The Gourmet Buzz: Food and more

By Margaret Kemp

How often do you have friends pop in and oh the shame – the champagne’s chilled but you don’t have an ice bucket! The chic quality of life in the city being what it is, you feel a fool, ashamed. No longer, Christian Ghion has designed the perfect bucket, and matching flutes. “Anyone can design expensive stuff”, says Ghion, a delightful man, rarely without a Marlborough Light in his mouth, who looks like a rocker who just got off his Harley.

Anyway, Ghion (who trained to be a lawyer, an art historian, an auctioneer, before graduating from the Ecole d’Architecture Paris-Conflans and then collaborated with XO, Cinna/Rossi, Octant, Sawaya & Moroni, Capellini and Design Lab) said, “Yes, I’d love to”, when champagne producers Nicholas Feuillatte asked him to design a range of affordable champagne-related objects. So rush out and get the bucket, it’s only about 20€, you can’t afford not to. And the flutes, which look like test-tubes, are about 1€, so they’ll be plenty left to buy a decent bottle of Nicholas Feuillate, Cuvéz Blancs de Blancs Grand Cru Mesnil (the favourite of Jackie O, Shirley Maclaine, Lauren Bacall, Kate Moss, Johnny Depp, schhhh).

You can find designs by Ghion at Food,the hip new gallery-art-design space dedicated to literature, gastronomie and nutrition. Don’t miss Hans Gissinger’s outsize erotic photo-portraits of Italian salami sausages through October. Food’s expos change every two months, and it can only get better. I see it becoming a sort of club des gourmets; a great place to pick up a cake mould, ideas for entertaining, The Gone With the Wind Cookbook, Food Fit for Pharaohs, or a book on how to mix that perfect drink, cure a hangover and more. Pierre Gagnaire will dedicate his just published magnum opus, “Sucré . Salé, at a book signing on 15th November. And check out the location, it’s nestled in the magnificent 17th century L’Hotel de Sauroy, a salami’s throw from the fabulous Marché des Enfants Rouges.

Food is the brainchild of Claude Deloffre, former LA Times stylist, where she says everyone is obsessed with diet, and lies about their size. “They all insist they’re size 4”, she laughs. Back in Paris, Deloffre set up City Magazine, edited Fashion Fetish Fantasy for her friend Thierry Mugler and became an obsessive collector of photos and cookery books–hence Food was born. “Chez Food, la goumandise will never be a problem”, promises this fragrant woman who wears “Angel” because of its divine chocolate notes.


Food
58 rue Charlot, 3rd (Republique)
Tel: 01 42 72 68 97
E:mail
Shut Sun-Mon

Cave Nicholas Feuilatte de Paris,
254 rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré, 8th
And Epernay – New York – and Beyond!
T: 03 26 59 55 65

Did you know you can book at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon? 11:30 for lunch and 6:30 for dinner! Why not? If you’re going to the theatre/opera/ballet you can get there in time. If you’re American you’d love to eat early and not have some ghastly-gallic Maitre d’ looking at you like a raw prawn if you arrive before 8.30. Have you noticed how the French always arrive at 8.30, blocking up the doorways, with a look that says, “Zoot, I ‘ope I am not too early, cheri.”

Anyway, just remember not to break your arm/foot trying to get in to Casa Joel, the door is locked! Maybe they’re worried about a terrorist attack – but as soon as the resting actor/actress/gorilla sees you, checks out the Vuitton/Gucci-ness of your apparel, you’re in.

The food’s good, but I really think the success of the meal is who you are perched next to. It’s all non-smoking, so it won’t be a fumeur, but just remember you could get stuck with some boring guy/woman/heterosexual with bad breath, dying for a fag! Think twice before you strike up a conversation! I still swear the crab and avocado rouelles are a rip-off from Barbot at L’Astrance. I really enjoyed the mackerel tart with Parmesan, a small dish of baby kidneys and ris de veau was excellent as was the dish of the day (certainly not the plouc sitting next to me) Gambas à la Plancha. Service is pleasant, but a tad slow. (It was only 6:45, surely they can plate up a bit quicker.) Spuds are delicate, leave you wanting more, so there’s probably still time to leg it round to Bertillon. Lovely wines, by the glass if you want, my bottle of Chateau Les Ormes Sorbet 1997 Medoc was pleasant enough (55€), unlike the guy next to me! Mineral water poured as soon as you arrive, nice touch.

L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon
5 rue de Montalembert 7th (rue de Bac)
T: 01 42 22 56 56

I read in the International Herald Tribune that the founder of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, announced they will open near the Opera early next year. “Ze traditional café will not disappear”, promised the competition i.e. Catherine Mathivat of Les Deux Magots.

Mathivat probably sees the likes of Sartre, Hemingway and Picasso, turning in their Pere Lachaise. But, maybe they’d have got more work done if they’d had their espressos to go!  Make mine a blueberry muffin and a latte light –-to go—bien sur! 

People are talking about:

The stunning new Patrick Jouin designed bar at the Plaza Athenée. T: 01 53 67 66 02

La Fontaine Gaillon – beautifully restored classic/historic watering hole. Already spotted Johnny Halliday, Roberto Rossellini, Olivier Dassault, Candice Patou, Bernard Blier noshing Terrine de Laperau en gelée. Aioli of cod à la Provencale, carré d’agneau aux cepes, and tres bonnes vins selected by Carole Bouquet, with lover boy Gérard giving a hand in the cuisine to chef Laurent Audiot.

Place Gaillon, 2nd. (Bourse)
T: 01 47 42 63 22
Open 7/7 Menu €36 + A La Carte

A la semaine prochaine!

To learn more about French cooking, or France in general, why not order a book from Amazon.com.?

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Born in Britain and now based in Paris, Margaret Kemp graduated from The Cordon Bleu and spent a year working and watching in the kitchens of top chefs from Sydney, Australia via Bangkok, Hong Kong, California, New York and France. Realising she would never win the coveted 3-Michelin stars, she decided to write about the people who do, the "disciples of Escoffier".

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