There are certain chefs who have enough self-confidence they don’t need to be jerks with the legtimate food writers out there – or with diners or anyone else, for that matter.
The ones with ego problems, who are on the defensive about their food or restaurant from the start, are the ones I no longer bother with. Life is too short to deal with these twits – there are a handful around who need to grow up or get out of the business, or learn common decency.
Boulud and Bell - class acts
Funny, but the bigger the name, typically, the more gracious. Having interviewed hundreds of chefs, restaurant owners and those in the biz over the years, I can tell within the first couple of questions how it’s going to go. By then, I decide if it’s someone I’d like to sit and have a glass of wine or a beer with – if not, it’s usually my last interview with the person unless an editor holds my keyboard fingers to the fire.
Chef Zach Bell of Cafe Boulud in Palm Beach is one who is a great guy to talk to: smart, funny and I always learn something from him. He follows in the footsteps of his boss, Daniel Boulud – a household name among food cognoscenti. Boulud always returns my calls, has time for my questions, is intelligent and likes the challenging bits.
Read my New Times Verbal Nosh with Bell, a James Beard Award nominee, here.