Chef of the Century
I had a fangirl freakout on Tuesday night. While dining at L'Atelier in Las Vegas with the BB Dakota crew, I spotted Joel Robuchon, the chef of the century, talking to diners about 10 feet away from our table. Of the nine times I've eaten at L'Atelier over the past four years, it was the first time I ever saw him there. The diminutive Frenchman gradually edged closer to our party of eight, then he disappeared to oversee the open kitchen behind us as well as his namesake tribute to haute cuisine next door. A few minutes later, he popped up again and talked to other patrons before ducking away once more. Anxious to get some face time with him, I asked one of the managers if we could get a photo with Monsieur Robuchon. "Yes, of course," was the response. I whipped out my camera and set it right in front of my plate. I was nervous every time the waiter refilled my glass, fearing that he'd spill drops on my photo equipment and ruin my chance for a photo with the cooking great. About 20 minutes after I made my request, the chef quietly appeared next to our table with the manager, who served as both interpreter for his non-English speaking boss and groupie photographer. After scrutinizing the photo, I noticed an uncanny resemblance between Monsieur Robuchon and Yoda.
With their wide cheeks, droopy eyes and bare noggins, the two exude kindness and patience anchored by profound wisdom in their respective fields: cooking for Monsieur Robuchon, Jedi swordplay for Yoda. It's an honor to be in either one's presence.