In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the *new*. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends. Last night, I experienced something new: an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s famous motto, “Anyone can cook.” But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist; but a great artist *can* come from *anywhere*. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau’s, who is, in this critic’s opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau’s soon, hungry for more.
Even though he used the word “new” he was really referring to a dish he had when he was a kid before he became a wealthy food critic. By the same token, it is interesting to try to view things that we see now through the eyes of ourselves as children; before we became so critical. We can replace the words “meal” and “artist” with the words “action” and “person”. We would see that how we look at one another should not be determined by our preconceptions, but by our God-given worth and potential. By this we might see that we are the true “Ego”. Perhaps someone completely vile will become that “unexpected source” who creates a work of art in his life. And maybe by him we will be able to better see his Maker; our own.
Source: Ratatouille (2007) – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0382932/quotes