After throwing the idea around for a French Master Chefs Cookbook with Jean-Louis Dumonet (head of the North American Group) for several months we have started the process. The schedule is pretty intense. I’ve got to visit 80 chefs, in 46 cities which includes Canada and the Caribbean. There are approximately 25 flights and a few car rentals. The tentative time frame is 6 weeks . The travel is broken up into regions with a few days at home between with my family. So let’s get started with the details. The dishes will not be revealed until the book comes out but I’ve included a small piece of one of them from each chef.
Our first stop was Philadelphia, a one day trip on the train. Then we flew to Charleston SC to meet Chef Nico Romo at Fish. After the shoot I walked around the city for a little while. Beautiful old homes. The owners of Fish Restaurant also own the Lowndes Grove Plantation that they renovated to use for weddings and events. That’s where I stayed over night. I was the only one on the property. No other guests or employees. It reminded me of the movie “The Shining.”
The next morning I drove 3 1/2 hours to Sea Island, Georgia. I used google maps on my phone for the first time. It was also the first time I didn’t use a map. It was cool. It talked to me for the first couple of hours then it stopped talking but I didn’t realize it until I went about 10 miles past the exit I needed to get off at.
On to Atlanta
Jonathan Jerusalmy is the Executive Chef at the resort. The place was beautiful and lots of interesting places to shoot the food. It was a 6:15am flight to Atlanta to see Chef Olivier Gaupin at the Loews Atlanta Hotel. After photographing his dishes Olivier drove me to the next stop the Intercontinental here I took ph’ood with Chef Didier Laiheugue. Then a 7:50pm flight that night to Memphis and stayed at the Sheraton Four Points.
October 26 – Shot with Chef Jose Gutierrez at his restaurant River Oaks and had just enough time to catch a 2:40 (two flights) to St. Louis.
Pierre Chambrin picked me up at the airport and brought me to The St. Louis Club for dinner. Traveling with only a carry on luggage (clothes for a week, 7 plates for the chefs to use and my tripod) didn’t allow me to carry a dinner jacket. So it was a private dining room for me with my own waiter.
October 27 – The next morning it was ph’ood with Pierre who among other things was the Exec Chef at the White House during the Clinton years.
Then a 1:40 FLIGHT to Chicago to work with Chef Jean Joho at his Restaurant Everest on the top floor of a building at a very shnazzy club with an amazing view of Chicago. Stayed there over night with the same view from my window.
October 28 – Caught an 8:30am flight to Cincinnati to shoot at Restaurant L with owner Jean-Robert de Cavel. While most other chefs are going for more casual restaurants Jean-Robert’s new one went the opposite way to a very high end theme. We stopped by one of his other restaurants where he had a collection of over 500 chefs with hats salt and pepper shakers. Then it was an 8:30 flight home to New York.