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The Times, Jean-Georges on Absentee Chefs

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The Times' The Moment blog tackles the question of absentee chefs. But unlike the brash Cuozz, the more polite guest blogger Laurent Vernhes wonders if these mega-chefs are more like Andy Warhol "with each restaurant a Factory, turning out original artworks by the hundreds" or more like composers "employing chefs who work like conductors at the head of an orchestra of kitchen staff". He puts the question to Jean-Georges, who for the record, is only absent at the restaurants outside of NYC:

"Chef and restaurateur are two different jobs. I love to pick my vegetables — cooking is my love, my therapy — but I am also an entrepreneur...It is a spread that is controlled. I never travel more than one week per month, and there are always things to adjust when I come back. The rest of the month in New York, I am at Jean-Georges every day, cooking for six hours per day...
...It is so intense and it takes so much staff to maintain a three-star restaurant...You cannot make money on only one restaurant if you operate at that level. Which is why you see many top restaurants in hotels...These days, to be a successful chef/entrepreneur, you need to open restaurants in more than one category.”
It's not that he wants to have so many restaurants, it's that he has to. Give the man a break.
· Chef, Inc. [The Moment]
· Chef Search. Where Are the Great Chefs of NYC? [NYP]
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