The young man working his way through the kitchen brought to mind a young man of about the same age, three decades earlier. I had the good fortune, in my early adulthood, to work in a restaurant owned and operated by a man who is one of the great chefs of his generation. I did not work in the kitchen, but in the dining room, from 1983-1985. It provided the most important education of my life, which is saying a lot because I eventually earned a Ph.D. and even that did not top the learning earned in Guy Savoy’s restaurant.
The learning centered around craft. I had worked with food since I was 14 or so, and food was a centerpiece of my family life up to the time I took that job; as of 1983 I discovered that food also could be an art form. It has its own beauty, and calls on other senses and knowledge to fully appreciate. At their best, the creations of a chef like Guy Savoy can be a wonder of the world.
At that time I worked in his restaurant he had only earned two Michelin stars, and it was not until some years later that he earned the third; from a distance, watching his perseverance (though no chef publicly admits to such an ambition), I learned something about commitment to craft.
Guy Savoy, like many of his fellow chefs par excellence, mixes innovation with conservation of tradition, and by understanding that I eventually came to my own realization about the concept we now call entrepreneurial conservation.
Incidentally, the first time I had a meal in the restaurant after I had moved on to a new job in New York City, I brought as my guest the former high school English teacher who had introduced my classmates and me to the intersection of nature, art, drama, literature and history. Amie and I would later visit the restaurant several more times over the years. I see that Guy Savoy has expanded his restaurant empire to other locations around the world, and that raises my hopes for those young people who will learn the craft from one of its masters.