“Del Burgo au Negresco – c’est fini!” wrote Jacques Gantié in the Nice-Matin this week. So if you were making reservations to try the 90€ Menu Chantecler; the menu Baie des Anges (130€—8-courses and the tantalising Trilogie de soufflés a la peche, a la framboise et aux abricots); the menu Tout Legume (75€) including, for pudd, and a nice slice of Ossau-Irraty (that’s pressed pale yellow ewe’s cheese, very tasty especially with a blob of sheep’s milk ice-cream and a side order of luscious black cherries), forget it. But it seems del Burgo is on the road again. After excellent work at Taillevent, he went to La Bastide de Gordes then replaced the lovely Llorca who went off to the Moulin de Mougins and very nicely he’s doing there too. According to Gantié, they all had a serious sense of humour breakdown at the Negresco, and del Burgo left “brutalement Le Palace where he’s been cooking and quarrelling since January.”
OK, so who’s taking del Burgo’s place? Following in the footsteps of great culinary legends Maximin, Le Stanc, Llorca? Would you believe his name is Bruno Turbot! And the ironic part is that Turbot was up for the job when they took on del Burgo, but as they say, everything comes to those who wait, what goes around comes around. Turbot has a good parcours (Normandy-born, aged 40; if he hadn’t taken to cooking, he’d have had to open a fish shop, n’est pas). Petit Nice, Marseilles, Prunier, Paris, La Tour d’Argent, le Relais de Sèvres, Paris and Le Clovis at The Sofitel Arc de Triomphe, which was a bit glum, although his dishes were exciting. Think cannelloni of lobster with cardamom, or langoustine frits wrapped in green leaves and served with risotto, great inspiration for his new Mediterranean kitchen. Yes, of course he’ll be doing turbot, but give him a chance to unpack his knives before you start kvetching. He comes with the right baggage: a Michelin star and lots of enthusiasm. Del Burgo is off to open his own canteen in Paris. Watch this space.
Alain Dominique Perrin, who recently retired as head honcho of Cartier to spend more time with his vineyards, has come up with a brilliant idea to get round the draconian French drink and drive laws. Owner of the spectacular Chateau Lagrézette in the Cahors region, Perrin proudly presents his new wine “Permis de Conduire” (Licence to Drive). “With the French government cracking down on drinking and driving, my new product gives drivers license to drink and drive,” explains Perrin.
One bottle (8.5 ounces) of Perrin’s vin de pays d’Oc, in either red cabernet sauvignon or an elegant rosé cinsault, contains enough wine for two glasses, “which should be shared by two people,” insists Perrin. The French government estimates that the average person can drink one glass of wine and still drive with safety, having enforced a 0.05% blood-alcohol limit! (In the USA it’s about 0.08). The bottle’s label is rose pink, a dead ringer for the French driving license, and as Perrin patented the name, Permis de Conduire the French government can’t do anything about it!
Of course, bottle’s bear the warning that the effects of alcohol vary from person to person and by the drinker’s physical condition. Perrin was probably inspired by restaurants in France, for some time now offering wine “doggy bags”, so that the very expensive Chateau Margaux can be taken home and enjoyed in the privacy of one’s chateau/villa/yacht.
Permis de Conduire (about 50,000 bottles, so hurry while stocks last) launches this month, in France, and is available in restaurants, wine stores, Carrefour supermarkets and direct from Domaine Lagrézette, 46140 Caillac (T: 05 65 20 07 42). Expect to pay 7.80 euros per pack of 4.
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.”