THURSDAY 02 JUNE 2011 • A SUCCESSFUL SERVICE IN LYON
A successful service in Lyon
We have now completed our next challenge - cooking a five course meal for the great and good of Lyon - one of the ultimate foodie destinations in the world - with a discerning and critical population! Our dinner in Lyon presented its own challenges - cooking in an unfamiliar kitchen, for a large group of local people, with the highest of standards.
The kitchen was small and hot, and of course the lights from the tv cameras made it even hotter. The kitchen was so hot that we had to find a way to dry the grated Comte cheese... My hotel hairdryer and Andy's engineering skills made it work!
As with our trip to Provence, we presented our diners with their own food, so this time we prepared a salade lyonnaise, quenelles souffles de Brochet (pike quenelles with a fresh crayfish sauce), and a chocolate tarte with crumble.
We won out last night. It was not easy but I think that Kush and Katie were brilliant. And our French, discerning Lyonnais guests were ecstatic, they even sang the Marseillaise! Some of them said they thought that it was the best ever quenelle of Brochet, the lightest and most heavenly they ever tasted! That is high praise - and we we had some of the most distinguished epicureans: great chefs (including Chef Pierre Orsi) and M. Bernachon - one of the world's greatest chocolatiers. He gave me the 75 per cent chocolate, that we used for a chocolate tarte and English crumble: they loved it (including the wonderful waitresses you can see in this picture):
It was both exhausting and simply divine...a great success.
We spent a memorable time in the company of the great French chef Paul Bocuse and his wife Raymonde. More about this extraordinary chef and ambassador of gastronomy soon. Paul Bocuse has held three Michelin stars at his restaurant near Lyon - L'Auberge du Pont de Collonges - since 1965!
Then we (Melanie and David, producer and director) and the team drove to our next challenge. We are staying in a lovely little hotel in the heart of Beaune, friendly and simple. Melanie gave me a good little address. Feeling a little delicate after the feat and seriously tired, I decided to be by myself, enjoying my own company. The bistro (not a bouchon because we are now in Burgundy and not in Lyon) is called Les Comptoirs des Tontons. Delicious shreded beef salad, followed by the best rabbit I've eaten these last 10 years, so much so that every bone was cleaned, every bit of flesh sucked out... Putting every bone neatly on the side of my plate, the Swiss chards coming from a local farm run by Yannick Loubet were the best: do much so that the food I tasted tonight might well inspire our menu in Burgundy. This treat of a meal was enjoyed with a Savigny les Beaune, vieilles vignes, Albert 2008.
Now I can rest my tired body. Burgundy feels just as I remembered it - close to home.
Best to you all
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Raymond Blanc's new book, Kitchen Secrets, featuring recipes from Kitchen Secrets Series 1 & 2 and many more, was published by Bloomsbury on 14 February and is available to buy online from Amazon, from Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, Brasserie Blanc, Maison Blanc, and from online and retail bookstores.
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