After a long day of riding around Paris , tasting the best oysters, bread, pastries, pâté and chocolates we could find, we warmed up back at my friends' apartment, then headed out to our dinner reservation at Pierre Gagnaire.
Paris is becoming a place where I feel more and more at home. Each time I arrive, I hit the ground running, and head straight to my friends' neighborhood, the 11th arrondissement, just off the Canal St.
Although my next Los Angeles restaurant will be Comme Ça, a Parisian-style brasserie, I am also in the process of developing Sokyo, a Japanese restaurant. At Sokyo, the food will be prepared and served kappo style—that is, elegant small dishes prepared by cooks on one side of a counter and served to patrons on the other side, similar to a sushi counter or a high-end tapas bar.
My beliefs on team-building are a bit radical. I believe that, in order to achieve something great, people must be able to work together as if their lives depend on it. In a less extreme sense, they must trust each other unconditionally.
The story of my mentors begins with a door—specifically, the entrance into the somewhat mythical Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago. I had been reading chef Trotter ’s first book, also called Charlie Trotter's, over the course of a year, obsessing nightly over every dish and, most importantly, obsessing over his philosophy of life.
I’m inspired daily. I’m happy to be alive and think that every day is another opportunity to push myself to the limit. I like to fall asleep knowing I did everything possible to make an impact that day.
I cook. I love what I do. I love every second, every part of what I do—the inspiration, the idea, and the creation. When I think about my culinary philosophy, I define it best by linking lessons learned from my mentors: find your own way, let your palate be your guide, and respect the ingredients.
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