I faced a set of baby blue doors that marked the entrance of Per Se, named the best restaurant in New York City by the New York Times a few years ago. The maître d’ didn’t blink an eye at the backpack I was wearing to one of the nation’s finest restaurants. Her hospitality was impeccable. Still, I took the backpack off my shoulder to carry it like a “purse,” as I waited for Chef David Breeden, the visiting chef from The French Laundry and Chef de Cuisine, to come get me.
“Hi! You found us!” he said cheerily. Yeah, I was on Kim-time and was 15 minutes late, sweaty from running through 90 degree New York wet summer heat. So bad. He told me it was his last day doing the exchange at Per Se and he was anxious to go home and see his family, but he basically didn’t have any time commitments in the afternoon and wanted to talk about saffron.