It’s been a long time since I have seen a chef of mine; I have been trying to get an interview with him for ages! He is virtually up the road away from me, we met once at Bridge Kitchenware’s and he asked me if I was still a club chef, seems like were in another world from the restaurant chefs!
So it’s Mothers day, well actually it’s the day before and my mom was invited to visit my most influential chef, Jean Michel Bergounoux of L’absinthe. After having failed to put up with crap from a infamous starred chef in midtown, I was without work and Jean-Robert my former chef sent me to Jean-Michel who was also out on his luck too from the late three starred restaurant Le Cygne. Along with me and two other cooks he hired us to head up the restaurant Raphael on 54th street. Restaurant Raphael was the original home of Nouveau cuisine in New York, as well as the layover for wayward future stars like Thomas Keller and a long list of names resembling the who’s who of chefs! The first incident where we screwed up, and there were surely a lot more than a few; chickens we forgot roasting in the oven led to admitting our mistake to Jean-Michel who only said, “guy’s it’s just chicken, I don’t want to yell and ‘ave an heart attaque!” we were amazed at his calm, most other chefs would scream like drill sergeants or can you! Jean-Michel made a cook understand the senses, judgment and taste; he was an all around chef always able to pull out masterpieces of food in such simple ways that were sublime!
So tonight I wasn’t disappointed, a fabulous sardine terrine with yukon potatoes and a roasted duck with an intense olive coulis! There was that pure earthiness that is signature of Jean-Michel’s food! I thought I would surprise him, indeed I think he was ; at first he wasn’t able to recognize me!
I hope to get him for an interview soon, sure was funny snapping a picture of him in the kitchen, “stand still Jean-Michel!” “Too busy Jeremy, je suis desolé,” he said as he was cranking out the orders on the line!
Check him out at the restaurant and catch the video with Al Roker!