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" My parents couldn't be looser. It was the ultimate laissez faire upbringing. "
" One must know combinations, one must have a true knowledge of food to be in the moment. "
" When I graduated I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, but I knew I didn't want a conventional career. "
" You can't be afraid to not have everything figured out. There's too much pressure on young people today to have it all figured out when they're in college. "
" I took the obligatory economics classes in school, but I've long been a fan of the Milton Friedman philosophy and its libertarian bent: One must be free to do what one wants to do, as long as you don't harm another. This is the seminal treatise on free-market economics. "
" Students need to learn how to think critically, how to argue opposing ideas. It is important for them to learn how to think. You can always cook. "
" The idea that you have to pursue greatness... it's up to you; it's your life. "
" There has been no great surprise, no sudden revelation. I knew pretty much what I was getting into. What I've learned is that a restaurant can be as much of an art as you want it to be, but it has to be a successful business first. "
" I don't ever want to lose that mind-set where you've got to be able to realize different ideas-slash-fantasies-slash-possibilities in your life. "
" I've always been a little crazy. "
" A quarter century of running a restaurant - that's a long time to do one thing. "
" Any fool can be happy. What I'm interested in is satisfaction. There's got to be more to life than just being happy. You've got to be fulfilled. You've got to be satisfied; philosophically satisfied is what I mean. "
" All four elements were happening in equal measure - the cuisine, the wine, the service, and the overall ambience. It taught me that dining could happen at a spiritual level. "
" Excellence is about fighting and pursuing something diligently, with a strict and determined approach to doing it right. It's okay if there are flaws in the process - it makes it more interesting. "
" I worked in 40 restaurants over a five-year period. "
" If you know what you're doing, you can make a meal happen with any kitchen knife. But using a top-quality knife versus a low-quality one is the difference between driving a Jaguar and a VW Jetta across the country. They'll both get you there. But the Jaguar will give you a much smoother ride. "
" A jazz musician can improvise based on his knowledge of music. He understands how things go together. For a chef, once you have that basis, that's when cuisine is truly exciting. "
" In my case, vertical food was less about standing things up than layering things: more an attempt to gain texture by weaving things together. "
" I couldn't really relate to the fraternity or party scene, to the people out in the mall every day protesting one thing or another. I felt like there was no one I could relate to. "
" I'm really not that comfortable with people. I mean, I love individuals, but I'm not very social. "
" Chefs, as a whole, say yes to any project, fundraiser, or tasting because they have such a generous spirit. "
" I never considered Miles Davis a perfectionist; I always considered him as an excellence-ist, where deviation is actually kind of cool. "
" What I was reading was already part of my psyche, but finally someone else was saying it's okay to walk alone. "
" I love faltering. I love, in a sense, coming up short. Because you learn nothing from success. You learn so much from failing. "
" I have always considered desserts to be of equal importance to the savory food. "