The Chef of the Century – Part Two
L’atelier means workshop and each morsel at M. Robuchon’s is a masterful creation. We couldn’t resist immortalizing each in pictures, Luc and I taking turns from different angles. Luc started with Iberico ham, thinly sliced from the leg we could see from across the counter. For me, one of the day’s specials: carpaccio of cabillaud (cod) with lime, chili flakes and chopped ciboulette (tender and sweet young chives without the bitterness of the American garden variety). Mathilde had two of her favorites: a mozzarella, tomato and eggplant Napoleon and brandade de cabillaud, cod mashed with potatoes accompanied with tomato toast.
Executive Chef Philippe Braun makes the rounds, or the squares, greeting customers over the straight-lined counters. Seeing Luc there savoring these dishes, taking pictures, he pauses and inquires as to how we are enjoying the food. We fawn, of course. Mention of the blog truly delights Chef Braun and prompts him to extend an invitation for Luc to visit the kitchen at the end of the meal.
In the meantime, we inquire about the kitchen minion who has been whisking non-stop for much of our meal. He’s making puree. “Of what,” I asked naively, as any native would know that ‘puree’ on its own can only mean potatoes. Almost instantaneously, three red enameled Le Creusets vessels materialize. One adorable petit pot of puree for each of us (I bought a set later) eliciting moans of the When Harry Met Sally variety.
Chef Braun also treated us to treats – a tasting plate of desserts – and, for Luc, a crisp cellophane bag of house-made caramels. As we were about to leave, Chef Braun made good on his offer to give Luc a tour of the kitchen. With my SLR around his neck to record his peek behind the culinary curtain, our little foodie climbs Mount Olympus.
Luc’s Look at L’Atelier
Luc on L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon: As soon as I got into the kitchen, I felt the heat, but with all the distractions it could have just as well have been winter. The smell was as if you were in kitchen heaven. There was a gigantic square grill with about seven chefs preparing one dish each. The ham was cut so precise it was as if they used a machine, but it was done by hand.
The chefs were very nice and were great at showing me what they were doing to prepare a dish. It was cabillaud, one of my favorite fish. Fresh from the grill, they showed me what seasoning they add, how cut it and how to arrange it on the plate.
Everything in the restaurant was truly a masterpiece. It is an amazing experience for a foodie.
5 Rue de Montalembert (corner of Rue du Bac)
Paris 7th arrondissement
Telephone: + (33) 188.8.131.52.56