You would often hear people complain about world-class restaurants that fail to meet their expectations. Often, you would have your own reservations about certain establishments like L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon. You have probably experienced dining at the other Joel Robuchon restaurants. There are a couple of disappointing establishments. L’Table de Joel Robuchon in Paris, for one, may fail miserably when it comes to offering good food. The unfriendly staff and expensive meal may turn you off. Robuchon de Galera in Macau fails to impress as well, so you may have some doubts. This is not the case with head chef’s Philippe Groult’s food served at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon.
This restaurant offers relatively affordable food at affordable prices, so you will definitely enjoy your meal without squeezing your wallet dry. The staff, including the chef, is friendly and attentive. Of course, you can still expect the French-snobby treatment.
Chef Philippe Groult’s food is fairly interesting as it should be considering that the restaurant has managed to grab the 55th spot in El Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Dishes are unusually presented. Their scallops for example are pan-fried and these are served with bacon and asparagus. The whole thing is quite delicious and savory. It’s exactly the dish you would expect from a first-class chef like Groult.
Philippe Groult has been in the culinary industry for a significant period of time. He is not new to Joel Robuchon’s restaurant. He worked at Jamin for 3 years, from 1981 to 1984. Even at a young age, he already showed remarkable culinary gifts. He won the Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) award at the age of 28. This is the same award that was won by Robuchon himself. This prize was also given to Claude Le Tohic, the head of Las Vegas’ Robuchon Restaurant.
Before he worked at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Chef Groult also opened and operated his own restaurant, L’Amphycles. He earned two Michelin stars for this restaurant. It is not actually surprising that he will soon head the kitchen of L’Atelier or that he will have the complete trust of Robuchon himself. The world-renowned chef does not mince words when it comes to praising Chef Groult. He completely trusts the latter’s talent and skill. He trusts the latter to present the true flavor of French cuisine. He believes that Chef Groult possesses all the skills necessary to take L’Atelier to the top.
Chef Philippe Groult’s Spider Crab with Caviar Recipe
Total time: 30 to 60 minutes
Ingredients for 4 servings
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
Zest of 1/2 lime and 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp. fresh ginger
1 bouquet of thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. black peppercorns
1 liter (4 cups) white wine
500 ml (2 cups) spirit vinegar
4 male Spider crabs, 500 g /1 lb. each
4 female spider crabs, 1 kg (2 lb.) each
4 male spider crabs, 1 kg (2 lb.) each
300 g (10 oz.) fresh green seaweed, washed well
200 g (7 oz.) Caviar
1 tbsp. chopped chives
Ingredients for the cream
100 ml (6 tbsp.) extra-virgin olive oil
Strained juice of 1 lemon
100 g (3 1/2 oz.) chopped French shallot
50 g (2 oz.) flat leaf parsley sprigs
Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Preparing the court-bouillon and cooking the crabs
Bring 7 liters (7 qt.) water to a boil; add the carrot, onion, lemon zest, ginger, thyme, bay leaf and peppercorns;
Boil for 3 minutes, then add the white wine and vinegar; return to the boil; reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes;
Bring back to a boil over high heat. Immerse 4 male spider crabs head first into the court-bouillon and cook for 12 minutes from the time they go into the water; remove and drain;
Skim the court-bouillon; repeat the process with the 4 females, then the other 4 males; set aside;
Prepare a large bowl of ice water; bring the court-bouillon to a boil over high heat and blanch the seaweed for 30 seconds, just until it it changes color;
Drain and refresh immediately in ice water; drain again and set aside.
Preparing the crabs
Prepare 2 bowls, one for the crabmeat, the other for the liquid and coral;
Shell the 4 small males. Their shells will be used for presentation, so it’s not necessary to remove the meat from the claws;
Cut all around the head and remove the upper part of the shell;
Reserve the liquid and coral from the head. On the lower part of each crab, pull on the shell and remove the meat; rinse the shells under cold water and set aside; shell the remaining 8 crabs in the same way;
Using a spoon, remove the eggs under the belly of the females and reserve it;
Delicately break the claws with a hammer or nutcracker; remove the meat with a shellfish fork; reserve the creamy liquid and coral from the head; discard the shells;
Preparing the cream
In a bowl, whisk the creamy liquid, coral and half the eggs to a fairly smooth texture;
Whisk in 5 tbsp. olive oil, adding it in a thin stream;
Add the lemon juice; season with salt and pepper; add the shallot and flat leaf parsley; set aside;
Be sure there are no pieces of shell in the crabmeat by sticking a skewer here and there; add half the meat to the cream; correct the seasoning and set aside;
Place the caviar in a bowl and add the remaining olive oil as well as half the chives; mix gently and set aside.
To serve, lay out the seaweed on 4 large serving plates;
Place the empty shells in the center; spoon the crab cream into the middle and place the remaining crabmeat on top;
Garnish with the caviar and the rest of the chives; serve immediately.
Image Credit via Barnachon
Image Credit and Recipe via Food Gourmet
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Alain Passard is one of the world’s most renowned chefs. You have likely heard of him. It is not hard to miss him if you are in the culinary industry. He is the owner of the three-Michelin star restaurant L’Arpege, a world-class restaurant located in Paris, France.
Chef Passard is a son of an artist, but not a culinary one. He comes from a family of musicians. At an early age, he came to love music a well and he can play the saxophone like there’s no tomorrow. He discovered his love for cooking when he worked at Hotellerie du Lion d’Or at the age of 14. In 1976, he found his way into the kitchens of La Chaumiere and worked under the tutelage of Gaston Boyer. He stayed there for a couple of years. Eventually, he worked at Le Duc d’ Enghien and stayed there for four years. It was during this time that he earned his Michelin stars and became the youngest chef to have earned two stars. He was 26 years old.
In 1984, he moved to Belgium and worked at Restaurant Carlton. By this time, he has practically honed his skills to perfection. He was able to win the restaurant its two stars within two years from the time he took the reins.
The turning point in his career happened when he bought L’Archestrate from his mentor Alain Senderens and renamed it L’Arpege. This was in 1986 and the restaurant’s zoomed into popularity within a year. In fact, it managed to grab its first Michelin star within a year of operation. It earned its second star on the second year of operation. It won its third star in 1996.
Chef Alain Passard made a revolutionizing culinary decision in 2001. He decided to remove all red meat from L’Arpege’s menu. He decided to focus all his efforts in creating delectable and inspiring vegetable dishes. He voluntarily removed 12 of the best dishes in his menu. Along with this decision, he opened a 2-hectare garden where he grew organic produces.
Alain Passard gained a celebrity-chef status when he joined Iron Chef, a Japanese show. He first joined the World Cup 1997 which was held in Arashiyama. He won rounds after rounds until he got into the final match with Hiroyuki Sakai. Sakai actually defeated him in a split decision. Still, despite losing to Sakai, it was a great honor for Passard to have been named as the Ultimate Test in this competition. His final dish, Ronkonkai Chicken a la Dragee is considered to be one of the best dishes created in this event.
Alain Passard’s Sweet Onions with Curry and Parsley Coulis Recipe
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 pounds sweet onions, such as Vidalia, Maui or Walla Walla, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1/4 pound flat-leaf parsley, tough stems discarded
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock or canned low-sodium broth
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon Madras curry powder
Melt the butter in a large skillet; pour off 2 tablespoons and set aside. Add the onions and a pinch of salt to the skillet and toss until evenly coated. Moisten a piece ofcrumpled parchment or wax paper and press it on the onions. Cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the parsley and blanch until wilted, about 1 minute. Drain and press the parsley dry, then transfer it to a blender. Add the reserved 2 tablespoons of melted butter, the stock and lemon juice and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a small saucepan.
Toast the curry powder in a small skillet over moderate heat until fragrant and lightly browned, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate.
Gently warm the parsley sauce and spoon it onto plates. Mound the onions in the center, sprinkle with the curry powder and serve.
Image Credit Christofle
Image Credit and Recipe via Food and Wine
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Earth is 70% made up of water. So it might be just right and matching that 70% of the human body is also made up of water. Water is thus such a vital part of our lives. In truth we can survive longer without food than without water. A healthy human person can live from 3 to 10 days without water while men can live without food for as long as 2 months.
There must be a very important reason why 70% of our bodies are made up of water. In actuality there are many reasons. One is that blood is made up mostly of water. As we know, blood is an important part of the body because it transports oxygen to the other tissues as well as carry nutrients and other gases through out our body systems.
The organs that blood nourishes are also made up of water. The brain, lungs, and muscles all contain heavy amounts of water. All tissues are also bathed in water. This water bath also serves as protection for them from friction when we are moving.
Water is also involved in regulating body temperature most obviously by sweating. As mentioned, it makes transport of nutrients and other substances possible because of its very nature as a fluid. This is not only through the blood but also via the extracellular and interstitial fluid. So aside from nutrients and oxygen, it also carries the metabolic wastes that must be eliminated from the body.
It also moves substances that affect the activities of the rest of the body like hormones. It is also through hormones that water, indirectly, affect body temperature. Water is also a must in the action of enzymes, which catalyze the physiological functions various organs. A lot of vitamins are also water soluble and therefore would be rendered useless without water to dissolve in.
As mentioned though, we sometimes have the need to lose water to regulate our body functions. Some other time, we need to replenish this lost. It is suffice to say then that we need to take in water sufficiently. There is an old adage that we need 8 to 10 glasses of water per day. Actually though, we can estimate our water needs by taking our body weight in pounds then dividing that number in half. The answer you get will be the number of ounces of water per day that you would need to drink. This applies when excluding doing strenuous activities that hasten water loss. For example, if you exercise, you must drink another 8 ounce of water for every 20 minutes you are active.
Aside from drinking, you also get a lot of your water intake from the very food you eat so it still very wise to consider the food that you take in. However, the most important part of your water replenishment comes from what you drink. Pure water is still and will always be the best option because while it is deprived of other healthy substances, it is enough to nourish what your body need. Nonetheless, you can still choose other beverages.
You must be careful in choosing flavored beverages though. Wine and other alcoholic drinks can have their health advantages but too much of them would be bad. Sodas are really delicious but they have too much sugar and calories. Teas can be good diuretics and body cleanser. Sports drinks have electrolytes that are beneficial for the body’s actual needs, especially when dehydrated. Juices, especially if they are freshly squeezed from the actual fruits, can provide you some essential vitamins and minerals. Caffeinated drinks have their pros and cons too so take them in moderation.
Water not only sustains our everyday lives, it also assists in making it better. It is concerned with preventing occurrences of various diseases. It was found that drinking eight glasses of water daily can decrease the risk of colon cancer by 45%, bladder cancer by 50% and it can potentially even reduce the risk of breast cancer. Too much alcohol can reverse these effects but one glass a day or less can make your heart stronger and may boost your memory.
Whatever you may choose to drink, just make sure that they are generally more beneficial. One way or another, you do have to drink. Best choice would always be water. So drink up to live. Drink life!
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Although there are really some fine restaurants in Athens, Spondi is arguably the best of them all. It has become an institution in the country. The doors of Spondi opened more than a decade ago. It was envisioned by its owner, Apostolos Trastelis, as the oasis of class, beauty and taste in the whole of Greece. The restaurant building used to be a refurbished old house which eventually became the Michelin-starred establishment it is now. Spondi boasts of two Michelin stars.
The restaurant has always been popular, but it is only with the arrival of its French head chef, Arnaud Bignon, that the restaurant truly became world class. This chef pursued his culinary career at such an early age. He gave up his academic studies at the age of 15 in order to pursue a culinary career. He studied, persevered and climbed up the rungs. Chef Bignon is far from being inexperienced. He had worked in several Michelin-starred restaurants like Ducasse, Drouant and Bristol. He was only 30 years old when he took became the head chef of Spondi.
The first thing he did when he took the reins at Spondi was to bring in a French staff to work with him. Over time, Chef Arnaud managed to bring the restaurant up the culinary ladder. He is very particular about the details. One can immediately sense the attention given to presentation. These things basically characterized the changes that the head chef made.
Chef Arnaud, like other master chefs, is very particular about his ingredients. He insists on the freshest ingredients. He would often use the seasonal ones though. Of course, this prompts the restaurant to change recipes and menu twice in a year. He is also a fan of molecular gastronomy. He loves to experiment with classic cuisines, giving them a modern twist. He also experiments with French-Greek food fusion. Of course, this is inevitable considering the fact that he has boundless supply of all things Greek. What makes his dishes spectacularly good, however, is the presentation.
The restaurant boasts of good starters and main dishes, but one must not definitely miss their desserts. You can skip the starter but you should not miss out on the dessert. You should definitely try the Charlotte. It’s a class by itself. No matter where you look at it really, Spondi is a world-class restaurant that is run by an exceptionally good chef.
Chef Arnaud Bignon’s Calf’s Sweetbreads with Licorice
and Roasted Carrots with Gingerbread Recipe
Recipe via World Wide Gourmet
The spice powder is made by pulverizing a piece of dry gingerbread (pain d’épice) in a food processor. A ladle with a little pouring spout is ideal for pouring sauces.
800 g (1 lb. 12 oz.) calf’s Sweetbreads
2 sticks of Licorice
250 ml (1 cup) milk
250 ml (1 cup) veal jus
1 knob of butter
20 young Carrots, with tops
White chicken stock
20 g (2/3 oz.) powdered gingerbread (pain d’épice)*
Soak the sweetbreads in water for 2 days to remove any impurities, then blanch them for 2 minutes, skin them and divide into 4 portions of 180 g (6 oz.) each.
Into each one, stick a half stick of licorice, halved lengthwise.
Peel the carrots, reserving the tops.
Begin cooking the carrots in olive oil, add a little white chicken stock and powdered gingerbread and cook until the liquid has reduced completely. At the end, sprinkle with powdered gingerbread.
Heat the oil to 160° C (325° F). Fry the carrot tops; drain and set aside on paper towel.
Cook the sweetbreads in oil in a skillet; when they are nicely browned, add a knob of butter.
Deglaze with a ladleful** of veal jus and glaze under the salamander for a few seconds.
Bring the milk to a boil and add some grated licorice and salt. Froth with an immersion blender.
Place the sweetbread brochette in the center of the plate and arrange the carrots harmoniously.
Garnish with a sprig of fried carrot top, some licorice foam and the veal jus.
Image Credit World Wide Gourmet
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