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As a psychiatrist turned pundit, who loves good music and sport, I often find myself describing talented people by comparing them to stars in another field. The day I wrote this I had literally rubbed elbows with arguably (leaving aside the doping issue) the greatest athlete in the world, Lance Armstrong, in the morning, listened to arguably the greatest rising pianist star, Inon Barnatan, the evening before and written about arguably the most exciting “new/old” chef in Paris, Daniel Rose, just before that.
In listening to Barnatan and another brilliant pianist, Steven Osborne, I found myself reminded respectively of Landon Donovan and Lance, not just because of bodily similarities but career characteristics. I’m somewhat reluctant to admit it, but when seeing an actor, painter or dancer’s work(s) I tend to compare theirs to others’. So I did a little test and wrote down the greatest four contemporary stars in three fields (sport, music and food) and what comes to mind about them, taking as a given that each has enormous talent.
Armstrong, Lance: driven, adversity, competitive, intensity, fit, inventive (that hill descent in 2003)
Barnatan, Inon: pixieish, inside the music, joyful, variable
Federer, Roger: solid, steady, quietly exciting
Fleisher, Leon: mature, teacher, wise, mentor
Harrell, Lynn: sparkling, consistent, steady, intense
Kissin, Eugene: dazzling, quirky, outer directed
Ledeuil, William: inventive, teacher, dazzling
Maximin/Ducasse: mature, solid, consistent, saver of lost causes
Meyer, Danny: consistent, quietly demanding, broad scope
Ronaldo: clever, skilled, opportunistic (in the good sense), fit
Rose: solid, simple, outer directed
Woods: practice, intensity, foolishness
Let’s return then to food and, for the most part, to chefs.
-Alain Ducasse and Jacques Maximin represent the mature generation, those who have paid their dues, inspired others, nurtured dozens of students and served as role models, much as Leon Fleisher and Ronaldo have done in their respective fields.
-Daniel Rose represents the self-made man, the American dream, outwardly directed, perfectionistic but open to innovation, much like Inon Barnatan and Lance Armstrong.
-William Ledeuil is something between, classically trained but looking outside tradition for ideas, willing to experiment and go to the source (e.g., Yamashita veggies) and yet has the consistency of a Federer and the dazzle of a Kissim.
-Danny Meyer is a bit outside the box, a manager/inventor not chef/creator, whose breadth of vision and consistency reminds one that Tiger Woods and Lynn Harrell have put thousands of hours into perfecting their craft to ensure a consistent result.
The restos discussed here are :
6, rue Bailleul in the 1st (Metro: Louvre-Rivoli)
T: not connected yet
Open for dinner except Sundays and Mondays and lunch, probably Thursdays and Fridays.
Lunch bouillon 23 (chicken) or 32 € (pigeon), dinner menu 64 €, à la carte 40-60 € at lunch.
Ze Kitchen Galérie
4, rue des Grands Augustins, 6th (Metro: Saint Michel)
T: 01 44 32 00 32
Closed Saturday lunch and Sundays.
Menus: 27, 30 and 35, à la carte 30-50 €.
62, ave des Ternes,17th
Closed Saturday lunch and Sundays
A la carte about 50-60 €.
9 West 53rd Street
New York, NY 10019
T: (212) 333-1220
*The Rubinstein (Arthur) in the title was in homage to William Safire, both in the spirit of alliteration and because he, if alive, would have been among the stars.
©by John Talbott 2010
If you’re coming to France (or for that matter anywhere) you can reserve your hotel here. To rent a car, Bonjour Paris recommends Auto Europe. Paris Shuttle will whisk you to and from the airport and other locations.