You don’t have to go all the way to Paris to capture the feeling of a Parisian cafe.
Just totally let go. Empty your mind.
So says Giorgios Bakatsias, who has been visiting Paris since the age of 15.
Be like Picasso, says Giorgios. The famous artist found comfort in the company of poets, philosophers, dancers, art critics and other artists in the Parisian cafe scene.
“We have to be the best that we can be, push every door, open every door,” Giorgios said. “And ask the question, ‘What are we hungry for?’ ”
Giorgios Bakatsias changed out of his chef’s whites to give a talk outside the Nasher Museum Cafe for First Thursday.
We have all eaten at his restaurants many times: Vin Rouge, Parizade, Spice Street and others. He is a Greek-born restaurateur with more than 40 years of experience; he has run the Nasher Museum Cafe for the past two years.
Giorgios described himself as a peasant boy from a tiny Greek village. He dreamed of going to Paris, so he saved up $5,000 and went — by himself — at the age of 15.
Oh, the aromas, the food, the clothes, the romance! His first hot shower. His first cup of French onion soup. Ever since, he has associated Paris with opening doors, opening his heart, having no fear.
“We have a great obligation to be alive, to be awake, to be present in this moment,” he told the group of about 25 museum visitors who gathered on the cafe terrace as the sun began to set.
He dazzled us with descriptions of food: pates, soups, sauces, omelettes, steak frites, chocolate that “runs passionately into your spoon.”
So it was fitting that we headed back into the museum for a free feast, courtesy of Vin Rouge restaurant.
First Thursday events are free and open to the public.
IMAGES: Photos by Wendy Hower Livingston