Page 10 - arches_summer_2012

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8
arches
summer
2012
from the president
Divine
innovation
I don’t think of myself as a foodie, exactly,
although I have been so accused. I am a seri-
ous diner, though, and believe there is nothing
more divine than a thoughtfully prepared
meal at a great restaurant with someone you
love. I also admit to being hooked on that TV
cooking competition
Chopped.
But a foodie? I
am afraid there is just a lot more cacciatore in
this Jersey boy than cordon bleu.
Last weekend I indulged my fondness for
dining by attending a fundraiser for a nearby
cancer research center. The featured speaker
was Ruth Reichl, the distinguished food writer,
longtime editor of
Gourmet
magazine, and
food critic for
The New York Times
and the
Los Angeles Times
. I am a fan. She talked about
why America now has the best restaurants and
the finest chefs in the world. Which has not
always been the case, she admitted, with Paris
historically acknowledged as the sacred capital
of haute cuisine and a number of other coun-
tries—Italy, China, Thailand—traditionally
known for outstanding regional cooking. But
cooking, like so many other things, is now a
much more global affair than it has ever been,
and America has become its center of grav-
ity. Why? The reason, Reichl said, is the same
reason why American medicine is respected
around the world as the very best. The reason
is mentorship.
What a concept. Reichl maintained that
just as our finest physicians and researchers
freely impart their knowledge in one-on-one
mentoring relationships with medical stu-
dents, interns, residents, and postdocs, and
among themselves, so do today’s great Ameri-
can chefs—young and old—commonly work
as mentors for one another. They generously
share knowledge, swap techniques, exchange
young students as sous chefs, and often even
partner to develop creative and innovative
new restaurants and cuisines. Unlike the
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