by Wicked Local Lexington —

Donning a black chef’s jacket in the chic Lexx Restaurant last Friday, March 9, state Rep. Jay Kaufman, D-Lexington, said he hoped he would be able to wield a knife in the kitchen as well as his constituent, Lexx executive chef and co-owner Chris Bateman, wielded Kaufman’s gavel at the State House the previous day.

The two switched jobs for a day, with Bateman playing politician on March 8 and Kaufman practicing his culinary skills as a line cook and sous chef on March 9.

After a day of sitting in on public hearings and executive sessions, and even leading a few discussions as faux-chairman with Kaufman at his side, Bateman said has newfound appreciation for what his state representative does.

“It was fascinating on how many different items the office actually handled as far as anything from fish and wildlife questions to labor issues to taxes,” he said. “We were in motion the whole entire time.”

Bateman added he hoped Kaufman would see the similarities in their hectic jobs after their two-day “trading places” experiment. He said being a chef requires a lot of teamwork, just like a politician in office.

“The misnomer that most people have is that there’s one chef just cooking their dish for them. The reality is, that chef orchestrates the restaurant and the kitchen,” he said. “You have a whole group of people that put together all the components of their dish to make a finished product. We do things on a mass scale.”

Kaufman, the pungent aroma of freshly chopped garlic permeating the air as he worked, said he experienced the similarities after only half an hour “on the line.”

“Conductors who orchestrate have the challenge of trying to bring out the best of the people in the orchestra and bring it together as a whole that’s greater than the sum of its parts,” he said. “And that’s what makes a great restaurant. That’s what makes a great community.”

Kaufman worked at Lexx for a nearly 11-hour shift, from 11:30 a.m. until closing at 10 p.m. Serving more than 200 people, he cooked and prepped dishes from fried clams, quiche and jambalaya for lunch to grilled meatloaf and pumpkin ravioli for dinner.

Read more: State Rep. Jay Kaufman trades places with Lexx chef – Lexington, MA – Lexington Minuteman