I should hot key the line from William Echikson's Burgundy Stars where Loiseau introduces his sous chef by saying he "cooks Loiseau better than I do." In the 21st century, restaurants are too big and the food is too complex for anyone to assume the chef's own hand is invovled, even when he's in the restaurant, he's not "standing at the head of the line inspecting each dish." If it's a general rule that one eats better when the chef is in residence, it still wouldn't prove it's necessary for all chefs in all locations and one cannot make a justifiable case against any single chef by holding him to a standard that's a "general rule." I think you have to dintinguish between when you are talking about generalities and when you are talking about individuals, especially when you refer to individuals who are certainly at the head of the class.
When Regis Marcon was carving and serving our lamb en croute he wasn't in the kitchen overseeing anything. I may fool myself thinking he had overseen the cooking of my dish and the serving, but others had arrived after us and their food was still being prepared. I might assume I was the most important diner that evening, had I not seen him carve other diner's lamb while my order was being fired.
John, my guess is that some of the great artists, never touched up a work, although they may have had sous maitres artistes do that.
Steve, you said:
But my remark was made not in reference to legacies but to the order of the horse and cart in regard to Ducasse when you said:
Quote (Steve Plotnicki @ May 26 2002, 07:59)Bux - There's a huge difference between Ducasse and Adria. Adria has his foaming, his jellies and his freezing. Tell me what is Ducasse's culinary legacy? I can't think of a single thing
[Bux:] "Ducasse was a famous chef when he had one restaurant. He didn't become famous because he had a string of restaurants.
Even if you're satisfied that Adria's fame is based on the unique technique he's created (and I believe that's still debatable, but one might first have to debate the definition of "fame") there's the point I made that Ducasse was able to brand himself because he was famous and did not find it necessary to become a brand to make himself famous, as you suggest. It matters little if you respect his food or if he was unjustly famous for copying Italian dishes. His fame enabled him to brand himself.
Quote (Steve Plotnicki @ May 24 2002,17:42)
As for Ducasse and your assessment of his role in his business, not every chef has found it necessary to become a brand in order to make themselves famous. Look at Ferran Adria. He isn't a tireless self promoter who has licensed himself out to third parties. His fame has come as a result of the unique technique he created.