by Jamie Bissonnette
As a young cook, I didn't have e-mail or the Internet. It was harder to get information. It required constant talking with other cooks about what was going on in our cities, and around the world.
I loved it. I remember calling Gotham Bar & Grill and pretending that I was an admin for someone coming to town on business so they would fax a copy of their menu to me. And I remember how mad my boss was that I was getting a fax at work…as a line cook. Taking a bus to NYC from Hartford for the day, eating at four restaurants and then walking in to get menus at ten others, was the only way I could get to see what was happening.
Flash forward 20 years and I am on my computer, e-mailing this blog post to Matt Starr, with five tabs open on my browser of restaurant websites, blogs, and Instagram, still looking for that information and knowledge. I love how much more I can access it and how quickly I can. But sometimes I wish that the younger generation had to work for it, had to forage a city for a copy of a menu.
I am jealous, for sure, but also impressed at how many cooks know more about food than we did that early in our careers. I think this is why food trends happen so quickly and why chefs aren't keeping as many secrets anymore. Now, where do we go from here?
Jamie Bissonnette is the James Beard Award—winning chef and partner of Boston favorites Coppa, an Italian enoteca, Toro, the Barcelona-style tapas bar, and Little Donkey, Cambridge's beloved neighborhood restaurant. Visit his website here.