A jazz musician can improvise based on his knowledge of music. He understands how things go together. For a chef, once you have that basis, that's when cuisine is truly exciting.
I don't understand people who spend their twenties hanging out in bars and going to football game. That stuff is so boring compared to really applying yourself to what you do.
In my case, vertical food was less about standing things up than layering things: more an attempt to gain texture by weaving things together.
It's a lot harder to get people to 'ooh' and 'aah' over beets and carrots than it is to get them to 'ooh' and 'aah' over artichokes or asparagus, and I enjoy being able to take these humble, 'lowbrow' foodstuffs up a few notches and serve them with great exuberance.
Students need to learn how to think critically, how to argue opposing ideas. It is important for them to learn how to think. You can always cook.
Excellence is about fighting and pursuing something diligently, with a strict and determined approach to doing it right. It's okay if there are flaws in the process - it makes it more interesting.
The most successful food, I think, is food that both appeals to the super-sophisticated diner or foodie and to the lay diner at the same time.
If you ever want to get anywhere in life, you're going to have to push it, and somebody's going to push you to get there. End of story.
To me, searching for perfection isn't anywhere near as interesting as trying to find your own voice.
All four elements were happening in equal measure - the cuisine, the wine, the service, and the overall ambience. It taught me that dining could happen at a spiritual level.
You can't be afraid to not have everything figured out. There's too much pressure on young people today to have it all figured out when they're in college.
You know the old adage that the customer's always right? Well, I kind of think that the opposite is true. The customer is rarely right.