Thursday, September 24, 2009
- PAUL BOCUSE & The Food Network "THE LION OF LYON"
After Richard and the crew finished their ‘shoot’ in Beaune, we packed and headed for Lyon where the next piece for the Food Network was to be on one of the world’s most famous chefs… Paul Bocuse, the father of nouvelle cuisine. He’s so famous, in fact, that his cooking earned him France’s highest civilian award, the French Medal of Honor, bestowed on him by President Valery Giscard d’Estaing.
We parked and walked through the tall wooden gates that lead us into a tiled courtyard with carved frescos and mosaics on the stone walls. Wow! History! On the other side of the courtyard was an old stone building. Once inside, the main dining room left me speechless – it was exquisite with its lush fabrics on the tables and windows, upholstered chairs and banquettes. Everything was elegant, expensive, yet oddly home-like and cozy. I could live there.
After the shoot was over, Monsieur Bocuse invited us to sit down in the kitchen at the long picnic-style dining table used by the sous chefs, cooks and waiters on their food breaks. Chilled bottles of sancerre were opened and poured for me and the guys. Then a waiter served each of us a bowl of the Bocuse’s famous “tres expensive at 80 Euros a bowl!” truffle soup topped with a chicken pot pie-type of pastry crust that they had just shot him making. We broke open the crust and dipped into the soup filled with a mirepoix of carrots, mushrooms, beef, celery, plus “melt in your mouth” foie gras and the $600 an ounce black truffles. Bocuse uses black truffles because, unlike white truffles, one can cook with them. White truffles disintegrate. A bottle of Bordeaux appeared on the table (the only wine Monsieur Bocuse said should be served with this soup). It was the most amazing soup I’d ever tasted.
After the individual soup tureens were removed, we got up to leave, but immediately sat back down when a platter of ripe, stinky cheeses magically appeared out of nowhere... followd by a salad… followed by red mullet topped with a potato crust which was scalloped to look like the scales of a fish (the presentation was only matched by the taste of the fish and potato mixture... art and mouthwatering food all on one plate… it doesn’t get better than that)… followed by a chocolate bombe dessert (all of which are found on the restaurant’s menu)… and many bottles of white and red wine.
For the second time in a week (the first being in Beaune), I thought I had died and gone to food heaven. The French really can cook.