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AT BERNICE’S Annie Grace IN THE KITCHEN of THE RIVIERA Daniel Lafayette - Chef Peter - Apprentice Mike - Dishwasher (and Bernice’s son) IN THE FRONT Reggie Whitson - Owner Penny Whitson - Owner John Chan - Headwaiter / Owner Roy & Jamal - Waiters (These notes were written by Ariel Quigley.)

Annie Grace

Annie Grace was the ghost of a slave who had once lived, cooked, and died on the property where Bernice’s  home sits in Alexandria, Virginia. I believe it was thanks to my encounter and subsequent interaction with Annie  Grace in Bernice’s kitchen that Bernice asked me to become her housemate.  (Top IN THE KITCHEN Daniel Lafayette Chef Daniel is a brilliant and beautiful man, at least as all the ladies he charms believe. He creates wondrous  culinary delights, and he flirts with every female because of his obvious love of the fairer sex. However, in the  kitchen, his desire is law, and anyone who crosses him meets his wrath, which is why he once cold-cocked an  associate who displeased him with a frozen fish. Nevertheless, he is an elegant man with the bearing of royalty,  especially when he has a chef’s knife in his hand. (Top 


Peter, Daniel’s apprentice, was still learning the art of cooking when I met him. Obviously under the spell of  Daniel, Peter was obviously not yet ready to practice the artistry required in the kitchen himself, though Daniel  praised his skills quite solidly. At least two inches shorter than I, he had a sweet smile, a head of curly blond hair,  and a youthful, clear-skinned face. And as I was to learn later, he was also a skilled artist when it came to  Pennsylvania Dutch designs. His last name was Smith, a common but reliable name, as he assured me.  (Top 


Mike, Bernice’s son, worked part-time as dishwasher at The Riviera. When I visited, I noticed a lot of back and  forth banter between Mike and the chef, and I got a real sense of family among this little kitchen staff.  (Top 


Reginald Whitson

Co-Owner of the Riviera, Reggie had been a friend of Bernice’s for many years. When I first met him, I viewed  him as a tall, lanky impresario, who measured the way table settings at the restaurant were laid by the millimeter. Yet  his sense of humor outshone his obsessive precision with the table settings and cuisine, and before our first  encounter was over, I found myself totally charmed by his wit and clever repartee. Later, I would learn he was also  an avid stock car racer.  (Top) 

Penelope Whitson

Reggie’s wife, Penelope, had an artist’s soul and an economist’s calculator. Moreover, she had the body of a  model and a couturier’s taste in her personnel apparel. When I first met her, she was wearing designer jeans and a  long, bulky turtleneck sweater that emphasized her slenderness, while her long platinum hair perfectly set off her  peaches and cream complexion. And when she spoke, it didn’t take me long to realize the accent I was detecting  gave evidence of her Australian roots. She was gorgeous, with a face like Helen of Troy, a body like Marilyn Monroe,  and business acumen like a steel trap.  (Top)

John Chan

  Tall, handsome, and Chinese, Jon Chan was six feet of dashing elegance in his formal headwaiter’s tuxedo.  And within a short while, I was totally smitten by his actor’s improv wit and romantically dashing attention to me  personally. I wondered if he might be my newest love interest when he kept trying to make a date with me at our first  encounter.  (Top) 

Roy and Jamal

Roy, a beautiful black man, and Jamal, an East Indian actor who could do a perfect imitation of Peter Sellers  doing an imitation of an East Indian actor, were both waiters at the Riviera. Roy had a family of a beautiful wife and  two sweet little girls, and Jamal was in America trying to break into show biz while supporting himself as a waiter. I  was delighted by both of them, as they lent tremendous panache to the atmosphere of the restaurant.  (Top) 

John’s Uncle Jimmy and Cousin Clarice

On our first date, John took me to his Uncle Jimmy’s restaurant in D.C.’s Chinatown, where I met this man who  had given John his education in both cooking and running a restaurant, and his cousin Clarice, who had only just  returned from her own educational cooking experience in China. Clarice was not only a gourmet chef but an  incredibly beautiful woman, and I wondered immediately whether she and John might be “kissing cousins.”  (Top) 

Characters from

The Chef Who Died Sautéing