it's not so much dan barber that interests me here, but something that the goose farmer says about chefs. it was the best foie gras of dan barber's life, so much so that he doesn't think he'll ever serve foie gras again in his own restaurant because nothing he can get in the states can come close to tasting like that.
db says to him,
you're in spain. some of the greatest chefs in the world, ferran adria, the preeminent chef of the world today--not that far from you. how come you don't give him this? how come no one's really heard of you?....
and he said,
because chefs don't deserve my foie gras. and he was right. he was right. chefs take foie gras and they make it their own. we create a dish where all the vectors point at us. with eduardo, it's about the expression of nature, and as he said, i think fittingly, it's a gift from god, with god saying, you've done good work. simple.
this man, eduardo, a man i may never know or speak to, has spoken the words i've always been thinking. so much of what goes on in kitchens is about ego (not to mention machismo)--it's frustrating to be around it all of the time. i've come to prize humility in cooks and chefs more than most traits, and every single day i wrestle with letting go of ego in my own cooking. i like to make delicious food not for the credit, recognition or praise, but simply because i like to eat delicious food.
i like to make evenly golden potato cakes, for example, because it's a challenge, and because i want to improve my technique as a cook with every single task i take on, and because i want everything i make to be right, and i want to do right by the farmer who grew that potato, and by the potato itself.
i've had the privilege of cooking alongside some really amazing people, and have had many years to come to these realizations. but as a writer, i am still young, and though i have some incredible people helping me along my path, i haven't had the time or experience to shed ego in the same way in my writing. but i am trying very hard to stay true to myself, and to write what i think needs to be said instead of pandering to what i think will be gobbled up by the masses. and in the long run, i hope that that brings me closer to where i want to be.