Have a Life Worth Living?
Sirio Maccioni, who some call the greatest restauranteur of our time, is dead. He died eighty-eight years after the same day of his birth. There’s something beautiful in that symmetry, something artistic. Which is fitting as Maccioni was a member of the creative class. He was the kind of person who made things that were unnecessary. Sure, we all need food to stay alive, but we don’t need the kind of food that was served in Le Cirque, the restaurant that made Maccioni famous. Food like that is a luxury. It’s one of those precious things that make life worth living. It is art.
Jeremy Engebretson is a member of the creative class as well. He owns the best restaurant in Billings, Montana. Which is fitting, as he’s also the best chef in Billings, Montana. Normally this is a good thing, but we aren’t living in normal times.
Making a living by producing things that people don’t need is tough. Every member of the creative class knows this. They’ve been constantly reminded of this fact (by everyone), since they first picked up a paint brush, a camera or a sauté pan. They knew it was going to be tough, but they did it anyway. They accepted the challenge.
When it comes to creativity, Billings isn’t the most inviting place. It’s not the town’s fault, it’s just not in their DNA. The place was built on tangible things. Products one could load onto a boxcar. Traditional luxury in this part of the world is defined by a full belly and a warm bed, which, with a lot of hard work, is about what the land around here can provide.
Engebretson knows this as well. He knew going in that his passion for great food would be a tough-sell in these parts, but again, he accepted the challenge. Creative types normally do…