Monday, February 2, 2009

French Nouvelle Cuisine by a Japanese Chef

One of my greve-related joys of staying in Paris was being able to attend two demonstrations by visiting guest chefs. Normally, I am in transit between Geneva & Paris and miss out on these extra events that happen on school premises. I decided I would take advantage of the opportunity of being in Paris a couple of extra days and attend a couple events.

The first of these was on Thursday evening. I attended a cooking demonstration by Chef Tsukasa Fukuyama, Chef de Cuisine of the A&M Bistrot in Paris. Based on his name, I was expecting Japanese or possibly fusion cuisine. But instead he prepared an inspired 3-course offering in nouvelle cuisine consisting of roasted foie gras with 4-spice, a wonderful pork tenderloin served with a galette made of pig trotter, and an iced mousse made with candied fennel and served with a cardamom infused pineapple coulis.

I’ve had foie gras served lightly grilled before, but the quality of his sourcing this ingredient was evident in how little it rendered down during the cooking process. The addition of 4 spice gave the final flavor a unique twist. Accompanied by caramelized apples, batonnets of cooked beet root and a reduced balsamic vinegar, it was a stunning presentation. All I was longing for was a cold glass of Sauternes!

I’m not a huge fan of pork dishes, but this tenderloin was certainly some of the best I have ever eaten. And the wonderfully easy cooking method made me feel confident I could try it at home. The tenderloin was carefully trimmed of all visible fat yet with the cooking method of searing and slow roasting, it remained so tender & moist. It was flavored beautifully with fresh rosemary and served with wilted spinach.

The galette was similar to a seared terrine or aspic. It is made of seasoned pork trotter and ear, gellified in a loaf pan, then cut into cubes and lightly seared on each side in a super hot skillet; then served with a delicately oiled herb salad as accompaniment. It came out golden brown and lightly crisp on the sides, retaining a slightly gelatinous but pleasing aspect at the centre. This combined with the textural aspects of the ear cartilage vaguely reminded me of a dish called “thousand layered wind” that I was once served for dim sum.

The most inventive course was undoubtedly the dessert. I love fennel, but I’ve never had it served in a dessert. He showed us how to candy the fennel pieces; then he covered these with a cream mousse containing Ricard, finishing it with a brulee-style top of caramelized sugar. It was quite simple but the most inventive dessert I’ve had in quite some time. My only critique was the coulis, which did not offer much in the way of infused cardamom flavor (the pineapple seeming to overdominate the flavor). Still, seeing how easily it came together, and my love of things with aniseed flavor, I am keen to try it again at home.

1 comment:

Catherine said...

There's no need to be French to cook top quality food. Chef Tsukasa Fukuyama is very talented. The best restaurant in the world is now Danish ("Noma").

French course