Posted 29 July 2002 - 09:06 PM
Thanks for your question, jaybee. (And for taking the trouble to move it...) Daniel Boulud read the book for the first time when it was in bound galleys--a point at which it's almost impossible to make substantive changes in a book. He showed amazing patience during the production process, and never pressed me to show him anything before I was ready to. I should also say that he exhibited tremendous courage in giving me the kind of complete access he did without the right to review the material before publication. I wonder whether any of his peers--other four star chefs--would have been as stout-hearted. When he did finally read it, Daniel's reaction was fairly explosive. There were a number of subjects I touched on in the book that he would have preferred I had left alone--the salary ranges of his employees, for instance, and a very rare instance of poor hygiene that he did not witness. We spoke and corresponded by email many times during the couple of months leading up to publication, and although I did not remove any of the "offending" material, Daniel did calm down. I, too, came to understand the vehemence of his reaction--his is the kind of success (creative and commercial) that only comes with that kind of perfectionism. In the end, he wrote me in an email, "I think the book is fantastic if you are not me reading it."
I have not had any contact with Bruno Jamais, so I have no idea how he felt about the book--which I assume he read. One or two other staff people bristled a little about small details I revealed, but there hasn't been anything that they couldn't live with. However, I have only had direct feedback from maybe seven or eight people who were in the book.
As for whether I will be a "PX" next time I reserve a table at Daniel, I can only hope I will be! Since I'll be in New York a couple times in the next two months, and I plan to dine there, I'll find out pretty soon. My experience at Daniel made me quite fond of Daniel Boulud (as well as many of his staff), so I think it will probably feel like returning home in many ways. From my end, anyway! I'll let you know. Can you eat there with me? I don't know. Can you get us an 8:00 reservation?