only snack on hand was a single chafing dish piled with what seemed to be microwaved Totino’s Pizza Rolls.
“The menu at today’s reading was about fun, not pretension,” Mozina said, beaming. “Just like my book.”
The disguised chef refused to comment on the afternoon’s fare.