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Gout de France is so good! |

Food and Leisure

Gout de France is so good!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT - Millie and Karla Reyes - The Philippine Star

MILLIE: When I think of France, I think of food. Good food. Fine food. Smooth-as-silk foie gras. Delightful truffles. Delectable cheeses. Buttery croissants. Crusty baguettes. Melt-in-your-mouth Belon oysters. Marrons glacés. Fine wines. Bubbly Champagne. A gastronomic adventure always comes to mind!

French Ambassador Thierry Mathou launched Gout de France on March 21 to celebrate French gastronomy and commemorate 70 years of France-Philippine friendship. French food is the only cuisine in the world officially recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage because of its special cultural significance.

The event paid tribute to Georges Auguste Escoffier, who is considered the father of all chefs. He was also a culinary writer and chefs consider his books bibles because it teaches the basic culinary methods, which are traditionally French.

KARLA: The yearly Gout de France aims to promote French gastronomy all over the world. On March 21 participating restaurants served French food, and the dishes represented a typical French meal, integrating local ingredients. The meals were non-elitist, uncomplicated and made use of the freshest produce.

The launch was held at the Vatel Restaurant of De La Salle St. Benilde’s Hotel.

Since mom and I came early, I was able to hang out in the kitchen, where chef Justin Baradas of Enderun’s Restaurant 101 was plating his dish. It was a duck terrine with citrus spring vegetables and coriander crumble. I asked him to make me a plate so I could take a photo.

MILLIE: For this year’s Gout de France, eight chefs were selected to participate by preparing special, French-inspired recipes. One of the featured chefs, Victor Magsaysay, guest chef of Cav, believes that Paris is a gateway to other cultures and claims fusion is no longer the trend. His menu consisted of a mélange of local ingredients prepared a la facon Francaise.

The only female chef featured was Francesca Mabanta of Corner Tree Cafe, a vegetarian restaurant, who prepared an interesting lentil walnut paté on baguette toasts.

Chef Michael Schauss of Gourmet Bar by Novotel offered a classic rack of lamb with ratatouille Provencal.

La Creperie’s chef Chris Bautista created a tuna tartare on taro chip with a salad of fresh herbs and local sea bass (apahap) cooked in squid ink with lemon vinaigrette and charred leeks.

Chef Kevin Endaya of Lemuria told us he went to France not to cook but to eat and says that French food is evolving. His concoction was a confit of organic, native pork belly on tabbouleh. He also blended in a plate of Bleu d’Auvergne cheese on home-baked walnut toast with Malagos chevre cheese with vine-leaf ash.

French chef Nicolas Cegretin of Mireio combined a tartare of beef with goat cheese, basil on crispy bread, and for dessert, a crème brulée infused with lavender, lemon madeleine and roasted compote Provencal-style.

Enderun’s Restaurant 101’s participating chef Justin Baradas prepared a warm salad of pig trotter and duck liver and oven-roasted duck breast with citrus, spring vegetables.

Chef Jacq Tan’s menu for Apero was chilled ox tongue with tarragon dressing and a Malagos chocolate mousse, and for Duck & Buvette, she created a salad of smoked duck bacon.

KARLA: Vatel’s executive chef Pierre Cornelis prepared a special dinner at French Ambassador Thierry Mathou’s residence on March 21. The special menu at Vatel Restaurant consisted of saffron and leek gratinated oysters, mini vol au vent with escargots, tomato confit and cream of garlic, cauliflower with red beef chips truffle and chives oil, a Salade Aveyronaise with blue cheese and spinach dressing, dry duck fillet, mixed greens, tomato, bacon and walnuts, a strawberry and Grand Marnier sherbet, braised lamb shank with apricot served with mashed sweet potatoes, zucchini fritters and garlic-rosemary jus or a roast mahi-mahi fillet with vegetables and crab bisque served with crablets and boulanger potatoes. For dessert was a ginger and turmeric-infused molten chocolate cake with mango and honey coulis.

Gout de France may be over for another year but if you’d like to check out the restaurants that participated, contact Apero at 532-8064, Cav at 856-1798, Corner Tree Café at 897-0295, Duck & Buvette at 631-0675, Gourmet Bar by Novotel at, La Creperie at 570-1788, Lemuria at 724-5211, Mireio at 797-0707, Restaurant 101 at 856-5000 and Vatel Restaurant Manila at

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