A Stir The Pots Post

Chef, ghost of kitchen past and present.

by | Dec 25, 2009 | Uncategorized

Chef:chef | sh ef|
a professional cook, typically the chief cook in a restaurant or hotel.
verb ( cheffed, cheffing) [ intrans. ] informal
work as a chef : when they finish cheffing, they gather themselves together and they drink their owners' best wines.
ORIGIN early 19th cent.: French, literally ‘head.’

Ever think how much one person influenced your daily action or routine? I do. Constantly. At least when it comes to my life in the kitchen. How those role models inspired me. Or more accurately gave me a frame. How I mirrored and then transposed their lessons, a bit like a child taking their first steps. And later when I felt  the natural ease, the flow, it became second nature.

What I am getting at is my visit at Christmas Eve dinner with my former head boss and mentor, Jean Michel Bergounoux, probably the most influential chef in my career. Tonight we recollected stories, shared recipes forgotten and remembered all our times at the infamous restaurant Raphael, once the NYC bastion of nouvelle cuisine.

Enjoying the meal, plates and ingredients that seemed so familiar. Jean Michel even joked about the periwinkles I was having, remembering the way we used to make them with salmon. According to Jean Michel, Eric Ripert said that was the finest dish we made there, then admitted that he couldn't recall how we did it. "No problem, chef," I quipped, "just reduce the court boullion and monter avec huile d'olive. Simple!" Jean Michel's response was kind. "Oh yeah" he said! You have to come back once in awhile to remind me about those old recipes." Laughing and eating at his restaurant was a real treat, reliving our glory days in the hovel of a kitchen where we once toiled in side by side.

Thanking Jean Michel and wishing him a happy holiday, it hit me that 15 years have passed and I still have the taste and memories of each dish. It was a good time, indeed!

Merci Chef! Or oui chef?


1 Comment

  1. MC

    Lovely post, Jeremy! What a treat this Xmas eve must have been…


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