The way Nathan is looking at me in that photo.
He is sweet. Has an edge too.
Do you know the number of young men who stood in front of me acting like I knew nothing? With all my years of extraordinary training.
So many young men. It's disturbing.
They'd call me 'miss' instead of chef. Never called my male colleagues 'mister.'
At some point, I began wondering about their home life. About their dads in particular.
Contempt for women is generational.
I hope it's not happening to women in your restaurant kitchens.
Friday, September 29, 2007.
Me and Nathan at dinner in a Bouchon, Le Jura. Woman chef-owner.
I wanted my last meal in the city to have a feminine touch. A grand tradition in Lyon.
We sat at a banquette. Photos below.
There was a big plate of sautéed chanterelles with garlic and parsley to share. What else do you want to eat in September in France?
I had magret with roasted figs. Apparently, I gave Nathan shit for ordering a steak. A nicely cooked piece of beef is fine, but steak seemed a very American choice with a menu that had sweetbreads and lovely French dishes.
Who was I to dictate his pleasure? Fuck, I can be arrogant.
There was a round of St. Marcellin wrapped in a chestnut leaf, like a gift from Mother Nature. Crimson praline Torte Lyonnaise to finish.
Nathan remembers the chef, Brigitte, coming out at the end of dinner service and sitting at a table reading the newspaper. Daily rituals in a small restaurant. Moments of privacy.
The meal capped two weeks in the city, at the Institut Paul Bocuse.
It's a nice memory. We still talk about it.
The day did not start out a delight.
Here's a teaser:
The night before, some students had been out tearing up the city. Normal.
One of them we'll call the showman.
They found themselves at an after-hours club. The showman gave a half-naked improvisational performance. A local Lyonnaise told Nathan he was a nice guy, but bodily harm would follow if he didn't take his friend away quickly. The local knew karate. Hoo boy.
Last night in Europe. Quintessential.
The next morning those students missed something important.
Nathan was the only one who came to my room, looked me in the eye, admitted to being an asshole, and apologized.
The anger vanished. I can move on with haste under those conditions. Saying sorry takes backbone.
Real men do it.
Just click on this. Nathan was a cute kid.
He has a friendly temperament—calm and level-headed. He's liked in the business. Respected by people he leads.
He's got good things going on. A new business. Good partners. A lovely woman.
He's hiring in a new way. It's interesting. Gives me hope.
I like his cooking. He likes mine too.
I sometimes lend him my precious French cookbooks. A big deal. I have a library card sign-out system.
His Instagram feed fills up with images of Troisgros recipes. My heart fills up too.
The best way to educate the young. Show them the masters.
And not just the fucking men.
Some students came to teach me.
These bands. Similar DNA.
The bodies of work. Fuck.
The first song was lined up. But today, it seemed right. To weave the music together.
Our hearts are broken.