'I really love Taft,' he said.' We did good things back then. Taft was so good to me.' He wants to hear from former customers of Gentieu’s sandwich shop, Gentieu’s West steakhouse and Leonard’s Restaurant.
If you remember Leonard Gentieu and the popular eateries he operated during his days in Taft, he wants you – at least your recollections.
The master chef, who currently rules the galley on his Morro Bay-based yacht Papagallo II charter business, is celebrating 50 years in the culinary business by writing a book.
He’s looking to include some tidbits from former employees and customers of the three Taft eateries he ran in the 70s and 80s – Gentieu’s sandwich shop, Gentieu’s West steakhouse and Leonard’s Restaurant.
He says he’s “more passionate than ever about cooking” and excited about the book, which is currently going through the editing and rewrite process “but I’m still adding new chapters.”
He wants one to be about those who worked for and patronized his Taft businesses.
“It hit me late one night,” he said. “Wouldn’t it be cool to invite some comments from former employees and customers in Taft?”
Gentieu, who created a world record 464-foot long sandwich that was the signature event of the 1975 Oildorado Days celebration, describes the book as “a real behind-the-scenes look at the restaurant business.”
He relates many experiences from his long tenure in the business – successes, failures, pitfalls, “the good, the bad and the ugly, nothing left out.”
His years in Taft get plenty of ink.
“Most of the book comes from my days in Taft,” he said. “Taft is such an important part it. I really love Taft. We did good things back then. Taft was so good to me.”
That’s why he’s calling on friends here for grist for the book. He wants “real stuff added to create an even more complete work,” he said. “Your submission can remain anonymous or include a first name or initials if you want.”
From ex-employees he wants memorable on-the-job experiences, the best and worst, tidbits about tips and tippers, what you learned about life from restaurant work and whether or not you recommend it, did your experience change the way you think about people today, and what kind of boss was he.
For customers, he’d like to know what made you come in the first time, keep coming or stop coming, memorable meal experiences, favorite dishes, people, tables, personal tipping policy, were you ever disappointed or surprised.
“Write as much as you want,” he said. “
He’s also in early discussions with a producer about a television pilot for a food and travel series with a new spin – it’ll be filmed along the California coast.
Submit written contributions by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or regular mail (Leonard Gentieu, 840B Morro Ave., Morro Bay, CA 93442). His website is onboardnauticalevents.com.