The school organizes a dinner for all the students in the same semester - pastry and cuisine - at a fine restaurant - we went to Atelier Maitre Albert - "a highly contemporary rotisserie in the heart of old Paris." (that is from the press package). Very swanky, but not as swanky as three-Michelin star Guy Savoy, the main restaurant of this group. I felt like a real person again after being in my kitchen whites for so many hours a day. Everyone looked great, and I even put makeup on for the first time in two weeks. I wasn't sweating profusely - it is cool and rainy - and my hair wasn't slicked back and covered in a hair net. It was not a difficult clean up! Although I did wear heels, and have forgotten how to walk in them, so it was tricky.
Aperitif - Champagne - Quite nice, I had two just to be sure I liked it
Amuse-bouches - cheese gougeres - a little wet inside for my taste
Soupe de courgettes et beignets d'herbes - Zucchini soup with a parsley beignet
Lieu jaunes suit sur sa peau, brocolis en puree - Pollock with skin on broccoli puree
Magret de canard a la broche, peches roties - Duck breast with roasted peaches
Choco-framboises - chocolate dessert with raspberries
Great wines - red and white, bien sur! (of course)
The fish was wonderful, the duck was divine, the peaches superb and the rest was good with the exception of dessert. Thin sponge cake, covered in ganache, with two fresh raspberries and fresh raspberry puree on the side. It was lovely looking, it just didn't overwhelm me, but I no longer have a sweet tooth, so maybe I am the problem here.
Chef W. joined our table, he is the nicest chef with an infectious enthusiasm for patisserie. He won the best patisserie in Paris in 1999, sold the business after 30 years, and in retirement, works at Le Cordon Bleu. He speaks very little English, but we had enough people to piece together he conversation. My favorite part - "Sarah, (please use the french pronunciation of my name), le plus de vin bois, le joli vos yeux." Two possible translations, my french is not good enough to be certain:
The more wine the chef drinks, the prettier my eyes are.
The more wine I drink, the prettier my eyes are.
I did use a heavy hand with the eyeliner (yes, ladies, I pulled off a close approximation of the 'smoky eye'). Not sure which translation is right, but no one really drank that much wine, so I take the whole thing as a very nice compliment! I think he was more amazed that I wasn't sweating my usual buckets.