In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk junk is probably 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 often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends. Last night, I experienced something new: an extraordinary meal from a singularly singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions 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 disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous famous motto, "Anyone can cook." But I realize, realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. meant. Not everyone can become a great artist; but a great artist *can* come from *anywhere*. It is difficult to imagine more humble humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau's, who is, in this critic's opinion, opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to returning to Gusteau's soon, hungry for more.