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.
Sometimes I think I should have chosen a line of work where it was just me alone in the room, with the sun coming in, and God, insofar as he or she exists, smiling down upon me. Then I would have never been accused of being a tyrant, other than towards myself.
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.
To me, searching for perfection isn't anywhere near as interesting as trying to find your own voice.
I never considered Miles Davis a perfectionist; I always considered him as an excellence-ist, where deviation is actually kind of cool.
When I graduated I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, but I knew I didn't want a conventional career.
Chefs, as a whole, say yes to any project, fundraiser, or tasting because they have such a generous spirit.
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.
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.
My fantasy is to have a restaurant where there are no written menus, but where you just ask people, 'What are you in the mood for? Fish? Meat? White wine?'
Any fool can be happy. What I'm interested in is satisfaction. There's got to be more to life than just being happy. You've got to be fulfilled. You've got to be satisfied; philosophically satisfied is what I mean.
Life's too short. You may be on this planet for 80 years at best or who knows, but you can't just pedal around and do the same thing forever.
I believe in focusing on details.
I love faltering. I love, in a sense, coming up short. Because you learn nothing from success. You learn so much from failing.
I wasn't using college as a stepping stone to law school or some other career. I just wanted a liberal-arts education.
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