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 their selves to our judgment.
We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write
and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face
is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average
piece of junk is 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.
Last night, I experienced something new, an
extraordinary meal from a singularly
To say that both the meal and its maker have
challenged my preconceptions 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 that 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
— Anton Ego