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Archive for the ‘Food for Thought’ Category
Eating up Paris, 2015
Living in sunny Florida for the past 25 years one sometimes forgets that the rest of the world does not share in our vast array of sunshine, especially during the winter months.
Arriving in the darkness to Charles De Gaulle International Airport at 8:15 in the morning was an immediate reminder of why we originally chose to visit Paris in the winter; guaranteed chilly weather, less crowds, maybe a dusting of snow and now another……..morning darkness!! Who knew how greatly appreciated the absence of early morning sunshine would be following late nights of delicious dining!
Our “winter escape” plan was simple. Five days and nights of dining, site seeing and wine tasting. Obviously no where near the amount of time that should be allotted to this historically rich city, however, we knew that going in and had no intention of trying to “do it all” in just a few days.
An early morning arrival is the perfect Segway into what will be your first of many meals in France………lunch. And the French take lunch seriously, dedicating time to relax and enjoy a comforting meal and most likely a glass of wine. After checking into our hotel we decided on Bistro fare for lunch and headed to Alain-Ducasse’s Benoit. It was what I hoped it would be, an instant reminder of refined French cuisine, rich sauces, petite garnishes and pure flavors! A perfect first stop after an overnight flight.
20, rue Saint-Martin, www.alain-decades.com
The magnificent estuary known as the Seine River can be admired from so many different locales in Paris, but none better then on a beautifully restored river boat, particularly those of The Yachts De Paris company and there Don Juan II Gourmet Dinner Cruise. A spectacular evening of sites and flavors complemented with lovely wines and gracious service. This is a must do!! The evening starts off with champagne and Hors D’ oeuvres in the salon followed by a five course menu of French Cuisine Today. Before dessert is served you are invited to step upstairs on to the deck for a perfectly timed sighting of the Eiffel Tower as it puts on a five minute sparkling light show. We enjoyed this experience so much that we would absolutely revisit The Don Juan on our next Paris Holiday.
Reservations at www.ydp.fr
Having not been to Paris in 20 years I knew it would be next to impossible to experience the “local” eating scene without a local. Voile!! Enter Wendy Lyn, Founder & Editor of The Paris Kitchen and………….
³One of the Top Ten Culinary Guides in Europe² The Wall Street Journal
³On a first name basis with every Œit¹ chef in Paris² Travel + Leisure
“Wendy Lyn is Paris’ Ultimate Food Insider” – USA TODAY
“One of the 6 Best Food Tours in the World” – Sunday Times Magazine
Get the picture?, Wendy was our go to gal!! We spent 7 delicious hours with Wendy bouncing from a cheese seminar and tasting at the famous “Fromager” Laurent Dubois,
47 ter, bd Saint-Germain, to the hidden Hors d oeuvre bar at L’Avant Comptoir, (you must order the duck confit hotdog), address: 9 Carrefour de l’Odeon, Left Bank.
Next it was off to world famous Chef Guy Savoys newly opened oyster bar
L’ Huitrade directly across the street from his 3 Star Flagship Restaurant Guy Savoy. We had not been seated ten minutes when Chef Guy popped out of kitchen to chat with his friend Wendy, this of course led to introductions. A high point for me due to the fact that I have admired his talent since first dining with him in 1996.
Bistro Paul Bert was on our list to dine, however, obtaining a reservation was challenging, but once again, not for Wendy, one phone call and we had an 8:30 dinner reservation on a Friday night! Bistro menu selections redefined, simple, flavorful and bustling with locals. Note: order off of the smaller chalk board, you won’t regret it. Address, 18 rue Paul Bert
Cheers to our new foodie friend Wendy Lyn………She is awesome and would love to show you her city!
Merci be coup Wendy!!! Auvoir
Les Bouquinistes at 53 quai des Gds Augustine, definitely did not disappoint. A most sumptuous seared cod with creamy risotto was the perfect “lite” lunch after sleeping off our food coma from the previous day.
Walking and site seeing set us on a course up to the 17 arrondissement and to the doorsteps of Lucien La Chance.
Fourteen petite tables bustling with Mediterranean flavors from the matchbox size kitchen. The owner graciously waited on us and guided us thru the chalkboard menu. A highlight for me was his wine recommendation, a Vin de Pays Des Cotes Catalanes, which showed amazing minerality and what the French refer to as vin naturals. Always a special treat when you are able to interact with the proprietor of a restaurant. I would highly suggest a reservation!! 8 Rue des Dames
I cannot mention often enough the amount of most hospitable folks we encountered during our short stay. Among the many was our most gracious tour guide to Champagne, Trong Nguyen. The amount of insight and knowledge he shared with everything Champagne, and the town of Reims was and is priceless. Six of us enjoyed his company for a 9 hour Champagne region tour, and all the details were attended to. On time pickup at our hotel, continental breakfast, a delightful lunch at Au Petit Comptoir in Reims, (www.au-petit-comptoir.fr) a personalized tour and tasting at Jean Claude Mouzon, a chilly yet insightful vineyard tour, a personal tour at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame at Reims or also called The Reims Cathedral, followed up with Hot tea, and a cave tour at Champagne Pommery, Trong continually offered his assistance with photos, and left us with gifts of postcards, wine glasses and a photo video emailed to each of us. Many do not realize that you can be in Champagne in under two hours from Paris, and the folks at
www.parischampagnetour.com are definitely the ones you should allow to handle the details for this special day excursion.
When Chef Joel Roubuchon decided to “give up on the stars” many years back it made headlines world wide. He had decided to scale back and open a more casual dining establishment where all guests ate at the kitchen counter, he called it
L’ Atelier Joel Roubuchon. His interpretation of this style of dining was an instant success in Paris, and when he expanded this concept to NYC a few years back I was one of the first to dine at the newly opened restaurant inside The Four Seasons Hotel. It was a very memorable dining experience, and the inspiration of my BarjMe. Recently L’ Atelier has closed in NYC indefinitely and is rumored to be relocating to the Financial District. Paris however still has the original plus a second location, and we were fortunate to snag a 10:30 pm seat to observe the “Cuisiniers” dance in the kitchen and turn out amazing dishes. There are so many flavor options on the menu and I would suggest splurging on the Chefs Tasting Menu which will give you a great insight of the talent that is Joel Roubuchon. Reservations Required.
L’Atelier de Joel Roubuchon
5 rue de Montalembert
If you have never been to Paris, or it’s been some time since your last visit, I would highly recommend it. The city is clean, the hospitality is sincere and the history is breathtaking.
Feel free to reach out to me should you need anymore suggestions in The City of Light, and or any other places I’ve visited.
Thank you for joining us as we raised a glass and gave a toast to the success of Cuisiniers Celebrations at the East End Market.
We are indeed so grateful to all our clients, friends and family members that joined us for this special occasion on Thursday, November 14th. All guests were transported to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, via the Cuisiniers Winter White Village. As VIP Valet escorted them out of their car, all guests were greeted on the red carpet graciously donated by Orlando Wedding and Party Rentals, while Roozbeh Meghdadi was on hand for photo opportunities.
Guests were into the holiday spirit dressed in Winter White or USA Colors. As the guests traveled through the East End Market to make their way to the elevator for Cuisiniers Celebrations, Brion Price photographed them in front of the specially designed banner by Soapbox Marketing Group. The fabulous floral arrangements and designs were provided by Lee James Floral and Raining Roses Productions, Inc., while the amazing holiday décor was put together with the assistance of Brett Walters at Kirby Rentals. The Courtesy Bar and Winter Park Distilling Company along with wines from South Africa, Spain & Austria by Tim’s Wine Market, Prestige Wine Imports, and Vineyard Brands provided the winter themed beverages. The display of the wonderful charcuterie was a farm table provided by A Chair Affair, Inc. Lee Chepenik with So Cool Events put together a full lighted cubed bar and bar back while THE Agency provided the Sochi Graphics. Guests were in awe by the sturgeon ice carving at the champagne and caviar station by the talented Maku Ice Company. The entire evening was filmed by Global Images in Motion and will be on the Cuisiniers website within the coming weeks.
Chef Jamie McFadden and Team Cuisiniers Olympic themed tasting creations for the evening included:
Russia – Champagne & Caviar
Austria – Foie Palacsintas, Cayenne Sugar, Bacon Marmalade, Rosemary Syrup
USA – Buffalo Chicken Meatballs, Blue Cheese, Scallions and Pickled Celery
France – Yellowfin Tuna Nicoise
Spain – Sardine Escabeche, Sweet Peppers, Golden Raisins and Pistachios
Charcuterie with International Cheeses, Olde Hearth Breads and House Pickles and Vegetables
Pintxos from our friends Henry & Michele Salgado of Txokos Basque Kitchen
Africa – Peppered Lamb Loin, Goat Feta Cheesecake, Vanilla Rum Cherries
Italy – Eggnog Panna Cotta, Gingersnaps, Pumpkin Brittle
Most notable was that this complimentary event was designed not only for celebrating the season but also for helping those in need. All those in attendance truly enjoyed an entertaining evening out and helped many of those less fortunate in the process. The PEAS Foundation is the local charity supported for the grand opening. This is an organization that is special to our business and personal life. Monetary donations or fresh citrus was accepted.
It’s simple – fresh produce, healthy meals, and healthy people!
Cuisiniers Celebrations at the East End Market
3201 Corrine Drive, Suite 205
Orlando, FL 32803
Experience the exceptional chef driven cuisine and warm hospitality that Cuisiniers has to offer. Contact us today to book this beautiful venue for your next celebration.
Keep Learning, Keep Growing!
I am excited to share with you that I recently completed my Level I Court of Master Sommelier certification.
The first of 4 levels, and the beginning of an exciting and educational journey for myself and all that decide to study this challenging field.
The Court of Master Sommeliers
“Som-el-yay” is recognized worldwide as the premiere educational and certifying authority, and education remains the Court’s charter. The first successful Master Sommelier examination was held in the United Kingdom in 1969.
In 1984 a gentlemen by the name of Fred Dame was the first American to pass all three parts of the Master level on his first attempt. After that amazing accomplishment Mr. Dame spearheaded the task of bringing the Court to the United States.
Currently there are only 211
Master Somms in the world. It is the ultimate professional credential for those in the service of wine, spirits and other alcoholic beverages.
Over the next few years I will continue to post updates on my progression, interesting wines that I am tasting, and of course wine travel.
CUISINIERS CATERED CUISINE AND EVENTS has joined more than 100 other restaurants in the James Beard Foundation’s (JBF) Taste America® Local Dish Challenge. Foodies nationwide can show their local pride by participating in this social media-driven competition, which is part of the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America®: “Local Flavor from Coast to Coast,” 10-city tour exploring America’s diverse culinary diversity in Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., September 20 through October 19.
Chef Jamie McFadden has chosen to feature Canaveral Rock Shrimp Tacos (with sweet chili aioli, pickled celery and roasted Zellwood sweet corn) to showcase the best of the local food scene in Orlando from September 1 through October 31, 2013. Cuisiniers Catered Cuisine & Events will donate $1 from each dish sold as part of a menu from catered events to the JBF Taste America® Education Drive, which supports JBF’s educational programs on topics surrounding our country’s food system. These programs include the annual JBF Food Conference, JBF Leadership Awards, and new Chefs Boot Camp for Policy & Change.
For more information on James Beard Foundation’s Taste America®: “Local Flavor from Coast to Coast,” please visit www.jbftastamerica.org
In France your wine glass will continue to be refilled on most occasions. So if during the course of your meal you have reached your limit, leave your glass or glasses full.
While traveling in Brazil, dress to impress! Arriving to a special event or dinner in style is always admired.
Although this should be a common practice world wide, making eye contact with every person you clink glasses with during a toast is an absolute must in Austria.
“Eat While it’s Hot”, stands true for only pasta courses in Italy. In other
words, as soon as your pasta is served to you, you may begin to indulge. However, you must wait for everyone to be served before digging in on all other courses.
Keep your hands to yourself! In France it is expected that while dining you keep both hands visible. Otherwise guests may assume that you are being touchy feely with your dining companions.
Notify all invitees by phone, email or US mail at least 10 days prior to your celebration. Request that they respond with “regrets only”.
Invite an array of friends and family to ensure that many conversations will be struck and possible new friendships made. Introduce those who do not know one another and point out anything they may have in common.
Greet your guests at the door as they arrive, offer them a beverage and or show them where the bar is. I always have Champagne on the bar for my guests to begin there evening with if they choose. Nothing says “Celebration” like bubbles. I always have a few bottles of Schramsberg on hand just in case we have a “Pop Up” party.
Pre select a great playlist for the evening. If using Pandora I suggest
Hotel Costes Radio
Be sure to have snacks out when guests arrive. I love to offer pistachios,
a really great cheese…possibly something made locally along with an interesting salumi or two
If possible keep the bar and food stations in separate areas, this forces your guests to move around and mingle.
Keep um moving! Unless you are serving a formal sit down dinner do not provide a seat for every guest. When people sit they stop mingling and only chat with the person sitting next to them.
Prepare menu items that are easy to eat and do not require a knife. Also, have a 80/20 mix of cold food to hot food. This keeps you from a lot of last minute cooking when you should be mingling with your guests
Right before you open any food stations or serve dinner, and the majority of your guests have arrived I suggest stepping out of your comfort zone and
“Toasting your guests”. One of my favorites goes like this…….
“There are tall ships and small ships and the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and long may they be!”
Of course the best tip I can share is: Hire Cuisiniers and let us handle all the details. Joking aside, it’s great fun to entertain, and anyone can do it well!
Organize yourself and follow these tips…..You’ll soon be hooked and so will your guests. Entertain Deliciously!
This one ingredient sets apart the professional Chef from the amateur. A splash of great vinegar, I suggest Banyuls, adds zest and life to not only salads but also sauces. Have you ever prepared Spain’s version of pesto which is romesco? This simple and delicious bread, Marcona almond and pepper sauce with a splash of Banyuls vinegar takes it over the top.
2. Fresh Lemons
As with vinegar, lemons provide natural acid and sweetness. A squeeze on fish or on a salad is classic! Try a squeeze of lemon in your favorite cocktail sauce recipe or in any aioli recipe you may utilize.
Also the zest of a lemon is a great addition to your homemade whipped cream that you place on fresh seasonal berries.
3. Kosher, Sea and any Artisinal Salt
At your next dinner party blindfold your guests and do a tasting of 3 to 4 different salts, you will be amazed at their reaction. Throw that free-flowing iodized salt in the trash. It’s anti-caking agent Leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. The better the quality of salt the less you will use On your proteins and vegetables! And don’t forget a pinch of delicious salt on your chocolate or Caramel ice cream.
4. Soy Sauce
Its not just an Asian thing. A dash of soy sauce in your favorite barbecue sauce recipe, fresh tomato sauce or even some vinaigrettes adds a layer of richness that to most palettes is unidentifiable. Think of it as building flavor layers in your recipes
5. Vegetable Stock
So easy to prepare and easy to store. This simple homemade ingredient adds that little bit extra to many many dishes. Prepare a 1 gallon recipe of vegetable stock, chill, and then place in ice cube trays and freeze. The next time you are making a batch of black beans, add two cubes of this vegetable stock and taste the difference for yourself. Your grandma’s marinara sauce, add a vegetable stock cube, and to any fresh vegetable that you are steaming or sautéing.