Alain Ducasse

RECIPE: GOUGÈRES

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ITALY & FRANCE IN LONDON

CHAMPAGNE SHIMMER AND PASTA AT LONDON’S SUPERGLAM BAR, Guiliano Moraandin and Helene Pietrini

From freezing cold London, I send you a taste of sunny Italy and gourmet France. And to revel in both these, I don’t need to go out into the windy, rainy outside at all. Both are housed in the iconic, almost a century old,  stately landmark the magnificent Dorchester. It overlooks Hyde Park  and it fuses contemporary comfort with the timeless glamour and heritage of the property. What also excites me is it’s range of gourmet cuisines.

ITALIAN GUSTO

He’s a legend in his own right. The genial Giuliano Morandinhas been the heartbeat of the  fashionable buzzing see and be seen opulent Bar. Ofcourse as a bar manager he has played host to the whos who, his famous champagne shimmer cocktail (with gold flakes and complimentary lip gloss for the ladies)  continues to make waves in London. But now Giuliano, the bar manager is making history  by serving robust Italian flavors from his hometown.  Freshest of handrolled pasta, flavorful pesto, tiramisu…all made to his grandmother’s recipes.  Giuliano and his award-winning team of experimental alchemists shake and stir many a magical cocktail. He serves up the champagne shimmer to Helene Pietrini the lovely, dynamic director of the prestigious Worlds 50 best Restaurant Academy. We take a bite of the al dente pasta, go back for a full Italian dinner the next night and get happy high on the shimmering cocktail. All this in the  luxurious lacquered mahogany, mirrored glass, velvet and dramatic red bar!

FRENCH FINESSE IN LONDON

The brilliant chef Jean Phillipe Blondet at Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester.

It doesn’t get any better than this. At the three starred  shimmering temple to French gastronomy we dine in a shimmering cloud… fibre optic curtain at the superglam Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester.
I had dined here 11 years ago when it had just opened. It is better than ever. The dashing and brilliant Executive Chef Jean-Philippe Blondet ‘s French contemporary haute-cuisine is full of distinctive fresh flavors executed with a light and surprising twist.
We. try many a vegetarian masterpiece including the legendary cookpot. The signature “Sauté gourmand” of lobster, truffled chicken quenelles and homemade pasta; Halibut,
oyster and seaweed and Dry aged beef, artichoke and bone marrow dazzle.
——French contemporary haute-cuisine is full of distinctive fresh flavours executed with a light and surprising twist.
We. try many a vegetarian masterpiece including the legendary cookpot. The signature “Sauté gourmand” of lobster, truffled chicken quenelles and homemade pasta; Halibut,
oyster and seaweed and Dry aged beef, artichoke and bone marrow dazzle.
Restaurant Director Enrico Baronetto takes fabulous care of us.  We end with the heady chocolate light airy souffle and the traditional baba Rhum.

Ive been fortunate to dine at Alain Ducasses’ haute cuisine restaurants in Paris, Provence, Tokyo, NYC (before it closed down) and Monte Carlo (where I even shot my TV show). Celebrated  for his innovation,

attention to detail and dedication to both quality and technique, Ducasse reigns internationally supreme with the largest number of Michelin stars in the world. In all his restaurants Ive had these light, airy spheres of delight…French cheese puffs. Each meal begins with these. On my request Jean Phillipe Blondit shares the r4ecipe with us.

RECIPE

GOUGÈRES

(makes 2 baking trays)

A dedicated part of our guests’ dining experience, these delicate cheese puffs

are served warm and seasoned with paprika, black pepper, and Emmental

cheese.

Ducasse’s famed Gougeres.

INGREDIENTS

300 ml water

8 gr salt

240 gr flour (T55)

110 gr grated Emmental cheese

100 ml dry white wine

180 gr unsalted butter

380 gr whole eggs

1.5 gr ground black pepper

sweet paprika powder/ground black pepper (optional)

In a pot, make a choux pastry by combining water, white wine, salt and

butter and bring this to a boil.

Add the sieved flour to the liquid and continue to cook until a ball of dough

forms.

Transfer the warm dough into a mixing bowl and with a paddle attachment at

low speed, blend in the eggs little by little until fully incorporated and the dough is smooth.

Add the grated Emmental cheese and the ground black pepper and mix until

thoroughly combined.

Fill the dough into a piping bag fitted with a 10mm plain round tip and pipe little mounds (4cm apart), onto a tray lined with baking paper.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before baking.

In a convection oven preheated to 180°C, bake the gougères for 18 min-

utes or until golden brown and puffed.

Once baked, the gougères can be topped with additional ground black

pepper or sweet paprika powder and transferred to a cooling  rack.

Gougères are best enjoyed warm.

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ICONS IN PARIS

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Francois Delahaye handing over the Plaza Athenee book to Prime Minister Modi

Im in Paris to complete my thesis “The rise and the rise of vegetarianism” .  And so spending most of my time meeting my mentors and professors in the university. Also  part of my research is the most beautiful Parisian landmark. Here, Im not only tripping out on the finest French cuisine, history and culture but also the most amazing vegetarian masterpieces.

For more than a hundred years Plaza Athenee has exemplified modernity luxury and timelessness Any wonder this  Parisian landmark is patronised by our very own  Prime Minister Modi (confirmed vegetarian) heads of state, royalty, movie moghuls, haute couteriers and superstars from all fields.

Helmed by. Superstar Francois Delahaye over decades it has played host. to. many a superstar. And our very own Prime minister Modi too.

For some inexplicable reason vegetarianism is always associated with asceticism,  the opposite of luxury and with tasteless food. But here maestro Alain Ducasse busts all those myths. It’s a starry glamorous experience in every sense of the term…Luxury drips in ten thousand Swaroski pendants which dangle instead of chandeliers.

Its amazing that here in this temple to high gastronomy the gardener is  given as much importance as the chefs. And only vegetables cereals and fish are served here.I watch chef Romain Meder create the most delicious luxurious vegetarian haute cuisine. And he shares the recipes too. Should you want any please email rashmiudaysingh18@gmail.com

The President’s First Love

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Michelin magic: Eric Frechon.

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! PARIS

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Breaking news. Even more magic is happening in Paris: Not just in superglam, rarefied gastronomique restaurants but also on the streets and train stations.I eat in the Legendary three Michelin starred chef Eric Frechon’s fabulous and affordable Lazare (in the Lazare train station) I dine at his gastronomique restaurant at the iconic Le Bristol (across the Presidents palace and also the President’s favorite) too. I not only catch up with Alain Ducasse (have shot my TV show in his Monte Carlo restaurant) but also get a peek into the about-to-open, high-profile super hush -hush Plaza Athenee restaurant. And then comes the surprise I love the choux puffs at Ducasse and Michalak’s street side  choux puff counter.

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Paris sizzles with high-octane newness and youth… For the first time ever I dine at a restaurant where perfume and food overlap. International perfumer Guerlain’s restaurant by Michelin starred Guy Martin conjures up their signature  perfume inspired dishes. I ’m thrilled  to dine with the dashing young Michelin starred Chefs,  Akrame  (of the 7 month old, Michelin starred Akrame) and the charming Executive chef of the Peninsula John Edern . The brand new less than a month old Peninsula dazzles  and right next to it, the fourth generation family owned Raphael continues to hold it’s own and weave timeless charm as I meet the lovely owner Veronique Valcke,   Coffee with Helene Avril at the Goerge V,  shopping at Maison de Truffe ,Hediard, calling on the Indian ambassador, Elodie Berta’s drive through Paris in the teensy weensy Twizzy electric car (which anyone can hire)  and lighting a candle of thanks at the Madeleine church …all this in two magical days.

P.S. Need Paris info? pl mail rashmiudaysingh2015@gmail.com, twitter instagram @rashmiudaysingh