Growing up as the son of a famous jazz musician had its perks. As a young boy Milt Abel II remembers getting an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the life of an entertainer. Most of his friends were old musicians in their sixties and seventies, not kids from around the block. People from all over came to see his father perform and Milt was often on the stage with his dad soaking it all in.
Milt’s dad was the best at what he did. So from early Milt committed himself to carry on that legacy, regardless of what he decided to do with his life. To become a part of the elite few became his motto.
Even though he didn’t have any culinary studies, he was willing to work hard. When he was given the chance, he fell in love with the world of restaurants. Right around the time of Milt’s big break, his dad started having trouble walking and was losing his ability to play. Maybe it was the fact that we sometimes think our parents are invincible that made him not take his dad’s health seriously.
Milt wanted to be the head pastry chef at The French Laundry. He was convinced that he could do it because he was focused on being the best he could be. But Milt was missing a part of the secret formula; his dad had been a professional musician and a father at the same time and he had done both masterfully. By focusing on only being the best at one thing, Milt lost sight of what truly matters.