There comes in each of our lives those days where the light of everything good, and decent, and beautiful dims. When all the color in the world fades to grey and is blurred by tear filled eyes. Yesterday was one of those days for me, as I belatedly heard of the death of Joel Wolfe.
Joel was a big teddy bear of a man, with whom I worked early in my career as a chef. He was the very best chef I ever worked with in my over 20 year career, and Lisanne was the best restaurant I ever worked and dined at. It was everything that is sorely lacking in the modern restaurant business that has become dominated by corpoRATe chains and pompous celebrity chefs. With the dining room decor brilliantly appointed by Joel’s lovely wife Sue, and Joel at the helm in front of the stove. The place was a neighborhood beacon, where the art of good living was practiced nightly. To sit in the dining room and partake of Joel’s cuisine, the scent of Sue chosen flowers kissing at your nose, was to live as fully as I ever have.
To work each day by Joel’s side. To be gifted by such a grand artist, with the love of art, and the skills needed to create such art, was the single most important time in my life. And so, the taste of Chambertin ’78 still lingering, I must alas bid a fond farewell to my beloved mentor. However, his work lives on in the work of the many chefs, like myself, who had the privilege to work beside him.
Every time I cook, I cook for you Joel! CHEERS and godspeed old friend. Even though we will miss you dearly, we shall have to carry on. To do any less would be to forget all you taught us…