Stars in my eyes: A food memoir

Stars in my eyes: A food memoir

Stars in my eyes: A food memoir by Ranelle Kirchner   Avignon, France: April, 2007. Nearly 10 years have passed and yet I remember the day so vividly. I woke up in awe to the golden Virgin Mary statue. She stood proud, unadulterated, and poised at the top of the Palace where the Pope once lived. Although I’m not religious, I would admire it endlessly before and after sleep. It was my second-to-last day working at Michelin-starred Christian Etienne. I would set-up the boucher, meat, station each morning upon arrival, while sipping espresso Fabien had made earlier. If I showed up to work early enough (before the other chefs), Fabien would make me an extra shot. This day, however, when I arrived early I did not have the luxury of an extra espresso. I was surprised to find both Masterchef Etienne and Pastry Chef Alain walking through the kitchen gathering ingredients. This was not their daily routine; most days they would arrive within an hour of one another, never at the same time, and would go straight to their upstairs office. Rather than indulge in espresso, I instead went straight to my workstation to look through my prep list and organize for my day. Within minutes I was approached by Chef Etienne. He asked me something in French, but I could not decipher his question. He was a jolly, Provençal French Chef who often trailed in laughter while he spoke and always had the most intoxicating aura of black truffle essence. I felt embarrassed and didn’t ask to repeat the question. Instead, I simply said yes. Never would I say...