It was either Voltaire or Charlie Sheen who said, 'We are born alone. We live alone. We die alone. And anything in between that can give us the illusion that we're not, we cling to.'
I grew up with all these old jazz guys in the '70s in L.A., and they grew up idolizing Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, Lester Young - all of these incredible musicians.
Nic's Charlie is something very particular. You can't really put them together. It's a phantasm.
I love cookbooks for completely different reasons. I love 'The Harry's Bar Cookbook' and Marco-Pierre White's 'White Heat' for their feel. For pure learning, Gray Kunz wrote a great cookbook, 'The Elements of Taste', published in 2001. The first time I read Charlie Trotter's, the Chicago chef's first cookbook, I was blown away.