Lessons from a French Chef:

Last weekend I had the pleasure of dining with dear friends of my family at perhaps the most incroyable French restaurant to be found in Copenhagen, if not the entirety of Scandinavia: Le Sommelier. To brush up on our french I will remind you that a ‘sommelier‘ is nothing less than a highly respectable, well educated wine steward. So if you did not already guess, this one of a kind restaurant doubles as a ‘top shelf’ wine bar to accompany your every taste, thought and flavor.

I enjoyed the honor of sitting with the head chef and his v. adorable family, which not only gave me an insightful view into each pièce de résistance set before me, but an even greater appreciation for the preparation, passion and pursuit that went into each bite I was to so delightfully consume.

The evening began with a sneak peak into the seemingly endless wine cellars of this classic French Fare. The smell of cedar, the crisp temperatures expertly catered to each brand and bottle, the brief glimpse of a 1945 bottle of Red, becoming even more flavorful and pungent with each passing decade…

We sat down to one fantastisk course after another, pacing our selves with the conversation and educational histories that adorned each plate…

The secret to French cooking, you see, parallels with the uniqueness of Scandinavian Design: Simplicity. Using the best quality ingredients, and preparing them with the most non-invasive approach as to conserve the taste and flavor that each dish provides. This I penned as “Quality Recognition” – The ability to preserve the original flavors of food by preparing quality dishes with simplicity, to taste. It is easy to go to the average market, pick up the average chicken and smother it with the average spices to create a better ‘flavor’ which masks the poor quality of the rather flavorless meat, vegetable, fruit, etc…It is a very European concept to go to the fish market for your fish, the butcher for your meat, the fresh produce stands for your locally grown fruits and vegetables…

In France there are even regions well known for specific cuts of the finest meat. The Bresse area of the Rhone-Alpes region of France, for example, is best known for their ‘Poulet de Bresse’; Birds that are protected and bred by the highest standards, in turn providing the most tender, moist, bites of chicken that need not more than a dash of freshly ground pepper and a drizzle of olive oil before cooking… The importance of preserving the originality of flavors, savoring the simplistic preparation, and enjoying the pure, superior tastes of top quality food is imperative in every authentic cook’s kitchen, and the knowledge & awareness of this oft-overlooked concept deems just as much attention s’il-vous-plaît…

Lesson Learned: The fervors of today are the flavors of tomorrow.

~p.e.