In a time when it is common for chefs to simply reproduce the innovations of others, the few who speak for themselves through their food become the skilled artists of their time.
All four elements were happening in equal measure - the cuisine, the wine, the service, and the overall ambience. It taught me that dining could happen at a spiritual level.
Sometimes I think I should have chosen a line of work where it was just me alone in the room, with the sun coming in, and God, insofar as he or she exists, smiling down upon me. Then I would have never been accused of being a tyrant, other than towards myself.
If you know what you're doing, you can make a meal happen with any kitchen knife. But using a top-quality knife versus a low-quality one is the difference between driving a Jaguar and a VW Jetta across the country. They'll both get you there. But the Jaguar will give you a much smoother ride.
A jazz musician can improvise based on his knowledge of music. He understands how things go together. For a chef, once you have that basis, that's when cuisine is truly exciting.
I've always liked root vegetables because most of them have a natural sweetness. They have a high fructose content, especially when you cook them and caramelize them in a saute pan. Or you can take a turnip and cook it slowly in the oven until it's browned, and it takes on a kind of sweetness. These vegetables are pretty easy to like.