Over the next few days, we’ll feature the personal stories of several chefs from New York City and around the country to see what they went through on that morning 10 years ago, and how 9/11 has affected them as people and as chefs.
Didier Elena is executive chef at Adour Alain Ducasse at the St. Regis Hotel.
Where were you and what happened on the morning of 9/11?
I lived in Queens at the time and was commuting in, making the transfer at Queensborough Plaza when the second tower came down. When I arrived out in front of the Essex House, Alain Ducasse and Paul Bocuse were standing there trying to piece together any updates. We made the decision to close the restaurant and as my team made their way into work, the mother of one of my cooks arrived to see if her son had made it to work that day. He was staging at Windows on the World that day to make a little extra money to pay for his wedding. I was the one to break the news to her.
What kind of lasting effect has 9/11 had on you?
Personally speaking, this reinforced my attachment to this country.
More memories from September 11: