I realize that this thread is about a million miles long, and pretty much beaten into the ground, but I read the book recently, and know something about all of the chefs that he variously praises and slanders, and my two big questions are-
how can you have a 15 year career and leave most or every job on bad or dubious terms? why would you?
and if this isn't the case, why didn't any of Psaltis's former chefs blurb the book? I know that if I came out with a public statement, book or article of any kind about my cooking history, I would first run it by the chefs whom I was going to mention heavily, and that if they didn't think it was honorable I'd kill it. And if they did think it was honorable and accurate, they'd go to the ends of the earth to defend my credibility. I just haven't heard a peep out of Bouley, Urena, Ducasse or his chefs, Nish, etc. If Psaltis was really such a great guy, wouldn't they be backing him up?
And, a lot of people can cook. Lots and lots and lots. But Chefs are one in a million.
I can think of a number of reasons why his former chef's may not have blurbed the book. Let me give you some:
1. The publisher may have wanted names that the whole courtry knows as opposed to chefs that only NY'ers and food people are familiar with. Lets face it, the whole world knows Jaques Pepin and Batali through TV. I dont think the masses are nearly as familiar with David Bouley and Wayne Nish.
2. As you mention there are a number of "barbs" to go with the many praises in the book. Most people who are barbed (even the slightest bit) are not going to give a ringing endorsement and tell people to run out and buy the book to read about an embarrassing moment that happened under their watch.
3. I dont know much about the book industry but it would seem to me to be strange for a significant character in any book to blurb that book. It would seem to self serving. Maybe some of the media and book people can comment on this point
4. You mention he left every job under bad circumstances. Ive read the book a few times and Im not sure I agree with this comment. Lets list the different place and see what the book said:
- Panama Hatties - If i remember correctly, Psaltis left this job to go to NYC, the place he felt he wanted to "make it" as a chef. He put in something like 3 years at PH and was looking to move his career foward. Certainly not a bad ending here, no?
- Bouley - Left to go to March. Where in the book did it say he left on dubious terms? If I remember, at the time Psaltis left, Bouley was renovating. Maybe its a simple need for money or to trade up to what Psaltis thought would be a great learning expirience. Where is the dubious part here?
- March - Left to go back to Bouley if I remember correcly which shorlty thereafter recevied four stars. Seems to me to be strange that Bouley would take him back if he left on such "dubious" terms.
- Unamed (now i guess people say this is Blue Hill) - Obviously some creative differeces here. Certainly left seemingly on dubious terms.
- Chello - If i remember, Psaltis only spent a month there (as he was offered the job at ADNY which i dont think anyone would pass on) and LT was happy for him (at least that is what it said in the book.
- ADNY - AD chose him to open mix so did not leave ANDY dubiously.
- MIX - Obviously some issues here but there have been issues with every Chowdrow establishment that is not just a concept but real food. Mix is now closed in NY so the problems were obvoulsy much greater than anything Psaltis would or couldve done. If I remember, Ducasse offered Psaltis the opportunity to work in Europe for Ducasse so seemingly no hard feelings between them.
TFL - Too well documented here to go over but as mentioned by many TK said things were pretty screwed up at TFL during Psaltis's time and not by Psaltis's doing.
Country - Did GZ not get any references here. Seems to me he would have called some of these chefs you mention and either he got good references or GZ or took a real risk. My guess is that Psaltis was given good references.
Not sure if i left anything out so feel free to correct me but after writing it all down i see one (maybe two) places he left on, as you say "dubious" terms. Please explain your comment and give some facts to back it up.