Friday, October 10, 2008


Lately I have been thinking about one of the many paradoxes I face because of my being a chef. As a chef my job is to bring happiness and joy to those I feed. It is my job to be a good host. To make sure those who dine with me have a nice time. It is my responsibility to provide everything I can to ensure that the guest is comfortable and needs of nothing. It is my place to provide a setting where people can come and relax amongst friends. Restaurants are often places where feuds are resolved or partnerships joined. Guy Savoy says, "The restaurant is the last civilized place on earth." And I would tend to agree with him. The paradox I speak of is not always easy for chefs to face. We bring people joy. We bring people together. We provide ways for our guests to celebrate life, and this is our duty, but often we are some of the loneliest people. We, who make our living in the midst of friends celebrating, often times miss that part of our lives. Many chefs have families at home with whom they don't spend enough time. We spend many long days and nights planning and preparing for others joy and often miss out of our own, or have to put those we love behind those we serve. It's a paradox I wish could be solved. There are so many demands that we never have time to get to everything we need to. There are always more menus to create. There is always some part of the business end that needs attending to. We must be present for service to ensure everything goes out to the guest perfect. There is shopping, ordering, and planning. So much more I could write, but in the end of it all there may be a few minutes left for us. While we spend our days surrounded by others, often times it feels like it's just us. I'm one of the lucky ones. I have most of my family working with me, and my youngest son is able to come down when ever he wants. I don't see him as much as I would like, and I miss him more often than I don't, but I have a duty to make others happy. It's easy to say spend less time at the restaurant but not so easy to put into practice. What a balance we must walk on! Is this our joy? Is this our happiness? Are wired in such a way that enables us to see through our own longings and find happiness in the happiness of others? I suppose it's a true saying that passion often leads to lonely decisions. Is this place where true inspiration comes. Are those who miss out, who walk alone, who choose others happiness over their own, are they the ones who find the most inspiration? Perhaps that's the trade off. Perhaps inspiration can only be found in the lonely places on earth. *picture by LA Crewe


Anonymous John Roddy said...

Chef Eric,

Thanks for putting your time and talent to work on Saturday -- I had the pleasure of dining Sat night w/my wife and in-laws celebrating a milestone birthday. The food, the presentation, the service were all superb. You're to be congratulated for adding such a wonderful experience to the list of those available in the great part of the world. Thanks again.

10/13/2008 3:40 PM  

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