Living Legends, Part II

I’ve been working A LOT lately… and I take many an opportunity to complain about that. What I’ve not done enough of in the past several weeks (besides write, of course) is count my blessings.

I forget that my “work” would be another person’s fantasy. In fact, hundreds of people are paying a very substantial price this coming weekend (10/3 & 4/2009) to spend two brief days in my world (for the New York Culinary Experience)… for me, until I had a chance to consider it more objectively, it has been just another reason to complain about working too much. After Wednesday afternoon, I’m feeling different about that.

Wednesday was the last of three final exam days/nights at The French Culinary Institute. For each final we have a jury of prominent chefs and restaurateurs come in to judge the students’ cooking. This is always a big deal with plenty of culinary luminaries floating in an out; but yesterday was by far the most extraordinary group in a long time.

The panel included the chef/owner of the famed Lutece (and FCI Dean of Classic Studies), Chef Andre Soltner and his former saucier of 21 years, Chef Jacques Coustar; and a very special guest, Sirio Maccioni – founder and eternal presence at Le Cirque, along with executive chefs past and present, current Chef Craig Hobson and former Le Cirque head toque, and FCI’s Dean Emeritus Chef Alain Sailhac (my long-time mentor). It was an honor to serve them (and all the other wonderful judges) that day.

It reminded me of how much I love what I do. Just in time to do it a whole bunch more of the next several days!

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