Chef definitely leaving
An evening at Seeger's (slideshow with audio)
Chefs gather to celebrate Seeger's
It's a tremendous loss for Atlanta's restaurant scene. Seeger's is closing, and the city is the poorer for it.
I had the pleasure of experiencing his cuisine twice: once when he was at the Ritz-Carlton (where I was introduced to my favorite cheese in the world, Vacherin Mont d'Or), and once in 2001. The latter remains the most remarkable and memorable meal of my entire life. I do not exaggerate when I say that it was another culinary plane of existence.
2001 was a terrible year, both for us and for the country. This was the New Year's Eve right after 9/11, and we decided to pool our pennies and put it all behind us for at least a little while. Inside, there was an instant bond with everyone: I can't quite explain it, except to say that once you were seated, you were instantly in the club. Everyone there cared passionately about food, and we chatted with a pleasant couple next to us, sharing our joyous expressions over each dish. The staff was convivial and friendly: we had a lovely discussion with the young sommelier, for whom it was his last night at the restaurant -- he would leave the next day to pursue his dream of opening a wine bar back home in Provence. Our server exclaimed enthusiastically "It smells so good!" as she placed the bowl filled with a generous puddle of Araucanian egg custard topped with white truffle in front of us ... the whole bungalow was perfumed with it. If God eats comfort food, I'm pretty certain that custard is it.
I won't even start talking about the Meursault.
I could tell you every moment in detail (indeed, I've bored many friends in person with the tale), from the foie gras amuse bouche to drinking better champagne that night than the President of the United States, but I'll just leave you with a photo of the menu from our night (it's too small to bother with an LJ-cut; click the thumbnail if you'd like a larger view):
Jan 1, 2002 - 1 Photo
The words "master" and "masterpiece" are overused these days, but Seeger's cuisine deserves such accolades: he is truly a master of his craft.
Thank you, Chef Seeger, sincerely and humbly, for a life-changing experience. As my husband says, "At least we got to eat there." As the speaker on the slideshow says, you don't endorse cookware, you don't go on television, you're simply there in your restaurant night after night, doing what you do best: creating culinary art.
You will be truly missed.