I am very honored to be invited by WOM Guide (www.womguide.com) to attend a cooking demonstration (followed by lunch) by visiting Chef Philippe Jourdin who heads the Michelin 2-star Faventia at the Four Seasons Resort Provence at Terre Blanche. The cooking demonstration was hosted by Caprice @ Four Seasons Hong Kong. (Caprice was awarded Michelin 3-star status on 26 Nov 2009 by the Michelin Guide Hong Kong 2010) The lunch that followed the demonstration was wonderful as well and I got to finally meet with the editors behind the WOM Guide and another food blogger Peech who was also invited to this event. The event started early on a Saturday morning when the kitchen @ Caprice was still under preparation for their lunch session.
After a short introduction by Chef Vincent Thierry of Caprice who was acting as translator throughout the demonstration, Chef Philippe Jourdin and his sous-chef Stéphanie Le Quellec quickly started to prepare the dish of Line-Caught Sea Bass Fennel Aroma with Green Asparagus Panache and Olive Oil Emulsion.
Cooking is really an art! Chef Philippe Jourdin went into details about how one can turn a simple ingredient of asparagus into something of such refined delicacies as well as the many steps it takes to perfect it.
For this demonstration dish, the fresh asparagus was to be prepared in three different ways, namely, (1) peeled asparagus, (2) asparagus stew and (3) asparagus rings. Who would imagine asparagus can be prepared in so many ways and in different forms as well!
Now that the asparagus were prepared, it was time for the sea bass. It was pan-fried with the skin facing down for a couple of minutes before placing it in the oven for anther couple of minutes. By this time, I was literally drooling and it was just 11am in the morning !!
Cooking is an art, and so is food plating! A picture is worth a thousand words so I will let pictures below do the job of explaining the creativity and effort involved in the art of food plating.
By the end of the cooking demonstration, the kitchen area was starting to get crowded and so was the dining area.
We were lucky enough to have our lunch at the Chef Table inside the wine cellar / cheese room behind the kitchen.
If I recalled correctly the bread I picked was a variation of Brioche. (I have so much more to learn about bread, cheese and more others, and the thought of learning about them excites me!) In any case, the bread was warm and delicious especially with a bit of butter. Apparently, the two butters provided were of different kinds, one was salted and one was plain and they were distinguished by the tip of the butter pyramid.
(1) Chilled Eggplant with Tomato Sorbet
We started of the meal with this wonderful soup. The tomato sorbet actually went really went with the chilled eggplant to my surprised, an extremely refreshing item to start off the meal! I guess I don't have to mention about the presentation right? It was wow and WOW!
(2) Warm Duck Foie Gras des Landes Lemon Macaroon, Candied Citrus Peel and Badian Anise
Definitely not a common combination to have macaroon with foie gras but never pre-judge anything by its look because the citrus flavors matched the foie gras very well! The contrasting texture was another interesting combination which stimulated my taste bud along with the flavors!
(3) Corvina Fillet Fennel Aroma, Green Asparagus Panache and Olive Oil Emulsion
Instead of sea bass, corvina fillet was used. The corvina fillet was not as flaky as sea bass but equally delicious and cooked just right. But I personally preferred the sea bass. The asparagus
was great as expected, sweet but also carried traces of lemon flavors.
(4) Cheese Platter
I am a big fan of cheese but I have much to learn about it. The cheese was handled by restaurant manager Jeremy and he described each cheese in details of which I am still digesting. In clockwise, it was Race Rove and Olive Oil, Selle sur Cher, Comte 4 Years Old and Fourme d'Ambert. This is as far as I can go in describing the cheese with my limited knowledge, for a more informative review on the cheese (and the wine we had), check out Peech's entry on this. But one thing for sure, I may soon be addicted to cheese from now on!
(5) Tropical Coconut Express Sable Breton and Coriander Jelly, Granny Smith Apple Sorbet
The presentation was again very impressive once again! This dessert was actually very light and the coconut mousse was not too sweet as well. Did I mention I really love its presentation?
(6) Something strawberry
I did not have the chance to take down the name of this dessert because I was in awe when it was being served. Benny who served us tried to explain this strawberry dessert but apparently it was a complicated dessert with over 10 different ingredients and multiple steps involved. I just know that if I weren't dining at Caprice (ie: fine dining establishment), I might attempt to clean out the sauce which was just right in terms of flavors, not too sour and not too sweet. The various layers of the dessert gave it contrasting texture which made you wanting more!
(7) Concentrated Orange Jelly
The flavors of the orange jelly was very intense but delightful and refreshing at the same time. sometimes I find it hard to come up with words to describe the reaction to great flavors, I guess maybe a simple YUM, WOW or YUMMMMMY would do the trick?
- A wonderful experience! Really made me want to give culinary school a try! (or start with more home cooking ...)
- Tropical Coconut Express Sable Breton and Coriander Jelly, Granny Smith Apple Sorbet - a light but refreshing dessert!
- Chilled Eggplant with Tomato Sorbet - presentation, presentation, refreshing and interesting use of tomato sorbet.
- More dishes for demonstration would be great :) (am I being too greedy?)
Related Post: Caprice - A Journey into the land of Cheese!
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