I must admit I have a delectable palate and a soft spot for French cuisine. The food movement in Paris is rather relaxed and more spontaneous now rather than conservative. The chance of having the Michelin Star add on to your credentials each year put real pressure on the Chef in question. Food should be served comme il faut, as it should be and the service is done exactly as it should for the time it is being served, it’s kitchen chemistry. The first time ever I dined at the L’Atélier de Joël Robuchon, it was a victory dinner treated by my big boss. It was splendid. Michelin Star dining at its finest.
Remember Monsieur Bernard Loiseau? The chef who’s afraid of losing his 3 Michelin Star status that he committed suicide by firearm. It happens during a lunch service at his restaurant. He was the most celebrated chef in France. Bernard Loiseau established Bernard Loiseau SA in 1998 and was the first-star restaurateur to establish the concept of having one’s restaurant incorporated and traded. At the time of his death, he was the only French chef traded on the stock exchange. I remember in one of his cooking demonstrations that he prepared frog legs with parsley and garlic purée. That is so French and his oeufs en cocotte is such a classic. Michelin has gone to extraordinary lengths to maintain the anonymity of its inspectors. Many of the company’s top executives have never met an inspector. Unlike the food critic for magazines nowadays, most would recognize them as they might have read their editorial intro page complete with a mugshot of their profile photo.
Bernard Loiseau is the only French chef traded on the stock exchange…”
But food should not be so comme il faut as they have seasons and certain ingredients are not always available all year round. The idea of losing his Michelin Star was unbearable for him and it gets into the minds of these chefs and their relentless pursuit to be perfect. Perfect doesn’t exist.
“Food should be served comme il faut, as it should be and the service is done exactly as it should for the time it is being served, it’s kitchen chemistry.”
I managed to wake up at 4 am in the morning catching an early flight to Hong Kong seeking my Michelin Star. Well, they are serving truffles this season and I have made my reservations 3 months prior well in advance. With my Tai Tai get-up, I am ready to paint Hong Kong town red! Having arrived at the airport at 12 pm in the afternoon, all I wanted to do was sleep in my hotel suite, I was so exhausted. Note to self, no more morning flights please. I have planned my whole holiday around this.
A telephone call rang at my suite sometime next confirming my presence. I delightfully say yes and began to plan my day and my #ootd. When I arrive, I was slightly early and Micheal was to take care of me for the whole haul. He was a fair and handsome Hong Konger that has some French accent when he spoke English. There was something eloquently debonair about him. As soon as I knew that he speaks French I jump at the first opportunity. We converse in French throughout the meal. He was very attentive and he was verbally expressive. I had to cleanse my palate with a glass of champagne before I had my appetizer of steak tartar with caviar and white truffle oil. A main course of canard with foie gras and a bowl of his signature mashed potato with rich French butter and crème fraîche oh la la… finishing my sweet endings with au chocolat truffles medallion with chocolate sauce so delicately woven like lace on linen over the fudge. To my surprise, I had some candied aniseed coated with gold and silver leaves after dinner with coffee, a sight that I have not seen since I was living in Paris. Mr. Robochon really takes this to the next level. That my friend is a truly classic French dining.
Having globetrotting around Asia and dine at the various Joël Robuchon brand, I cannot deny that their food is comme il faut (as it should be) and according to a Michelin Star standards. You find perfection in our own ideology that is maintained throughout the brand. It has that certain je ne sais quoi in their foods. For now, Joël Robuchon restaurants is here to stay until someone new is taking over offering a unique plate.
#finedining #travel #hongkong #frenchcuisine #designer #galavanting #française