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weinoo

Groundbreaking Chefs Whose Food Has Seen Better Days

65 posts in this topic

I guess this topic could also be called "chefs who, due to their expanding empires, have restaurants where the food has declined from what made them stars." But that title is way too long.

I'm starting with:

Jose Andres

Bobby Flay

Now save your cards and letters. I respect both of these chefs tremendously. It's just that, well, their restaurants are tired. Don't you think?


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Georges Perrier. Sadly.

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IN the spirit of being a contrarian, this begs the question: Is it you who have become jaded? Did Marco Pierre White stop providing thrills? Is that what we are after?

The first chef name that came to me was Emeril. But, what do I know? I haven't eaten his food in years, he's become a TV creation, and that doesn't make me want to seek out his food. Does that mean it still doesn't taste good? He used to be rock solid delicious..I'll never forget a roasted quail in a puddle of BBQ sauce. Would that make my heart go pitter pat now, years later? Maybe so, but it wouldn't be that moment of thrill that existed 30 ought years ago.

What are we after in a restaurant experience? Constant reinvention? Classics that are classics for a reason?

fun to think about, no?

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It's tempting to say all of them, since no matter where you say you're going to eat, there's always somebody to say "oh it's not as good as it was when...."

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IN the spirit of being a contrarian, this begs the question: Is it you who have become jaded? Did Marco Pierre White stop providing thrills? Is that what we are after?

The first chef name that came to me was Emeril. But, what do I know? I haven't eaten his food in years, he's become a TV creation, and that doesn't make me want to seek out his food. Does that mean it still doesn't taste good? He used to be rock solid delicious..I'll never forget a roasted quail in a puddle of BBQ sauce. Would that make my heart go pitter pat now, years later? Maybe so, but it wouldn't be that moment of thrill that existed 30 ought years ago.

What are we after in a restaurant experience? Constant reinvention? Classics that are classics for a reason?

fun to think about, no?

You can ask the same about anything... if The Beatles had made the same record for their entire career, would they be looked upon with such reverence? Should Boeing still manufacture the original 707 only because it's a "classic" ?

Classics are fine... they are classics for a reason... but invention and progression are kind of a cornerstone of humanity. Any sort of creative or technical pursuit kind of requires those things...

There's the other problem of course, that when these former giants spread themselves too thinly, the magic simply wanes and the classics do not hold up to memory. I suspect this is going to be the case with most of the people who end up being listed in this thread more so than the problem I've stated above!

Other industries manage to find the balance... take guitars as a random example. Both Gibson and Fender will offer you something completely up-to-date, high-tech and yet often still in the spirit of their design history. However, for the purists, they've got the back-to-basic "reissue" guitars from the 1950s and 1960s as well. You can have it both ways.

So in summary, I'm not sure what my point is. :biggrin:

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Im waiting for someone else to bring up Chef 'Xxxx Xxxxxxx'

but the first poster suggested that the 'Better Days' Chef still commands personal respect. Not this one, so (S)he might not qualify for mention here.


Edited by rotuts (log)

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Unilever? Man, those guys own everything. We all laughed in B school when they bought (uber-crunchy granola, philosophy-wise) Ben and Jerry's.

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IN the spirit of being a contrarian, this begs the question: Is it you who have become jaded? Did Marco Pierre White stop providing thrills? Is that what we are after?

The first chef name that came to me was Emeril. But, what do I know? I haven't eaten his food in years, he's become a TV creation, and that doesn't make me want to seek out his food. Does that mean it still doesn't taste good? He used to be rock solid delicious..I'll never forget a roasted quail in a puddle of BBQ sauce. Would that make my heart go pitter pat now, years later? Maybe so, but it wouldn't be that moment of thrill that existed 30 ought years ago.

What are we after in a restaurant experience? Constant reinvention? Classics that are classics for a reason?

fun to think about, no?

I guess what I'm driving at is the fact that the chefs I referenced above, the food they're selling now, whether in the restaurants which catapulted them to fame or in new ventures, is not as good as it once was. Forget the fact that it may not be providing thrills; I can live with that, since I get so many thrills elsewhere :rolleyes: .

Let's take Flay, for instance...his burger place, at least here in DC, sucks. I mean, you're Bobby Flay! Can't you make sure your burger places are making great burgers?

Jose - this is a man who arguably brought the small plates concept to fruition in the United States. So why is Zaytinya as tired as it is. Jaleo, too. And Oyamel, just another Mexican restaurant in a sea of mediocrity, in my opinion.

Let's look at it another way...another early Food Network star whose empire keeps expanding - Mr. Batali. I still love eating at Lupa. Otto is still as good as it always was. maybe Babbo has fallen a notch or two, but I haven't eaten there in ages. Del Posto - 4 stars. Obviously, he has great people running those restaurants and has been able to keep them. Can't say the same for the other two.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I recently had a fine meal at Bar Americaine. Flay ain't dead yet. But he may be spread thinner than he should be. I'd bet that he has relatively little to do w his Burger places

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Wolfgang Puck is an obvious choice. Surprised nobody has mentioned him yet, but maybe he's just so far passed his prime that people forget how much of a badass he was in the 80's :P


Edited by Twyst (log)

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Puck. Charming guy but I always thought his dishes were too cute even when he was hot stuff.

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Wolfgang Puck is an obvious choice. Surprised nobody has mentioned him yet, but maybe he's just so far passed his prime that people forget how much of a badass he was in the 80's :P

Regarding Wolfgang Puck, I don't know if it's that obvious. Last time I ate at Chinois was still quite a special experience for me. Of course, if you are referring to his Wolfgang Puck Express chain, that's a different matter altogether...

So we may need to differentiate between flagship restaurants and downscale spinoffs.


Edited by FrogPrincesse (log)

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In all due respect to those out there who feel Chef Puck has passed his prime, I disagree. His restaurants are consistently good to exceptional, from the pizza and sandwich shop I visit at Seattle Airport on a regular basis to CUT and Spago in Las Vegas.

I personally think he's the rare Chef and Businessman who consistently puts the cuisine at the forefront of all his endeavors, which in turn creates the opportunities for success that his company has experienced. He hires talented people and insures the quality and consistency is always top-notch. Based on my experiences dining at his restaurants over the years, I can't quickly name another Chef whose accomplished that level of consistency and quality. I don't think he's seen better days and I fully think he's going to continue to make major contributions to the food scene.

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And I'll add that the appetizers at CUT, (the Bone Marrow Flan with Onion Marmalade and the Veal Tongue Salad in particular), far surpass the offerings at any other Las Vegas Steakhouse. I know, you may think "Bone Marrow" is so 'meh.' Order it and it will change your mind. Chef Puck has a major impact on the menu and it shows in a level of creativity and innovation in his cuisine that continually puts him ahead of the pack. At least in Las Vegas.

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I agree with David's assessment of Wolfgang Puck. One of the very first celebrity chefs in the USA. Hitting it big in Los Angeles ("Hollywood") really helped get his name out there. People who weren't food/chef people knew who he was. He does have a vast empire. And I've always had good meals at his places (Spago in L.A. and Las Vegas and Cut in Las Vegas)


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

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Pepin

Bite your tongue ! His new series (or more accurately, *current* series) on PBS, "Essential Pepin" is still teaching me things, and I've been cooking for about 40 years. Jacques is unimpeachable.

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--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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bite that tongue a few more times. Ive learned more from him and anyone, bar none. even Julia Child, who comes in second.

bite it some more!

:raz:

:wink:

and he does simple things that turn out great!

now Claudia,

:huh:


Edited by rotuts (log)
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I havent eaten at any Puck's. But he is a major supporter of Meals-on-Wheels and I give him many Kudos for that sort of work. You only have to talk to one person that depends on that program to under stand the work that's done.

I wonder if Chef Xxxx Xxxxxxx does any of that.


Edited by rotuts (log)

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