After 45 years of marriage, when I have an argument with my wife, if we don't agree, we do what she wants. But, when we agree, we do what I want!
I tell a student that the most important class you can take is technique. A great chef is first a great technician. 'If you are a jeweler, or a surgeon or a cook, you have to know the trade in your hand. You have to learn the process. You learn it through endless repetition until it belongs to you.
You have no choice as a professional chef: you have to repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat until it becomes part of yourself. I certainly don't cook the same way I did 40 years ago, but the technique remains. And that's what the student needs to learn: the technique.
All the great chefs I know - Thomas Keller, Jean-Georges Vongerichten - they are technicians first.
I was chef to the French Presidents between '56 and '59, finished with de Gaulle, and during de Gaulle I remember serving Eisenhower, Nehru, Tito, Macmillan; those were the heads of state at the time. I never saw anyone. No one would ever, ever, ever come to the kitchen. You couldn't even see them.
If you have extraordinary bread and extraordinary butter, it's hard to beat bread and butter.
I have an immigrant story. Most people come here for economic reasons, or religious reasons, or racial reasons, or gender reasons, or one of those things. I had a good job in Paris, but America was, and still is, the golden fleece. And I've done very well!
When you are at home, even if the chicken is a little burnt, what's the big deal? Relax.
Just because I am a chef doesn't mean I don't rely on fast recipes. Indeed, we all have moments when, pressed for time, we'll use a can of tuna and a tomato for a first course. It's a question of choosing the right recipes for the rest of the menu.
You can't escape the taste of the food you had as a child. In times of stress, what do you dream about? Your mother's clam chowder. It's security, comfort. It brings you home.
Basically, I go to the local farmer's market and decide to what to cook then, depending on what I find. Either my wife or I cook, and we usually finish a bottle or two of wine by the time we are done cooking and eating.
I cooked at the White House for Easter, last year, with Michelle Obama. But it more had to do with cooking from the organic garden, and her message. I took my daughter and granddaughter there, and they were really charming, it was great.
I am a glutton. I'll eat whatever is there. Pizza. I love hot dogs anywhere. I've got nothing against any of that. If I feel like eating, I eat. I don't feel guilty about it at all.
My mother likes what I cook, but doesn't think it's French. My wife is Puerto Rican and Cuban, so I eat rice and beans. We have a place in Mexico, but people think I'm the quintessential French chef.
This June, I'll travel once again to the Food and Wine Magazine Classic in Aspen, Colorado. For many years, my dear friend Julia Child and I have teamed up to teach classes together at the event; for the past seven years, my daughter, Claudine, has been my cooking partner on stage.
For un-subscribe please check the mail footer.