Choices Made By Chefs

I was reading an interview with Alain Passard recently; he’s the chef-owner of L’Arpege, which is located on a small hard-to-find street in central Paris.  He noted that he had not been to New York, and I found this puzzling, amusing, and oddly inspiring.

Passard’s food is first-rate.  He switched from a varied menu a few years ago to one that is chiefly driven by vegetables.  I’ve been twice to his restaurant and was dazzled both times by his ability to coax flavors from food that has no fat in it.  (OK, he adds butter.)

I began to wonder if the busy plates of most North American chefs–on which one ingredient after another is piled on, showcasing the chef’s ability to use things–are a cultural artifact.  Meaning that the desire to draw attention to the food and the person who led the team to cook it are bold in the way that other things around us are bold.

Like the big, noisy novel I am reading now by Atticus Lish.  So much happens in it!  But the depth isn’t there.  We get distracted by the excitement and forget perhaps that in life not much happens at all, and that this not happening is at the heart of storytelling.  Ironically.

Maybe it’s a good idea to keep things simple:

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