The Crillon sits at Place Concorde – with the obelisk – I think it's an obelisk – and the fountain in front. The Orangerie's to the left – and Invalides' dead ahead. If you were to walk way out into the Place, you'd see to your far left – at the end of the Tuileries gardens – the Louvre – and to your far right the Arc de Triomphe at the end of the glittering Champs-Elysees. It's hard to feel any more central to the heart and history of Paris than right there – at the doorstep of the Crillon.
And central to the heart and history of French haute cuisine are the kitchens of the Crillon – Saveur magazine called the Crillon the most important hotel kitchen in Paris. I'd dare say that the Crillon one of the most important kitchens in France – period. When I tell French people – civilians and chef alike – that I'm hoping to work at the Crillon – they regard the news with surprise and reverence – it's one of the last bastions of the true French experience. God forgive me – having grown up in Chicago – but they're kind of the Yankees of the French haute cuisine.
Even down to the uniforms – it's so about the uniforms. Like those pinstripes of the New York Yankees – the uniforms at the Crillon are classic too - classic whites – but with a black Crillon crest – over the heart. So incredibly fucking cool.
And suited up in those incredibly cool uniforms are a handful of the guys that I worked with at the Plaza. I give – kiss-kisses all around – which I would not do if I were working with them – then it would be handshakes – I'll try to explain the complexities French kitchen etiquette another time. They joke that civilians are not allowed – but still bring over to show me a new breadcrumb topping for the sole – the pristinely white sole filet which is not a filet – more on that another time too – and the breadcrumbs which are far – far – from being just breadcrumbs. Instead, they're shavings of pain de mie, herbs, and flakes of black truffles – think Stove Top stuffing to the power of infinity – so good looking that I wanted to grab a fistful and eat it alone – by handful of fragrant handful.
Finally the chef arrives.
Bottom line – I can work for him. But – big but – I need to find out everything I need for my working papers to stay in France – and then we'll go to the personnel office at the Crillon.
Et voila – so it begins - again.