Last night on HBO's Treme, chef Eric Ripert, silvery telepathic French Yoda that he is, pulls chef character Janette Desautel into his office. "You are not happy at Le Bernardin," says Ripert. "This is not right for you. I can see. It is difficult for someone who had his own kitchen to start again at the bottom." He sends her to chef David Chang's restaurant Lucky Peach, a fictionalized hybrid of Momofuku Ko and Ssäm Bar. Says Ripert, "With David, if he likes you, anything is possible."
And then off to Lucky Peach for a meeting with Chang to set up a trail. "Remember this," says Chang. "Just because we're a casual restaurant, doesn't mean we don't hold ourselves to fine dining standards. We try to do things the right way. That usually means doing things the long, hard, stupid way."