Last weekend I attended a cooking demo at the Cordon Bleu. I had registered in advance, for free, through my library. An audience of about eighty people watched chef Christian Moine and two culinary students prepare bar de ligne roti aux épices et aux artichauts poivrade (line-caught sea-bass roasted with spices and poivrade artichokes) and fricassee de langoustines aux cèpes, jus à la coriandre (langoustine fricassee with porcini mushrooms, cilantro flavored jus).
We were given a list of the ingredients for the dishes in French and English, which is how a class at the culinary school would operate. With the elements as a reference, students take notes on how to cook the dish. Later in the day, they have the chance to try their hand at it themselves.
At the demo individuals chimed in with questions, from
How long do you put the langoustines in the oven? to
At what point do you add the spices? to
Can you cut the artichoke more slowly so we can see exactly how you do it? Slower! Slower!
In between Moine’s narration, sommelier Arnaud Fatome discussed different kinds of wine. He explained how warmer regions, like Bordeaux, tend to specialize in red wine, while colder ones, like Brittany, are more known for white.
I commented on how good the food was to the woman sitting next to me, and she asked where I was from. Her enthusiastic reaction to my response surprised and delighted me.
Oh, New Jersey is beautiful! she said. The gardens of houses are all connected. In France there are fences separating the gardens. In New Jersey they’re all connected.
Perhaps it is the Garden State after all.
My day of seafood was not over. From the Cordon Bleu, I took the metro to a suburb of Paris to have moules-frites at a friend’s house. She and her boyfriend and I chatted over mounds of mussels and fries followed by homemade chocolate mousse in tiny glass jars.