In many ways the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and theirselves to our judgement. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read.The new needs friends :: new ideas... new interpretations... new ways of seeing this world. Sometimes new means acceptance and closer inspection. Sometimes new will mean revisioning the old to see something new. New is not necessarily about consumption and more... its about seeing the core value and appreciating it... being the first to see it in this new way.
But, the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things... the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.
But there are times when a critic truly risks something... and that is in the discovery and defense of the new.
The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends.
Last night I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from an singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking, is a gross understatement-- they have rocked me to my core.
In the past I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s famous motto: “Anyone Can Cook”. But I realize only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.
It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau’s, who is, in this critic’s opinion, nothing less than the finest Chef in France.
I will be returning to Gusteau’s soon, hungry for more.
Celebrate the new... even when it is something old... or something borrowed... it is still your new.