Jacques Torres never wanted to live in New York City. He grew up in a Provençal town smaller than most American parking lots, enjoyed the outdoors, loved to fish. But Sirio Maccioni, the impish and persuasive owner of Le Cirque, lured him to Manhattan with several irresistible promises. He swore he would quadruple the size of the pastry station in Le Cirque's kitchen so Torres could create "the best desserts in America." "I'll pay you well and treat you well," Maccioni vowed. And he agreed to put Torres's name at the bottom of the dessert menu.
That last perk was quite unusual in those dark ages.
The year was 1989.