I'll miss him because he's the who made cooking cool for me. The spiked hair. The take-no-bs attitude. The tough guy demeanor and appearance. He's shaped my idea of a chef. When I'm trying to decide on, or make a judgement about another chef, I compare them to Jason. He's the reference point, the standard to measure up to.
And he is Lacroix to me. He represents Lacroix and he is what Lacroix represents. It's hard for me to imagine the two entities separately. They're inextricably linked. I feel like he has tamed Lacroix, but at the same time Lacroix has tamed him. It has matured him: ingrained in him a certain responsibility that only being the head chef of a four star restaurant at 25 can. But he gives back to Lacroix what he takes from it. He has given it structure and security. Maybe I'm not the best judge, but when Jason is at Lacroix, I always feel that everything is under control: that nothing will happen to the restaurant. Mistakes will be made but they will be worked out.
In the darkest days of the recession, however misguided, I was never worried. He was at the helm. He's had it under control. Maybe it's a false sense of security, maybe not, but the aura he emits is infinitely valuable in a work environment.
And as valuable as his aura is the sense of importance he gives to his profession. He gives cooking significance. In his kitchen, it isn't a job for slackers, or people who aren't striving for success, or people who thought they'd try cooking cause they thought they wouldn't have to think. It's legitimate, and serious and professional. But he doesn't take it too seriously. There is work time and play time: stress time and chill time.
These qualities combine to make him a leader. A great leader. A born leader. That's how I'd describe him if I only had a few words. That's what I'll miss.
After reading this through I almost feel like I've just written an obituary. Haha. It's kinda weird that I can't get my mind around the fact that he'll still be around here and there. And I'm talking as if Lacroix is going down too. It's not. Accomplished chefs are taking over. I have nothing to worry about. But I still wonder if I'll work for him again. I'll surely be eating his food again.