January 17, 2009

Cooking with a Michelin-starred chef

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This afternoon I had a very unique and fun experience, courtesy of my partner at work. A few of us were allowed access to the kitchen at Pierre, where we were entertained by Chef Philippe Orrico, his sous-chef Sebastien and pastry chef Nicolas. The chefs were gonna let us in on a few of their secrets, so that we could learn to create some dishes, Pierre Gagnaire-style.

Philippe showed us how to cook some of the really beautiful endives that he had in stock, with grapefruit juice no less! He then gave us a lecture on the theory behind slow cooking eggs at 65° C for three hours, and here was a guy who could talk for days about nothing but eggs. He also showed us some beautiful black truffles, where he shaved off the exterior and passed the shavings to Nicolas for dessert.

Nicolas prompty chopped up the black truffle shavings and started to whip up some egg whites, yolks and brought some milk to a boil. He would then sprinkle black truffle bits in everything, which would come together to make îles flottante. We sampled some soft meringue along the way, and considered using the egg whites that Nicolas whipped up as the shaving cream for my friend's head... All in all, it was a real blast.

Now I'm really looking forward to dinner tonight, where we'll be tasting the results of what the chefs had prepared with us earlier in the day...

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