I said (and so did Hoffman) that he went to dinner there wanting to eat classical cuisine and was "talked into" the curry dish by a captain. You always manage to skip over that part of the story which is what makes the quote relevent.
When I don't have to repeat my question about "sprinkling," I'll get to what I always avoid.
and you posted:
"But then I got talked into ordering one of the chef's specialties, a mille-feuille of langoustines with curry, and it was infuriating. It was a French dish with powder. It was such an insular approach, as though nobody understood that curry isn't a powder that you don't apply cosmetically. Nobody had read Madhur Jaffrey, or really understood that curry isn't just a spice you shake but a whole technique you have to understand."
and later on you asked:
And you still haven't answred my question that you said you were going to answer once I posted the quote.
Actually you phrased it as an accusation, not a question and quite obviously, I didn't find a relevant point so I don't know which one I shouldn't have skipped.
How can you say it is unsupportable? It's the guys opinion. It doesn't need support. That's how he feels about it. I don't find it arrogant either. What's wrong with a person who has some understanding of curry being unhappy with what they think is less than the perfect use? As for Peter's knowledge of French food, I think he's pretty knowledgable. I mean I've had a number of discussions with him about it.
My problem is that the opinion is not presented as an opinion. I don't see the "in my opinion" or "I think that," what I read is "It was such an insular approach, as though nobody understood ..." Nobody understood and not even a second to contemplate that maybe he's the one who's wrong. "Nobody had read Madhur Jaffrey, or really understood that curry isn't just a spice you shake but a whole technique" He's saying they're all wrong and you ask me why it sounds arrogant. A simialr blend of spices has been in use in England for the better part of the last millenium, but truth will only come from the east. I'm sorry after 700 years the west has some knowledge of its own and its own idea of how to use spices and they have a validity. Indian cuisine is an option, but it doesn't negate western cooking where there are similarities. Had he spoken of an option, or an alternate course, I would not have found him arrogant. Had he spoken with some respect for the greatness that is French cuisine I would not have found arrogance. Had he offered more than his tutelage with Madhur Jaffrey to pose as the expert on the use of curry in the west where we have a long tradition of of using the spices that go into every blend we use, I might not have found him arrogant.
Here's an interesting web page with information on European curry history going back to the 1300's and with support for the derivation of "curry" being of English origin from contemporary cooking terms of that time.
I've never met Peter, nor have I eaten his food, although I live near the restaurant. Not suprisingly, it's not the kind of food that most appeals to me. Or at least I should say that the posted menus were not all that appealing and the reviews didn't inspire us. We often considered that we should try it, but just never got around to it and then I read that article in the New Yorker and my interest waned even further. It's not him, it's what he said in the article and I'd really be surprised if he hasn't softened his views. How recently have you discussed this with him? I have no reason not to believe he's anything but a fine fellow. I've never heard his name used in a negative way, although truthfully, I've not heard it mentioned often. Then again I have a narrow range of friends and acquaintances in the industry. In a way, I've not enjoyed making these posts. I'd much rather support an artist I like than criticize another negatively. I suppose I'll have a hard time convincing you of that in the near future.