Skip to main content

tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  April 16, 2011 12:00am-1:00am PDT

12:00 am
>> rose: welcome to our program. tonight all about food and cooking and restaurants. we talk to gabrielle hamilton of prune. >> you've ever been married you might find something in here, if you've ever been a parent, if you've ever been a daughter or you might find something in this book, if you've ever worked very hard in the industry. it's not about food, so much. though it is surround-- you know, food is the context of my life. so it's-- it's rid elevatored, it's littered. >> rose: it's the constant theme in your life. >> rose: jonathan waxman of barbuto. >> i really want people to feel comfortable with this book. i want to demystify italian cook because a lot of terms,
12:01 am
i think, sort of confuse people. i think people sort of stick to the basics because they don't understand a lot of the sort of intricacies of what italian food is about. but i think what i try to bring is simplicity to the table. and i think that's really what i hope this book will do. >> rose: and ferran adria of el bulli. >> the life of a cook in a high end chef is like-- a lot of people see it as something quite glamorous. but it's a very special world. there's a lot of passion behind it. a lot of pressure. and very few people actually know what they experience is about. >> rose: gabrielle hamilton, jonathan waxman and ferran adria when we continue. >> funding for charlie rose was provided by the following:
12:02 am
every story needs a hero we can all root for. who beats the odds and comes out on top. but this isn't just a hollywood storyline. it's happening every day, all across america. every time a storefront opens. or the midnight oil is burned. or when someone chases a dream, not just a dollar. they are small business owners. so if you wanna root for a real hero, support small business. shop small. additional funding provided by these funders: captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose.
12:03 am
. >> rose: gabrielle hamilton is here. her life growing up prepared her for everything that she is today. her french mother fed her bone marrow, scoured the woods for mushrooms and taught her to eat very, very well. her father theodore-- theatre set designer taught her to create beauty are none exists. 11 years ago after a long slog of corporate catering jobs and some soul-searching she opened the new york restaurant prune, former "new york times" restaurant critic frank bruni once wrote it is easy to see why prune is so widely and fervently loved. it has mirth to spare and moxy to burn. it listens to its own muse and has whimsical indulgence. now gabrielle hamilton has written a memoir which is attracting its own share of acclaim. it is called "blood, bones and butter" i'm pleased to have gabrielle hamilton at this table. >> thank you.
12:04 am
>> rose: since i've been to your table, by the way. >> thanks for inviting me to yours. >> rose: here is what is interesting about this. the whole thing. are you a writer who cooks or a cook who writes? >> yeah, that was a nice thing that himi sheraton said. well, i wanted to be a writer my whole life but i have been cooking instead, by accident. so. >> rose: in your soul. >> well, i like to write. and i have been doing for a long time in an inadvertent way, not, i don't think that is the right word. i have been doing it without any discipline so, this is my first book and i feel like i was not a writer when i started. by the end i became at a minimum a beginning writer, that's about where i am starting now. >> in fact, when people are lauding this as a great first book, you were saying -- >> i'm glad there is first book as a qualifier. i think i will get better if i practice. you know, it's a part-time job for me.
12:05 am
i don't get up every morning and develop the discipline and have that practice like brushing your teeth where it's just second nature. so i really have to work at it. it does not just flow. >> rose: so we came to find you as primarily a writer, and then a chef or primarily a chef and then a writer, what is it you most want to be. >> i like them both. it turns out. i struggled with wanting to be a chef or with working kitchens for the longest time. i could not find the purpose and meaning in this work. i felt like i spent a lot of my day just sort of making fancy food for rich people or something. i couldn't quite find my place there. and conversely when i went away to graduate school and spent all this time in academia and spent the whole day writing i felt like wow, this is too inert and not enough of life itself, so now i have this nice marriage between the two that i get to do some writing, and do a lot of cooking. and let's not forget
12:06 am
cleaning. i do like the cleaning part. >> rose: dow really. >> i do. >> rose: what do you like about cleaning. >> oh, the thoroughness. >> rose: i know a lot of people that feel the same way but i never understood it. >> i like to put everything in order and i like to prepare the space in which we work and after we work it hard i like to clean it up and put it back nicely. it's a nice mind clearer. >> rose: you know what i think about cleaning this is my own psychological take on this, it is the fact that when you clean you can see the results. it has the sense of something done and completed and results are clear. >> indeed. that's why when you are procrastinating the writing of your book, one tendses to organize the sock drawer. >> rose: yes, indeed. >> because it must be done. >> rose: so what did you learn about writing the book? >> oh. >> rose: not about yourself but about writing. >> i learned so much about writing. well, one thing that is most
12:07 am
prevalent, i learned to stop loading the thing up with meaning and to not make each chapter try and carry this huge freight behind it, that if you just tell the story, and do a good job of location and who, what, where and when. >> rose: and good memory. >> the rest will come. for instance at the end i'm cutting down all these oleander branches at the home of my italian family in italy. and a waitress who read my book at the restaurant came up to me and said i just finished my book. oh my god that part where you are cutting down the o lee ander and she said you know it is poisonous. i said i had no idea. but it added such a level of metaphor to the cutting away these toxic branches near the home that i was sort of suffocate approximating in. so it's a great thing to not
12:08 am
have to bring that to the page. it will take care of itself. >> rose: why did you decide to write this? >> i'm still not sure. i have to say. many people have asked why did you write this book. i pitched a book, first i thought for a long time whether i even wanted to do a book because i thought i would be asked to do a cookbook. and then we made a-- . >> rose: and that had no appeal. >> i don't think i have anything to offer, or i didn't at the time. and also i have to say i was a little turned off by the immediatesy with which people came to me to ask me to write a cookbook. i mean i think prune had been opened a year or something like that. and i thought god, i haven't even proven myself yet. and i get a book deal. that's how it works. i grew up revering books and thinking that they were special and precious and not everyone getses to do one with. but apparently things have changed. >> rose: indeed. because this is not a cookbook. >> nope. >> rose: this is the story of a woman's life. >> not a single recipe. in fact it's a little bit of a bait-and-switch, i think. >> rose: so we think we are
12:09 am
buying about how to cook. >> a chevy book, and in fact it's about life, i think, if you have ever been married, you might find something in here. if you've ever been a parent, if you've ever been a daughter or-- you might find something in this book, if you have ever worked very hard in industry. it's not about food, so much. though it is surround-- you know, food is the context of my life. so it's riddled, it's littered with food. >> rose: it's the constant theme in your life. >> yes. >> rose: food. >> i spend my day in it. >> rose: let me take you back to the beginning. the beginning that i understand. the two parents that you had as i said in the introduction taught you different things because of who they were. >> yeah. >> rose: . >> i had all that discipline and thrift from my french mother who was a ballet dancer. and she taught us to eat, really. she was unafraid of the woods and quite knowledgeable in them.
12:10 am
so she would take us out and hunt for mushrooms and she could pick the fiddle head ferns and dandelion leaves and took us to the farm to get raw milk. and also could, and had to, in fact, book nose to tail what they call nose to tail, now it's just kind of trendy. of course we were doing that 30 years ago in our home. so from her i learned all of that, about getting everything i could out of the animal and eating very naturally from the land in a way. and my fathers with was very generous. is very generous. >> rose: he was also an artist. >> that's right. he sees everything in that sort of water color, romantic way. and he was a set designer. so the scenery was a big deal for him. the lighting, the smells, where people would stand, et cetera. >> rose: so when you began, i when you began to put together your own recipe, you knew what it wanted it to look like, feel like, smell, all of that. >> very much so. the space dictated that. but hi been cooking in that
12:11 am
high-end, high volume catering world for so long, in which you have to do some kind of unsavory thingses to the food to make the party fly. i mean it's not a fault of the industry itself. >> rose: what is unsavory. >> i just mean by the time you are cooking at that volume, what you have to do to the food to get it out, is not exactly,-- it is sort of like what all the workers pite do. >> rose: more about efficiency than artistry. >> it is like factory work, a kind of manual labor. so by the time i was opening my own restaurant i really wanted to say good-bye to all of that. no more food which would have been touched by 15 people before it ever even made it into the tummy of the guest. >> rose: back to parents. so they split up. >> yup. >> rose: when you were what, 12, 13. >> right in there. it was sort of a gradual or not so gradual process. i think i was 11 when they split or 12 or 13 by the
12:12 am
time they got the whole thing really dismantled. >> rose: here's what is interesting about that, to me. is that they almost forgot parenting. they went their own way, forgetting that they left you and your brother to fend for yourself a bit. >> there was a rough summer there which left, well, there were five kids. and i'm the youngest of five and my next brother in line, we got sort of ditched for a summer in the house that we grew up in. by accident, by oversight, i'm not quite clear sure how that happened. it was more, you know, that was a defining moment. thats was the end of childhood for sure. the family never reconvened after that summer. so that was, way, it all started then. my self-reliance and getting a job and all that stuff started at a young age. >> rose: and when did cooking start. >> yeah, right then. well, you had to eat. so i was starting to raid the pantry and see what i could make for dinner out of whatever strange jars and cans of things my mother had
12:13 am
left behind in the pantry. and i started washing dishes at a local restaurant and you know how that goes. you are in the right place at the right time and they need an extra set of hands. so you start out washing dishes but suddenly they need somebody in salads so quickly are you doing salads and then there will be some day when someone doesn't show up on the line and are you doing some of the hotline stuff. so it is kind of a downward spiral. >> rose: yeah, but you developed skills. >> that's right. >> rose: and what happened to your brother? >> we all survived. we all survived. >> rose: did it leave scars or did it leave any kind of -- >> i am not, and we were not raised to be sorry or wounded in any way. >> rose: so you never felt like-- what are you saying is don't look at mes as a victim. >> i mean i may have wept my little weeping privately somewhere but that is not what this book is. and that's not how i feel. >> rose: but you became wild. >> it's true. there are a few experiences
12:14 am
i-- would be glad not to have had. >> rose: wild would be the word. >> really? >> which we will not talk about. >> rose: why not. >> because, you are not going to get that out of me. i didn't write it in the book and you are not going to hear about it. but an astute reader will understand you leave a 12-year-old on the board ever-- border of adolescence alone and she'll get herself into some deep do do. >> rose: try everything. >> yup, yup. everything. what are we talking about here. >> rose: what we are talking about, gabrielle. >> well, in some ways it was perfect time in that i am an adolescent. just at the time when you most seek independence from your parents, i was actually granted it. so it is kind of a pipi longstocking fantasy in a way. and immediately i just started cultivating this demeanor of bad ass i think. and started swearing. >> rose: that is the word you used in here, bad ass. >> very defensively n
12:15 am
hindsight, now that i look back i think oh, i'm kind of wincing. >> rose: exactly. are you now sort of -- >> like, ah, girl. >> rose: i don't want to talk about that but when i was there this is exactly the way it was. >> this is exactly how it is was. i got tough and bad and defensive. and used every swear word i knew, often in the same sentence because that would show you how grown-up i was, wouldn't it? and me smoking, and blowing smoke rings which is-- . >> rose: and we're talking filterless cigarettes. >> well, i would also pick up whatever had been thrown out of a car window still light on the asphalt. i would pick it out of public ashtrays. i mean it's repulsive in hindsight but i think i was in a self-destructive mode. >> rose: where was your mind during all of this. >> my mind? >> rose: yes. >> i can't even recall. i think i was just going for shock value, wherever i could find it. and doing a good job, i think. i drummed up quite a bit. >> rose: here is what matico
12:16 am
said in her "new york times" review. though mishamilton brilliantly written new memoirs is rhapsodic about food in every variety from the humble egg on a roll sandwich served by great delies in new york to more esoteric things like fried zuk ini, the book is hardly just for foodies. miss hamilton who has an mfa, master of fine art approximates in fiction writing from the university of michigan is an evocative writer, writing about people and places as she is writing about cooking and her memoir does a dazzling job of summoning her lost childhood as mary carr's liars club and andre-- out of egypt did with theirs. >> check that out. check me out. >> rose: so you sleep with this review, do you. >> i did have to make out with it when i got it i thought i had already reached the pinnacle of happiness in life when i had a piece in the new yorker. that's pretty much arrival
12:17 am
as far as i was concerned. and then a review in the "new york times" not in the food section but in the books. >> rose: for your writing, for the evocativeness of your writing. >> i had to pass out over that one. >> rose: take me to the experience of getting to prune between the time you were 18 or 20, because to go from where you were, your experiences include sort of the darkest of the dark, and at the same time, the most as operational of anyone-- as pirational of anyone. graduate school, mfa. >> i did educate myself. i have been educated, it's true. that's why i don't, when you asked me earlier that i was hell-bent on being-- getting into drugs or something, i think, i don't know if i was really getting into drugs or it was just part of the time. that nothing sunk in so deeply. i think i was on the border verge of true delinent wednesdayee and stared at it. i got-- when i was working
12:18 am
at the lone star and i was charged with grand larceny and possession of stolen property. >> rose: you were a child so you got off. >> i did, exactly. but that was a pretty pivotal moment where i under tad that what i had been sort of practicing for or rehearsing to be, like truly bad ass was actually about to unfold in front of me. and i got sobered by that. you know, you can play around the edge and then the edge says come on, here we go. talk the talk. >> rose: exactly. >> and i think i backed off and went away to europe. took care of myself in a very profound way. i was alone for two years, almost two years, traveling around with only myself to rely on for money, for getting from place to place. and it was an incredible time of deliverance, i think that might be the word. >> rose: it's a good word. >> i purged everything, all my bad thoughts, all my sadnesses, all my falsehoods,
12:19 am
all my false starts. and when i came back i was ready to sort of hit it, hit the road, go, get on with life in a regular way. >> rose: i have heard from so many people who have said to me i had to go through that to be where i am. >> well, i have never regretted anything. and that is a good life to live without any regrets. or it's better to regret what you have done than what you haven't done for sure. but my time here so far on earth has not all been so dark and bad and get through to the ore side, to the other shore. i mean that almost two-year backpacking trip around the world was also filled with richness and happiness and discovery and learning things. >> rose: you didn't have much money when you did if. >> very little cash. i was definitely broke. and often starving and bedraggled and nervous, frequently nervous about the
12:20 am
next meal and i think there was one day where i-- or one period where in the period of five days i had eaten some salted pumpkin seeds, half a raw red onion, and a glass of warm dry vermuth over five days. >> rose: i can't imagine. tell me about the time, when you met the guy, and were thinking about a restaurant and a guy came up to you who had the great pleasure,-- place he had to show you. >> i was running out to park the car one morning in the east village. and i ran past this abandoned restaurant on my block. and the guy who lived in the building upstairs from this space, eric, he was sitting out in front of it shuttered. and we said i had to each other. and he said hey, you still cooking? i said well, i sort of am. i had tried to get out of this business. and had just gotten back from getting my mfa and
12:21 am
thought well i'm just going to give it a shot a little longer, try to be a writer and not get back into the kitchen. but he opened the gate and we walked through and it was covered in rat excrement and it had been shuttered for two years left there with carcasses in the coolers, i opened a box of apples that had become just dust, black dust. and it all swarmed up into my eyelashes and nostrils it was just a fetid, put rid place and yet, i could see that it had charm. sos as you know, it's much cleaner now. >> rose: it is now prune. >> it's been blasted. >> rose: but you saw it, it had things. >> i could tell. >> rose: it had tile in it. >> it had stuff, it had a look that was familiar to me. i had worked in a-- in brittany and reminded me very much of that. it had been a french bistro so it had some of that feeling that was very familiar it was also small and i felt as a first
12:22 am
restaurant, i could manage something like that. it has got 30 seats, that's right. tiny, it's got 450 square feet or something ridiculous. and the stoves was small and i just thought i can do this. i'm just going to cook a few things. i will have myself, and a dishwasher and we'll just put dinner out each night and there will be some nice girl at the door and bob's your uncle. but it has now turn mood lunch, brunch, dinner, i have 30 employees. >> rose: and this is where you met the man who became your husband. >> i did. in walkses in italian man. and he starts eating the food. and exclaiming out loud, this is exactly like my mother used to make. so i think he kind of fell in love with the food and then me somehow. >> rose: and you? >> i was unsure in the beginning. and it took maybe five or six years to really get into
12:23 am
the marriage. we were having an affair and that part was great. we ate well together and you know, the other thing, we did that, that was nice. >> rose: yes. >> eating and that were never our problems. >> rose: right. >> but you know, a marriage is more than that. >> rose: but you didn't live together. >> we've never lived together. we had a two year sperm once where we lived in brooklyn and answered that question. >> rose: explain that to me within explain complex unsatisfactory marriage to you, charlie rose? isn't there a psycho analyst who can come on your show and do a better job. >> rose: no, but you lived it. >> i did. i-- . >> rose: this is, a very personal book. >> it is deceptively personal. >> rose: i'm not to be criticized to be asking personal questions in this conversation because i've read this book. >> correct this is an intimate experience indeed. >> rose: intimate is out right word. >> and i speak very frankly about my loneliness in my faerj and-- marriage and the difficulty hi with my
12:24 am
parents and the grit of the work that i do. it is all honestly written. but i will tell you that it is deceptively intimate. that what's in there, you are allowed to have and i'm in control of that material. and what's not in there you're not allowed to have. >> rose: i'm not asking to you go what is beyond in the book but there is a lot in the book. it's almost like are you more intimate in the book than you are in conversation even. >> well, i'm a little afraid that i'm going to go past the book. and there are other people involved and that of course was the hardest part to come up against as a writer, that i had to write about living people. and with great respect and everyone's have to make sure everyone's integrity remains intact including my own. i wrote very fairly and honestly. and i never revealed anyone else more than i was willing to reveal myself. so i feel like i'm ugly in that book, as i am in life. >> rose: ugly means what. >> i'm complicated and sometimes unattractive and i am prone to all human ways.
12:25 am
>> rose: you have a huge appetite and you're demanding? >> okay. >> rose: is that true? >> it's part of the truth. huge appetite and demanding. i think that's true. >> rose: so today you have this restaurant. >> uh-huh. >> rose: now you've written a book that the editor or "the new york times" lead reviewer says is extraordinary. so what, where do you go from here? how do you find balance? >> well, i did give up the idea of balance a long time ago. >> rose: yes, indeed. >> i understood that that is a elusive and vicious myth. and it keeps, i think particularly women on the run. so when i understood that i would not have balance in my life, i would have extreme, almost well, it's just like
12:26 am
a boat that's lifted or keeling what is that called, from one side to the other like that. so one day the children really get the best of you. the next day your restaurant really gets the best of you. the next day your writing really gets the best of you. hopefully you can slip yourself into that equation, you know w some frequency. but there is no balance. >> rose: there is this also. understanding what happened to you and your parents when you were 12. >> uh-huh. >> rose: you found new parents from your inlaws. >> i did attach myself to that family very much. of course. i think it's not why i got married by any stretch but it certainly held me there for a long time, much longer maybe than i might have stayed. yes, i became very attached to my mother-in-law and my husband's large boisterous italian family. and i don't speak the language. now i've started to do a
12:27 am
little better job. but it's very nice to be enveloped by the din, the great din of an italian family. and if you can't quite dicertain the details of what is being said, it's all benign and lovely and you have nothing to argue with, it's not even possible to be annoyed because you don't really under-- understand what's going on. >> rose: you say you want to grow old in italy. >> wouldn't that be nice. >> rose: well, i don't know. i would like to grow old in new york. >> you would. >> rose: yeah. >> i want to be that woman in her black woolen sweater, her widow's weeds, shelling the fava beanses, you know, sitting outside her italian house with her grandchildren running arnged. looks so simple and nice. >> rose: is that what you would like. >> i think-- . >> rose: you are a romantic at heart. >> i know, i know. but the italians take care of their old ladies. it's good to the older woman there, i think. so you know that phrase,-- the
12:28 am
old chick ken makes good both. and that's the kind of culture i can appreciate that thinks that way. >> rose: where is the best italian cookinging in new york. >> in new york? >> rose: yeah some say it's in the bronx. >> on arthur avenue. >> rose: yeah. >> that's a nice experience. but i think that has become italian american. >> rose: right, right. >> but where is italian. >> well, i think mario knows what he is doing. mario, i think that he really knows what he is doing. wnd i think also michael white knowses what he is doing. very much. mark ladner, let's see, and new york there's almost nothing but italian these days. >> rose: it's the dominant food. >> yup. >> rose: it was why do you new i that is. >> we had a recession and i think it's cheap to produce and it's comfortinging to the population, to the
12:29 am
public. >> rose: blood, bones and butter. gabrielle hamilton. the inadvertent education of a reluctant chef. anthony boredain said magnificent, simply the best memoir by a chef ever, ever. do you know what you have done? do you? >> i'm unsure what's happened. tell me, what have i done? >> rose: well, you have shown some remarkable skill in terms of memory, and the capacity to bring memory alive with a extraordinary command of language that-- and you think-- go ahead. >> no, i-- . >> rose: you accept that. >> i feel like i've got words. now i've had language and words my whole life. that's something that comes naturally to me. and i know the material. i only wrote about things that i could remember vividly.
12:30 am
and jettisoned at least 12 or 13 chapters that i couldn't bring the whole beginning, middle and end to. if it was spotty or faded or unrecallable, i didn't write about it. so it had to be stories where i could remember every detail. >> rose: and just see it clearly. >> smell it, hear it, see it. >> rose: like when you walked into that space. >> indelible. the backpacking trip, unforgetable, yeah. catering kitchen where i spent so much time, dead lobsters, i mean these are all things in the book that i can never forget. they're-- the facility with which i can recall them is effortless. >> rose: regret anything you put in this book? >> no, not at all. >> rose: dow wish you had put more?
12:31 am
>> i don't. i think i've tapped out this material. i have brought everything, everything i possess to-- . >> rose: everything is here it is your life, your pain, your joy, your sexuality, it's everything. >> it's an average day. >> rose: are you some kind of woman. blood, bones and butter. gabrielle hamilton, thank you. >> thanks for having me. jonathan waxman is here. in 1970 he gave up a careers as a professional trombonist to attend cooking school in paris. after working along side alice waters, he helped bring new american cuisine to new york city with his restaurants jams in washington park. in 2003 he opened barbuto. his new cookbook italian my way shares many of the recipes he serves there. i am pleased to have jonathan waxman at this table, not only do i eat at his restaurant but he is my friend and i'm pleased to have him at this table
12:32 am
finally. welcome. >> thank you very much, charlie. >> rose: i know how much you love cooking. i know how good you are. why does one write a cookbook. >> you know, funny. writing a cookbook is a little like eating a pound of sand. >> rose: a pound of sand. >> you know, it's the most daunting experience of one's life. because what you do on a daily basis as a chef, you know what, it's kind of fun. it's something that you really enjoy doing. and as i get older i love it more. >> rose: you love what, cooking more. >> cooking. but writing and putting it down, charlie, it's so difficult. >> rose: why is it difficult. >> i don't know. i don't know what it is about trying to figure out how what you do so almost mechanically, almost automatically, you take this from here, you take that from there, you take salt, pepper, how do you translate that, put it down on a page so somebody will cook it at home. it's really a difficult thing, i think.
12:33 am
>> rose: you are also, as i said, tried to make this italian cooking which is, for whatever reason we'll talk about later is dominant now, it seemsness. >> right. >> rose: you try to make it understandable and simple so that somebody can say tonight i'm going to be jonathan waxman at home. >> well, i think that's a big intention. i really want people to feel comfortable with this book. i want to demystify italian cooking because a lot of terms i think sort of confuse people. i think people sort of stick to the basics because they don't understand a lot of the sort of intricacies of what italian food is about. but i think what i try to bring is simplicity to the table. and i think that's really kind of what i hope this book will do. >> rose: you wrote the text yourself. >> i did. >> rose: why did you do that? >> well, you know what, hi a ghostwriter in my first book, and you know t wasn't exactly where i wanted to be as a writer. and you know what, i think i tell pretty good stories, verbally at least. and somebody said you could
12:34 am
just write this yourself. and so i tried to do it. it took me a little bit longer than i thought it would. but i feel really proud of me, honestly i do. >> rose: tell me the important things you have learned from people like alice waters. >> alice to me is not just an mentor but i think she's an icon of american cooking. she is a a person that looked at the world of cooking and said you know what, i am going to do it my way. i'm going to figure it out. and she was influenced by lots of different things but she really was influenced by country cooking in france. and you know, when i went there in the mid '70s, you know, alice is kind of really like on this up, you know, her ascendant level was amazing. she was really, she went from the front of the house when, right before i got there to being the chef at the restaurant. and she had all these incredible ideas. she cooked from really from her own intuition. she wasn't trained as a chef. she really cooked the way, i
12:35 am
will tell you an example. one day i was watching with a fillet of beef. in cooking school you are taught to take the fat off, the sinew off to down to the little fillet. alice didn't do that she took the whole fillet with the fat and stuff on it and cut it in these beautiful steaks and carefully trimmed off the fat. i'm looking at her and now i see what is going on. she was doing it intuitively but she knew exactly what she wanted. she wanted that little countries the fat on the outside to moisten the steak and she did it in alice waters individual fashion. >> rose: she is best known, i assume, because she, with her interest on local product. >> i think that's a big part of it. but i think alice's world is huge. you know, she is influence by the wine makers. she's influenced by the people that grow the crops. she, you know, she loves all these little farmers. but i think what she does is taking all these pieces and putting them together. you know what i learned from her, really, was how to do
12:36 am
it simply, carefully and with integrity. >> rose: who else is influenced new. >> well, you know, i think a lot of people influenced me. eres was one person, i never worked with him but went to his restaurants a lot was freddie-- and at first went there, charlie, it was i was just blown away. and i actually went there with alice. and she had a great way of describing it, it is like going to a museum of french cooking. because he took things and codified them down to the most exacting level. he had the best ingredients. it was the best oysters from britanny, the best-- the squawws from here and there he was a fanatical about his ingredients but his cooking was precise. and honestly it blew me away. >> rose: what do you think of what's called molecular cooking? >> listen, you know what, i think there's been sort of a bifurcation in cooking these days. you've got what i consider
12:37 am
to be a return to the basics which i cannot think what i do. and then you have the young turks or old turks or whoever they are. they are looking at flights of fancy, how to change the world. and i love that. >> rose: ferran adria and the rest. >> exactly. i went to-- in october and i hadn't been there before. and i was a little scared going there to be honest with you. i didn't know-- . >> rose: scared because you might find something you didn't know. >> i was scared that i wouldn't like it. that is really what-- i thought it was just going to be kind of, i didn't know. i had a lot of fluff and nonsense in my brain about what it was going to be like. i went there and it was gorgeous. it was ethereal it was amazing. >> rose: i can't this cannot be as good as they say it is. >> i think it is food of the future, in a way, that in a way that what he is doing is he is looking beyond sort of the tried and true and he's going out. i love that. i love being able-- when i
12:38 am
played music i always was very impressed by musicians that could improvise. i love that. and he was, i think compassee exactly what he is doing. improvising. he had such a good background that can do wafer he wanted. he pulls it off technically which is so difficult. >> rose: if you were a young man today or a young man today came to you and said i want to be a chef, let's say i have done an investment banker. and i really want to cook, that's what i want to do. i'm tired of making money per se. where would you send him or her? >> well, i would ask them first, what was their passion. what kind of cooking they liked. what kind of food do they like. what made them happy. and a lot of people, you know, like from different backgrounds whether it's asian or you know, italian, wherever. they always have, you talk about their childhood and what they ate as a kid. i think that's always so important. i love people that make a change in their career. i did it, it is an american thing to do. >> right. >> rose: but i would also say do you want to cook for
12:39 am
a living? do you want to write for a living. do you want to cook at home. what do you want to do and do you want to really spend the time because what people never realized, they watched us on tv and see us cooking and having a good time, that it is the 18 hour days, week after week after week after week. and you have to devote your time to it. otherwise you never get there. and i say to people dow really want-- if you want to devote yourself to it great but don't think it's going to be easy. >> so what don't we understand about running a restaurant other than it's an 18 hour day. >> well, i think that it's a little bit blue collar and a little bit of white collar. you have to be intellectually, you know, alert but you have to be physically capable. in other words, you have to be a little bit like throwing a fast ball, but you have to be able to coordinate the team. in other words, you have to be a player manager. and i think that's kind of what chef cos or conductors of an orchestra. you have got to take material that could be a little bit strange one day or good one day, you never
12:40 am
know because food changes every second. you have to be able to put it all together and please, people-- please people. >> and if you do that you've got a business. >> i think so. >> but you've had restaurants that have gone out of business whether you chose to take them out of business or by the economic circumstances made that happen. >> i'm totally happy with that history of mine. you know, i started my own restaurant when i was 33 years old. and to be honest with you i knew nothing. i didn't have an mba. i didn't study economics. i didn't know how to do a pro forma. i did it by the seat of pie pants and it was fun doing it that way but it wasn't a great business model, let's face it. but i was very lucky because i was at the right place at the right time. >> rose: and you got a lot of attention. >> i got a lot of attention and people kind of liked my food. i think i was the right place, the right time but i really put the work in, i really put the effort in. and when people started coming back and i realized that when people came back, they realized they loved my
12:41 am
food and the style of restaurant, i kept pushing and pushing. so i think what happens is a little bit of hub russ, you know, you want to expand. and that was pie problem. if hi stuck with jams, i might still be there today, you never know. but i opened buds and hullos, i was a little bit taken with myself. i think that is what happens with chefs. >> rose: and the best thing to do is focus con the job you have at hand. >> i think it's difficult at times. i think sometime that you become your worst enemy. >> rose: and that is changing even more so now because of hubris because of all the food channels and all the television and everybody's a television star and everybody has their own television show. >> i think what happens and i tell this to everybody, is that if you are young or old, doesn't matter what age you are. i don't really care what age are you when you start cooking. but if you look to jump from cooking school or your cone sort of idea about how to become a cook to becoming a star, forget about it. it doesn't happen that way.
12:42 am
people like bobby and tom, those people, they put their time in. it wasn't easy for them to get to where they were. now they have to be in the right place at the right time but they put their time in. and listen, it's hard to get on tv and cook. they make it look easy. but it's really difficult. >> rose: it's hard to cook on tv. >> exactly. i was always influenced by julia child and gram kerr and those people. they made it look easy. they put their time in as well. >> rose: i ask you about where you send someone if they wanted to learn. you went to france. would you send them to france today or would you send them somewhere else. >> i think france is still a great place to go. it's such a great tradition. there's great schools, great teachers, great restaurants. the passion's still there. when you see the ingredients like you go to a market in paris, or something, you know, it's phenomenal what they have. you know, that the ingredients. i mean when i came back to america, you know, when i
12:43 am
did 1977 the ingredients, we didn't have them. but in france they were all there. and you know, i think france is a great place but i think italy is a great place. i would love to go to school in china. i think i was very lucky because i grew up in berkeley, california and my parents took me to great chinese restaurants. and so i was very influenced by the chinese culture. i loved it. i thought what they did was miraculous. i never really understood it i studied a bit of it. i understand a little bit about swech want and hunan but i would love to do it more. i love woks, i think they are the greatest tool in the kitchen if you learn how to do it. many years ago danny kaye taught me how to use a wok it was phenomenal watching because you can cook a dish in a minute and a half. >> rose: so when you dream now, what do you dream? >> you know what, it's funny i still dream about food, you know. and what i dream about now is i dream about farms.
12:44 am
and i dream about beautiful pears on the tree. i think about hazel nuts, about white trough els that i find in the earth. i love like a perfect rasp berry, finding that perfect raspberry to me is almost everything. >> rose: why is italian cooking become so -- >> you know what, i think that it was always around. but it never really sort of resonated that well with the american public. i think when i first came to new york, most italian restaurants had basically the same menu there wasn't a lot of regionalism. you know, in the last 15, 20 years with mario vitali and mark vetri in philadelphia, all these great chefs that are doing italian food, and making great stuff, i think they really changed the landscape. and you know, i was-- you know, i was doing my thing, and my partner the famous fashion character said jonathanning you cook like my roman grand moth ever. i said what are you talking about. he says you cook simply, from the heart, that's how
12:45 am
italians cook. >> rose: great, jonathan waxman, the book is called italian my way. ferran adria is here, called the world's greatest chef, salvador dali of the kitchen and a revolutionary. his avant-garde style mixes science with the art of cooking, his restaurant el bulli has gained him worldwide acclaim on spain's costa braffa it is three mission stars it is restaurant by many. but adria announced he will be closing el bulli this summer. the question now for him, what next. i'm pleased to have him back on this program. welcome. >> thank you. the next thing to come is the-- foundation a center for creativity, a place we will show everything that we're creating and doing through the internet. >> rose: the restaurant will be closed.
12:46 am
>> yes. but instead of doing 125 concerts, we will be open for 35 days. we are going to do 25 con skerts, more time to creat create-- concerts and especially which would like to emphasize the important thing is the foundation. every day we will be posting on the internet everything that we develop and create. >> rose: now what is this book? a season in the kitchen, the source erie's apprentices. >> this book by lisa a vend works for the "time" magazine and-- asked ferran to see if she could do a book about the-- and she thought, he thought it was important that somebody, a journalist like her could spend 60 days at the el bulli without any kind of censorship so that there
12:47 am
would be like-- about what el bulli was like on the sign i had. there were a lot of myths about it. a lot of people talk about it. but nobody's had that experience from the inside. and he thought it was very important that somebody could explain that. and a company like this, there's a lot of trainees. and it was important to pay homage to all those trainees and that are out there in the world. because thanks to them, many companies are at the level they have reached. >> rose: so you hope that by reading this book and having heard defined what happened at el bulli they will understand what? >> what the life of a cook is like. what the life of a cook in a high end chef is like.
12:48 am
a lot of people see it as something quite glamorous. but it's a very special world, there's a lot of passion hine it. a lot of pressure. and very few people actually know what they experience is about. that young people spent 12 to 14 hours per day working. they leave their families behind for six months. some of them with young children and wifes. because they have a dream and they believe in something. because these are values that are hard to find in today's society. to want to do thingses in the right way. >> rose: but you want to teach. >> more than teach he wantses to share. >> rose: share. >> we all learn every day. when you share, that's the way you grow the most
12:49 am
difficult thing in a person like myself who has achieved everything possible, the skills to keep the adrenaline going, to continue to have some kind of estimate plus-- stimulus. this adrenaline is still produced by the people who still teach you something. and you don't need nobel prizes, very simple, human beings can still teach you something. >> rose: and you continue to learn. >> in this interview i'm also learning. ferran does a thousand interviews per year. and he also learns some that are good and even in the bad ones because they are bad. and people ask him why continuously does interviews, one. because it's cheaper than going to a psycho analyst. >> rose: yeah. >> and the second thing is
12:50 am
because he learns and makes you think, makes you investigate about life, learn about everything you do when you wake up in the morning, when you go to breakfast, when you go to work. he learns at every stage of the day. >> rose: in previous interviews with me, you have talked about the intent experience of cooking and eating and the sensuality and everything about it. you teach a course at harvard on the science of cooking, science. what do you teach? >> when we cook and we develop any kind of dish there's a chemical, physical process. when we talk about water, this is h2o. >> right, right. >> but we never remember -- >> hydrogen and oxygen.
12:51 am
>> we think it's something normal. we drink h2o every day. and people when they hear h2o they think of chemistry, oh t can't be good. but if it's water that we talk about, then it's great. there's an image, there's a very distorted image that chemistry is bad. chemistry is not bad. chemistry's very, actually very good. it's bad chemistry that is bad for you. >> but cooking is about science, meaning it is about physics, it's about chemistry. >> for example, fried egg. has a chemical, physical process which is very complex. a fried egg. and when dow it, it looks like something normal. but to understand and the knowledge of things, of why things happened can kmak you
12:52 am
learn and develop and create new things. that's required to create. in ferran's sake his knowledge of science is to develop new things. how will you have changed cooking? >> above all before before the el bulli, a meal was an experience about enjoyment and pleasure. after the bulli, food and meals have also become part of reflection and thought process. this is not normal it didn't happen before and it can
12:53 am
make you think and reflect on happenings, creativity, about many things. a meal is an experience. and when it's a new experience, it makes you think about very different things in life. this really tragic situation in japan and all of us who have been to japan at some point we know that japan is an absolutely amazing country. and many thinks and food and cuisine is exceptional. when ferran first went to shap an his perception of life was changed. the poetry of the food in japan is unique. there's no other country like it in the world 68 you thought that food was something else. and that's, we're just talking about japan.
12:54 am
but if we talk about bulli, we have achieved that a meal can make people think. >> here is something that you have said. creativity is not copying. the most difficult thing in life is really to maintain the purity of that which you believe. >> above all, honesty, when he says creativity is not-- he's talk being honesty because we all have references. the most difficult thing is to be ethical and to be honest when you create. it's not often that we hear people say i have created something but i was inspired by this or that. very seldomly we hear that. everybody believes themselves to be great create errs.
12:55 am
that they came up with these ideas on their own and that's not the way. we're all inspired by many people. and there are very few really truly creative people. we have to be ethical. and it's fine to say where your inspiration has come from. and today this is the rather difficult thing to find. >> thank you so much. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh
12:56 am
>> funding for charlie rose has been provided by the coca-cola company supporting this program since 2002. >> an american express. additional funding provided by these funders:. >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. be more.
12:57 am
12:58 am
12:59 am