David Liederman, 27, has two specialties—corporate law and duck with green peppercorn sauce. A native of Princeton, N.J. and a graduate of Brooklyn Law School, he has gradually transferred his allegiance from torts to tarts. It all began one summer in France when he spent three days dining at the Troisgros restaurant at Roanne. “It was the cheapest place with three stars in the Michelin guide,” he recalls. “The first time I ate there was a spiritual experience.” Each vacation he returned and “hung around, hoping to get into the kitchen.” One day he was drinking Perrier when one of the Troisgros brothers, Jean, approached, racket in hand, and inquired, “Tenneees?” David won the match and was hired (for room and board) as the first American in the kitchen. Last year he spent four months peeling fruit, arranging plates and blending sauces 16 hours a day. Now back in New York, he has his fingers in several pies. He is three courses short of a degree in restaurant management. He reads cookbooks “like novels” and plans to publish The New Cuisine, in which he has adapted for American cooks the sauce recipes he learned in France. He also owns a company that manufactures natural stocks for sauces and is negotiating a lease to open his own restaurant in New York this fall. A future Troisgros? Peut-être.
Laurel Keller, 25, is down under making the first biological study of Australia’s isolated Kimberley region, 1,000 miles north of Perth. She is the youngest of a six-member scientific team investigating mammals in a desert and plateau area that has been largely uninhabited by man for the past 75 million years. The four-month expedition is sponsored by Chicago’s Field Museum and the Western Australian Museum in Perth. Laurel begins her workday at dawn, skinning and preserving bats, rodents and marsupials captured the night before, then resetting her traps. She grew up near Buffalo, N.Y. wanting to be a veterinarian, and she is no stranger to excitement. She attended schools in England and Argentina, wiped out on her motorcycle, was hit by a car and lost all her possessions in a fire. She dropped out of Kent State after the 1970 campus killings. “School was irrelevant,” she says. “I was disillusioned.” A string of jobs led her to Oregon to visit her brother. While working as a waitress, she decided to try school again and graduated from Oregon State with honors in wildlife science. “I was learning what I wanted to learn again.” After the Australian expedition she plans to specialize in mammalogy at graduate school. “I’ve always been an adventurer,” she says. “I like variety and change.”