Your mother can teach you all she knows about cooking, but it is not until you’ve learnt at the hands of a professional chef that you can really show off your skills at a dinner party.
Last Tuesday I was invited to a cooking session featuring French Chef Daniel where I learnt a few tricks that I will stash in my recipe book.
The Semiramis InterContinental, in cooperation with Air France, presented for the sixth time “La Cuisine du Chef Daniel Chambon at the Grill, the hotel’s French restaurant, last week.
Chambon, who received a Michelin Star, one of the most recognized and influential culinary ratings in Europe, runs the renowned family restaurant Pont de L’Ouysse, founded in 1886, located in Perigord, France.
After a warm welcome from the hotel’s staff, the session took off with the ever-charismatic chef taking us through his grandfather’s recipe of the “Asparagus and Marinated Salmon Salad.
The chef used local Egyptian ingredients in his cooking. “You should be proud to have such a quality here in Egypt, said Chef Chambon, referring to the asparagus.
The chef was throwing cooking tips here and there for us, a group of women that included working mothers – repeatedly asking if the ingredients are available frozen at grocery stores.
“There is no taste like the taste fresh ingredients gives the meal, he responded.
To help keep the asparagus fresh, the chef advised to put it in cold water (preferably with ice cubes) right after boiling it.
Presentation is also key to a delicious meal, he stressed. When it came to serving the asparagus and the salmon on a plate, Chef Chambon advised us to “put it around the plate in an unorganized way first and make this your pattern. As for the leftover from the salad sauce, he suggested we “put it in a separate plate and serve it along so people could add more if they want. The main course of the meal was the “Jumbo Shrimps on Papillote.
“We chose a recipe with Jumbo Shrimps because we can see that Egyptians love Jumbo Shrimps, said Chef Chambon.
Watching Chef Chambon cooking was like watching a magician do tricks. He makes it look easier than it is with a constant smile on his face.
He concluded the cooking session with one final tip. “The most important thing in the kitchen is to play and provoke people; this is creativity, said Chef Chambon.
When it comes to provoking people, in his restaurant back in France, Chef Chambon got an artist to draw 80 different types of vegetables on the restaurant’s plates. “Every so often there is a couple who are bored and have nothing to say to one another. But then the plates are set and they start comparing which vegetables the other has on his/her plate. It sets the right mood for the meal to be served, he explained.
Chef Chambon’s menu includes culinary innovations that were passed on for four generations, which ensures a gastronomic memory to always treasure.
Following the cooking session, the chef, with his friendly and warm nature, took pictures and signed autographs for everyone. Afterwards, we got to devour the delicious meal Chef Chambon took us through during the cooking session while enjoying a Nile view. On my way out of the restaurant I was handed a red rose, what more can a girl ask for?
Authentic French cuisine is available at the Grill everyday with award winning Chef Eric Heurtel who has more than 20 years of experience. Chef Chambon is scheduled to visit Egypt for a second time this year in October and you can enjoy his innovative and appetizing menu at The Grill.