Open 25 years with 2 Michelin stars for 12, it's almost hard to comprehend their achievement thus far and it should be noted that David & Helen undertake every service personally. When the restaurant is open, they are there, Helen looking after front of house and David in the kitchen; when they take holidays, the restaurant closes for the duration. It is part of what makes Le Champignon Sauvage so special, it is a very personal restaurant and when you eat there, you are eating David's food, cooked by David.
Consider this: assuming they work 45 weeks each year for 5 days a week, serving 45 guests each day (the number is probably higher), putting these numbers together they serve approximately 10,000 diners each year. Over 25 years therefore, they have served 250,000 meals. The Olympic Stadium of the London 2012 Games holds 80,000 people; David & Helen therefore have personally served the equivalent of the entire stadium three times over with multiple courses of the finest quality food imaginable.
The Olympic theme actually carries over nicely for a recent article in the Huffington Post by sports psychologist Dr JoAnn Dahlkoetter noted the 'Profile of the Olympic Gold Medal Mindset' as consisting of seven traits: enthusiasm and desire; courage to succeed; internal motivation; commitment to excellence; discipline, consistency, organization; being focussed and yet relaxed; ability to handle adversity. Who can deny these are the very traits consistently exhibited by David & Helen over the last 25 years?
In my mind without doubt, the same pride with which Britain swelled at the performance of its athletes at the Games should be similarly accorded David & Helen for their unfailing accomplishments at Le Champignon Sauvage, though I'm sure they would be far too modest to accept it. David is the perfect role model for any young chef in the business today but gets too little recognition outside the industry because instead of working his media profile, he's working the pass.
Winston Churchill is reported to have said of Clement Attlee that he was 'a modest man who has much to be modest about'. David Everitt-Matthias is a modest man but with plenty to shout about, more than most including me, making it humbling to be in his presence. So if he wont shout about it, we will: David and Helen really are great British heroes, food heroes, and even Olympians in a broader sense. If the much talked about legacy of the Games is to champion values of hard work over the instant, transient and undeserved culture of fame, then David and Helen are indeed the role models that people in all fields should aspire to.
Accordingly, we wish David and Helen, and Le Champignon Sauvage another 25 successful years and urge everybody who loves food to visit them and support them if you haven't already. Of course, if you have been there already, you'll need little encouragement to go back, you'll already know just how special it is.
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