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N September 6, the last night of its life, Stars could not hide its age.

The San Francisco restaurant no longer glowed with the light of chandeliers and Tiffany lamps. Dirt showed on the beige stars woven into the forest green carpet. Hundreds of photographs of the famous, who for ! years had made Stars the site of their own fabulous dinner party, had been stripped from the walls. "nd in the basement, stuffed into a bo# with pictures of $illie %rown, David &etterman and Tommy Tune, was a white chef's (ac)et embroidered with the name *eremiah Tower. Stars, Tower's shrine to the se#y rebirth of "merican regional coo)ing and all things glittery, had fallen. "nd the man who once reigned as +alifornia's most creative chef and presided over the biggest party in San Francisco during the height of the greed,is,good '-.s had closed up shop and left town. /t will be reincarnated on Friday, with the same name. %ut it will be an entirely different restaurant. "nd Tower won't be part of it. $hen Stars opened in 0-1 on a desolate alley near the +ivic +enter, socialite Denise Hale and the rest of the city's social cream led the charge. The stars of theater, music and politics weren't far behind. 2i)hail 3orbachev and Danny 4aye. *oe Di2aggio and 5udolph Nureyev. &uciano 6avarotti and &auren Hutton. Danielle Steel and &i7a 2innelli. They came to eat Tower's version of the new +alifornia cuisine, marvel at his brilliant sauces and giggle over late,night hot dogs served with sauer)raut and +hampagne. The wait staff was regarded as the best in the city. +hefs from all over made pilgrimages to sit near the open )itchen and simply watch the wild Tower,led crew of hot young coo)s. %ut Stars shone brightest in its dining room, where Tower floated from table to bar to )itchen and bac) again, a flute of +hampagne in hand. Tall and handsome, he dressed in 8uropean suits or chef's whites, with a perfect white apron draped down to his an)les. He possessed an impeccable palate, an appetite for alcohol, a famous temper and a rich cache of stories from his travels around the world. $ith only a few words spo)en with an accent that was a patchwor) of

time spent in 3reat %ritain, "ustralia and his native 8ast +oast, he could ma)e diners who stumbled into his charming web feel as though they were the most important people in the room. "nd the ne#t day, he might not )now their names. 9Stars had a comfortable feeling but at the same time was elegant,9 says Hale, who populari7ed the concept of the " &ist and was named one of the country's most influential women by :anity Fair in 00-. 9/t was li)e &e +ir;ue. <nce you went to *eremiah, you )new you were with someone who really )new how to do it. /t's very simple, really. /t was the place.9 From his early days in the 0=.s as the chef at +he7 6anisse to his rise to the prestigious *ames %eard Foundation's +hef of the >ear in 006, Tower became a +alifornia food legend. He populari7ed the "merican brasserie and is one of a handful of chefs who helped "mericans fall bac) in love with their own food. <N8 &"ST N/3HT 3oat cheese on salad, salsa on fish, individual thin,crusted pi77as ,, Tower had a part in creating them and then turning them into staples in "merica's restaurants. He e#celled at (u#taposing flavors. He insisted on ingredients that were the best, the freshest and the most local, and served them with a strong dash of sass. %ut on this night in early September, the night of the &ast Supper, the star had clearly faded. " sprin)ling of the socially important had shown up, as much to offer support for the new restaurant that would emerge in the space in <ctober as to grab one more hit of the old Stars magic. The menu featured Stars standards ,, roast por) with mango salsa? stea) tartare with ancho chile puree? cornmeal blinis with lobster and caviar and enough butter, as Tower always urged, to drip down diners' wrists. /nteresting interview by 9The %rowser9 with Fuchsia Dunlop in which she gives her top ! +hinese food boo)s. +lassic Food of +hina , >an,4it So Food in +hinese +ulture , 4+ +hang The Food of +hina , 8N "nderson

+hina to +hinatown , *"3 5oberts The 3ourmet , &u $enfu