A Michelin Star Dish, Please
A month ago, while staying in Paris, I had a unique culinary experience. Eating in a Michelin star awarded restaurant had never been my lifelong dream (although I would lie if I told you I had not been curious) but when I got an opportunity to eat there, I took it because it is not something that happens every day.
Brasserie Lutetia is a renowned Parisian restaurant located in the historical building of a five-star hotel of the same name in the fancy 6th district, in the close neighbourhood of the Church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the luxurious shopping mall Bon Marché. Brasserie Lutetia has been managed for twenty years by a world-famous French cook Philippe Renard, who received a star in Michelin Guide. And my friend and I were lucky to dine with him and see how things work in the kitchen where all those culinary miracles are made.
The restaurant offers high quality service, which is of course what we expect at such a posh place. Waiters wearing elegant black suits and bow ties are all smiles, willing to grant your wish, whatever it is. The situation down in the kitchen is different. It is a world that exists on its own. I would call it organized chaos no one can understand except for the well-trained employees. We saw fifteen cooks in action, making appetising dishes, five patîssiers preparing delicious desserts of all possible kinds and shapes we could imagine, waiters running up and down the stairs with plates, outshouting each other. It seemed to be a rather demanding and stressful job.
Chef Philippe Renard, sitting in his office with a plate of oysters on the table in front of him, watches everybody in the kitchen and cannot overlook anything. In spite of being rather busy, he always tries to apply his philosophy of “meeting everyone's wishes” to real life. While we were eating dinner, he was able to manage the cooks and waiters serving a newly elected president of the French Senate sitting upstairs. I had been a little nervous before (it is a surprise to be told unexpectedly to go and dine in Lutetia, especially when you are wearing totally inappropriate clothes) but my worries turned out to be ridiculous. So what is Phillipe Renard like? He is a kind-hearted, modest, calm, intelligent and very charismatic man. A brilliant cook. A loving father to four children. Despite his enormous success, he treats others with respect.
And eventually, what does Michelin starred food taste and look like? Incredible! It may sound like a cliché but seriously, it is like a piece of art on a plate prepared with creativity and love. Brasserie Lutetia offers contemporary French cuisine based on fresh seasonal products so the menu changes accordingly. I am the kind of person who loves good food and I must tell you I enjoyed eating as never before. What is more, the wine chosen by a brilliant wine taster was pleasure for taste buds as well.
The atmosphere of Brasserie Lutetia absorbed me and with no hesitation, I would recommend it to anyone who would like to celebrate a special occasion and enjoy true luxury once in a life.
P.S. Try Philippe Renard’s original recipe for Gâteau au chocolat (Chocolate cake). Bon appétit!
35 g cocoa
150 g flour
200 g sugar
1 packet of baking powder
a pinch of salt
120 g butter
150 g cream
225 g dark chocolate
Method of preparation:
1. Take a bowl and mix cocoa and 20cl of boiling water. Take another bowl where you mix 8cl of the above mentioned mixture (cocoa + water), 2 egg yolks plus 1 whole egg with a few drops of vanilla.
2. In another bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
3. Add melted butter and the remaining cocoa and pour the mixture into the bowl. Beat it with an electric mixer at low speed at the beginning and then switch to faster speed for a while until you get a homogeneous mixture.
4. Blend the two mixtures you have prepared together and beat the mixture again.
5. Your batter is ready to be baked, put it into a greased pan and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 30- 40 minutes. When baked, let the cake cool off and then remove from the mould.
6. If you wish to make an icing, simmer the cream and pour it on the chocolate. Gently whisk until the chocolate is melted.
7. Wait one hour before serving.
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