Past forty days, I’ve been on a foodie pilgrimage: Lima to Mexico city for Latin America’s 50 best restaurant awards (as regional jury chairperson) to Los Angeles and now am concluding it (fittingly enough) in Paris. Here too, I’m dazzled by many a brand new arrival, like Alain Ducasse’s Ore in Palace Versailles, Yannick Alleno’s “extraction” technique. However, my homage to Michelin starred Eric Frechon continues unchanged. I’ve yet to eat food as impressive in its precision — and as gloriously wanton in its luxuriousness. I am an admirer of the intriguing ingredients Eric Frechon packs into one composition and coaxes into harmony, be it in his recently awarded starred Langham in London, 114 Faurbourg and three starred Epicure in Paris. It is here in this exquisite Parisian palace le Bristol that I’ve seen President Sarkozy dine (in fact he still comes here regularly for macaroni, artichoke, foie gras) Chef Eric Frechon has heads of state, royalty and glamour squad eating out of his hands and all of Paris is abuzz with his new book, the last word on French gastronomy.
Ooh la la! She continues to surprise and seduce. I refer to the worlds most beautiful city, the global gastronomique capital Paris. I’ve been in love with Paris, past three decades and each time I come away more dazzled than ever. Paris continues to serve up delicious surprises…here’s a snapshot of the latest to the greatest.
“Movable feast” is what The famous author, Ernest Hemingway called Paris, And The Bustronome, the luxury bus-restaurant redefines it, literally. I not only enjoyed the mutli-course gourmet wine-paired unch while gliding past the most beautiful monuments, but was blown away by the hitech “audiopen” (when you point it to the map it has a informative multilingual commentary on the monuments and landmarks). I raise a toast to the Eiffel tower as to this innovative Bustronome.
In the already world famous, magnificent Place Versailles, the UNESCO World Heritage classified, finest achievement of 18th century French art, two delicious surprises have been added on. The king of cuisine, the superstar chef Alain Ducasse opened his new restaurant Ore in the Place premises itself, opening onto the cour Royale.
A French inspired menu with classics, from light and quick snacks, desserts and gourmet pastries here.Plenty for vegetarians too. From the amazing vegetable tart to the light as a cloud soufflé. Chef Stéphane Duchiron dazzles. I not only walked through this shimmering iconic landmark, but also went to the brand new “Costumes et Chateaux” where Clementine has the most amazing period glowns and coats, jewellery, wigs and shoes and dressed me up in them for an amazing photoshoot. A fun and fabulous memory.
BRAND NEW CAMPUS
Ooh la la, the iconic, 120 year old custodian of the French culinary tradiiton, Le Cordon Bleu Paris moved into it’s beuatiful and high tech sprawling campus (with a rooftop garden et al). It was awesome to attend the high-powered inaugural, last week with more than 20 embassy heads attending it. Playing gracious hosts, the owners André Cointreau, Charles Cointreau along with maestro Chef Eric Briffard and Catherine Bascet invited guests to embark on a taste journey (and wow what an amazing feast it was).
DINNER AND CABARET
Immortalised by poets, authors and artists, Paris’ oldest and most flamboyant cabaret Moulin Rouge gets a brilliant new chef David Lequellec. Along with the dynamic Olivier Villalon, we feast on the two hour wine-paired gourmet dinner before the cabaret begins.
A TASTE OF HISTORY
Whoa! I’m not only getting a taste of the exquisite “De-light” cuisine but doing so in the historic room where film was born and the Lumiere brothers made their first presentation.Im in the brilliantly located and legendary Hotel Scribe Paris. It embodies the new Parisian hotel chic.”De-Light means maximum pleasure and minimum calories” explains the slim and lovely Beatrice Schopflin who helms this exquisite Paris landmark. It’s a joy to feast on gourmet cuisine, nutritionally-balanced and low-calorie according to the well-researched Quiberon principles. Chef Sebastien Crison ‘s cold beetroot soupEscabeche fish fillet, Patisseur Thimothée Gensse desserts are flamboyant works of art and flavor with a minimum of calories.
NOTE: Le Cordon Bleu and Hotel Scribe have shared their amazing recipes. Should you need them please mail me on email@example.com, instagram, twitter @rashmiudaysingh and I’l be happy to share them with you.
Inventive, flavorful, exciting. Whoa! I’m not only getting a taste of the exquisite “De-light” cuisine but doing so in the historic room where film was born. What you see in the photograph are the Lumiere brothers, who In 1895, having invented the first film projector, unveiled it to the public right here, where we are dining. ”De-Light means maximum pleasure and minimum calories” explains the slim and lovely Beatrice Schopflin who helms this exquisite Paris landmark dedicated to Eugène Scribe, the popular and prolific author of more than 400 plays. It’s a joy to feast on gourmet cuisine, nutritionally-balanced and low-calorie according to the well-researched Quiberon principles. Chef Sebastien Crison ‘s cold beetroot soup Escabeche fish fillet, Patisseur Thimothée Gensse desserts are flamboyant works of art and flavor with a minimum of calories.
P.S. Im feasting on Paris… from dining in Yannick Alleno’s three Michelin starred restaurant Ledoyan where modern French cuisine is being born, to unique dining and sightseeing in “Bustronome”. From the launch dinner of Le Cordon Bleu’s new campus to the Indian buffet atop the Eiffel tower to launch Ranveer Singh’s new Bollywood film’s trailer… but that’s another story!
I’m on a foodie pilgrimage… from Lima (the rocking capital of Peruvian cuisine) to Machu Picchu (citadel of the ancient Incas) to Mexico city (Latin Americas restaurant awards as jury) and now in Los Angeles (the glamour and film capital of the world). Here I dine in three landmark symbols of Hollywood. Wolfgang Pucks Spago (superb) Chateau Marmont (pedestrian food) and the crowning glory is the dinner at the all new art-deco BLVD, the ultimate winner of a symbol of Hollywood dining, which bristles with starpower and the brilliant French chef Thomas Bellec’s Mediterranean magic with Californian produce. Voted top “Power Tables” … Wall Street Journal, ironically enough it is in BLVD that I’ve had salad with Priyanka Chopra, muesli with Anil Kapoor and steak with Javed Akhtar. Today I dine with Super achiever Sunil Perkash ( producer of Hollywood Blockbusters, including SALT with Angelina Jolie and Enchanted with Amy Adams.) This Stanford graduate, gourmet at large also cooks up delicious biryani. Also a Stanford alumni, the talented Scriptwriter Anjali Vithayathil’s is currently working on another western with Sunil. Joining us, is well-traveled gourmet, the dapper Ben Trodd, who has led many a hotel to win awards and spearheads, Beverly Wilshire, the “pretty woman hotel” and iconic Hollywood landmark.
P.S My starpower dining continues,thanks to Michalene my foodeditor friend of Robb Report, we’ve just got a table at the mega-celebrity chef Curtis Stone’s three month old “Gwen” . Should you need information about LA restaurants, please instagram, tweet or mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s to the power of Food and restaurants. Did you think Food is only about nourishment, taste, excitement, great cooking, expression of love? It’s much more. It’s a global force. I write from the most prestigious Oscar of food awards being held in Mexico. Not only did the Minister of Tourism Enrique De la Madrid, grace the awards but even the President of Mexico tweeted and congratulated the chefs.
Building this all-powerful global platform to promote gastronomy is Charles Reed and his dream team of the Worlds 50 best restaurant academy (also Asia’s 50 best, Latin America’s 50 best). I am all admiration for this dynamo dream team from London who even in as far away as Latin America not only encourage and award the finest 50 best restaurants, give diners an accurate compass to find the best but also ensure positive benefits to flow to local communities from greater awareness and international visitors and even promote tourism. May this uniting global power of food and restaurants grow and magnify!
Note: Latin America’s top two restaurants, Central (Virgilio and Pia Martinez) and Maido (Mitsuharu) are both in Lima and I had the most amazing meals there…including 15 course, pure vegetarian ones.
Am I in a glamorous 1920s Hollywood movie train? Or an Agatha Christie thriller? Dining on gourmet food in this plush, gleaming dining car in the uber luxurious Belmond Hiram Bingham train by Orient Express, is a dream come true. Its speeding me through breathtakingly beautiful everchanging Peruvian Andean landscapes to the mystical Machu Picchu. Im sure you’ll agree with me, that food gets infused with a magical quality when we dine on a moving train. Add to that gourmet food (cooked in the state of the art kitchens in the train, vegetarian options too),finest of wines, immaculate service, white linen, petit fours, freshly brewed espresso and Im in heaven. A well-stocked bar, live music and Pisco sour lesson complete my joy. Almost. Meeting the gallant Andy Montufar Oquendo and Orozco the chef on board who conjures chef William Paniagua recipes magnifies my joy. A fittingly memorable, delicious, journey to one of the new seven wonders of the world. It’s a wonder in itself too.
P.S. The train is named after Hiram Bingham, the American explorer who discovered Machu Picchu in 1911.
I write from foodie Paradise. And what a magnificent gigantic one. From the frozen peaks of the Andes to the roaring Pacific ocean, the deepest jungles of the Amazon, sand dunes, ancient Inca civilizations, Machu Picchu and the bustling gastronomic capital of Lima. Each region produces a staggering wealth of produce, vegetables, fruit, herbs, grains…you name it. And this great geographic and cultural diversity has brought ingredients ranging from highland tubers to tropical jungle fruits to a complex cuisine of Spanish, indigenous, African and Asian influence. For sure this vast country translates to paradise for us foodies. Ceviche with slivers of fiery chili and corn, slow-simmered stews, velvety Amazonian chocolate. I explore the bounty of food markets, sample grilled anticuchos (beef skewers) on the street corners and (thanks to my co-chairperson of the Worlds 50 Best Restaurant Academy, Diego Salazar) dine at the finest restaurants of Lima. But most excitingly, I check out Peru for Vegetarians (ably guided by Maria Jose, Sabrina Chaves, Elda Cantu) It’s a deliciously gourmet Vegetarian paradise too.
FROM LIMA TO THE SACRED VALLEY
Please take a look at the accompanying photograph shot in the globally awarded “Most Romantic resort of South America”. Im feasting not just on the superb Peruvian food but also on the stunning views. Dining on this luxurious rooftop with the glorious coastline of the Pacific ocean below, is one of the many memorable experiences that Belmond Miraflores Park serves up. Helming it is the dynamic Thomas Moons with global experience and training as a chef too. Lima born Tula Castaneda delights with her knowledge of Peruvian cuisine. I lunch with them at their renowned Tragaluz restaurant, chef Jean Paul Barbier’s quinoa tabouleh with beetroot, mushrooms, watercress, makes a masterpiece out of potatoes with the Peruvian Yellow chilli,porcon mushrooms with truffle sauce and more. August Baert’s Tragaluz delights. Not only is the finest Peruvian chocolate used here, but their superb spa gives me a Chocolate massage too. This is definitely my idea of having my chocolate and eating it too.
In the Sacred valley ( an hour’s flight away from the bustling city of Lima) nature preens in all her magnificence. And it is here in the Belmond Rio Segredo, that I lunch by the shimmering River Urubamba with the brilliant chef Cesar Landau. In the mellow sunshine of the Sacred valley, Chef Cesar’s creative cuisine with Peruvian ingredients delights, be it the tomato tree with water melon gazpacho, vegetarian ceviche with asparagus, mushroom and seaweed from the lake or the quinoa risotto.
I also get a superb Pisco tasting session from the knowledgable Cesar Chiara.
This award winning national drink is the purest brandy, and from the 8 grapes, two types of Piscos (aromatic and non aromatic)are made. I learn all about that famous lemon, sugar and white of egg based cocktail Pisco sour. All this in the beautiful glassed in bar and restaurant overlooking the stunning gardens of the Rio Segredo. Close by the salt mines of Maras produce the delicious Maras salt from the ancient times of the Incas. I can taste this vibrant salt in all my food and when it is used as a scrub in the Willka spa, it revitalizes me and Im ready to feast on Rio Segredo’s banquet again.
Here’s Chef Cesar Landau’s recipe . A delicious creamy way to cook the healthy, protein rich, gluten free quinoa. You can add or omit the vegetables.
70 gr quinoa/40 gr mushrooms/20 gr zucchini
50 gr cream of milk/30 ml broth of vegetables/ 30 gr parmesan cheese/
2 gr chopped garlic/3 spears of asparagus/ 1 cherry tomato/
20 ml olive oil/5 ml truffle oil/Salt
Boil water with rosemary in a pan. When the water is boiling add the quinoa. Cook for 20 minutes. Rinse the quinoa and let cool
In a frying pan, add olive oil, garlic and let cook till garlic turns golden. Then add the mushrooms, the zucchini and sauté. Then add the quinoa and the cream and let it reduce.
At the end check the salt and the parmesan cheese.Before serving, drizzle with truffle oil.Grill the asparagus and served on top.
Exciting times. I continue to research (read eat) my way for our very own Times Food Guide. I eat at Kala Ghoda’s brand new modern Indian “Hitchki”, and get to know about meatilicious “Boston Butt” there from Micky and Jay Dalal. From dining at well-know TV chefs (Vicky Ratnani’s The Korner House and Jamie Oliver’s Pizzeria) to “Ministry of Salads” in Warden Road, BAD café in Bandra , Goila’s butter chicken in Andheri and a rocking night out at “Play the lounge” I do it all. Chef Himanshu Taneja of JW Marriott’s superb Pan Asian Dashanzi to Mahindra’s healthful “Saboro” in Churchgate. I dine in Iconic old retaurants which have got new chefs ( Chef Francesco Francavilla delights in Vetro as do Chef Rohit Chadha and his expat chefs in Golden Dragan, Yet to dine at Chef Xi Xi Ling’s Mekong) Chef Alessandro Persico’s Celini is as good as ever. I check out Udippan Chakravorty, Ananda Solomon’s successor’s “Thai Pavilion” and “Trattoria”. As a policy I do not accept preview invites and dine only after the restaurant has opened to the public. There are several such, about-to-open, including Aditi Dugar, chef Pratik Sidhu’s “Masque” (Mahalaxmi) which has interiors by Ashiesh Shah and has been making waves even before opening. Exciting times ahead.
P.S. A REQUEST Should you have dined at any brand new restaurants, please do share with me (Instagram, twitter @rashmiudaysingh, email@example.com)
What you see in the photograph is the two kilo “crabzilla” at maestro chef Dharshan Munidasa’s world renowned “Ministry of crab” Its on the prestigious “Asias 50 best restaurants” list as is his Japanese “Nihon Bashi”. He has single handedly putting Srilanka, the beautiful, tiny island on the world gourmet map.
His modern Srilankan “Kaema Sutra” delights. And it’s his commitment to the finest, freshest ingredients and “No freezer restaurants” that is admirable.