Wednesday, April 13, 2011
A couple of weeks ago I came upon an article about the famed French chef Paul Bocuse in Atlanta Journal Constitution. An iconic culinary personality and one of the first to come out from behind the kitchen door and be known by name, Bocuse has just been proclaimed Chef of the Century by the Culinary Institute of America. I met him in 1993 and reading about him brought back some wonderful memories. He was in Cleveland and part of the launch of Sans Souci, the lovely Mediterranean themed restaurant that continues to operate in the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel downtown. I was among a small select group of local journalists invited to attend a dinner he prepared. The delivery of that invitation is something I’ll never forget. A limo pulled into my driveway and when I answered the door the driver presented me with a gorgeous basket. It was lined with a golden yellow cloth napkin embroidered with the restaurant’s logo, and a bottle of olive oil, some herbes de Provence, and a note requesting the pleasure of my company. Bocuse and Chef d’ Cuisine Claude Rodier prepared an extraordinary meal. We sat in at a large table set up beside the stove. It was my first chef’s table experience and among my earliest professional encounters with a master and a celebrity. I came home with an apron and as autographed cookbook, Bocuse’s Regional French Cooking. Both have been well used over the years. His recipe for pears poached in Beaujolais has become my go to dessert for impressing guests. What I’m thinking about today are how many other big names and major players in gastronomic universe I’ve met, interviewed and written about since then. It’s been a privilege and I’ve had more fun than I could have imagined. Although I put in long hours and toil diligently to get the writing as good as it can be, on occasion I’m embarrassed to describe what I do as work. I’m still having a great time and I still love sharing the stories about what I discover. With all this on my mind it seems like a good moment to voice my appreciation to the publications and the editors that have given me these opportunities, and to all the readers like you, for whom I do it. Thank you.