Sugared & Spiced

pâtissière in paris, now shanghai

[Paris] La Belle Assiette

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A while back I was invited to a very interesting dinner hosted by La Belle Assiette, a website that allows customers to “shop” for private chefs to cook at the comfort of one’s own home. Before we get into any details, I need to show you the magnificent views from dinner, which took place in a private apartment in the 7th arrondissement. Unobstructed views of Eiffel Tower and the Invalids on a perfect Parisian early summer day…life, sometimes you just can’t complain.

So, a bit on La Belle Assiette. The basic concept is that LBA identifies independent chefs (i.e. not part of a restaurant at the moment) who offers their service to cook for you at home. These can be chefs who previously worked in restaurants, or young talents who recently graduated from culinary schools – all their profiles are up on the website for you to choose. The chef of the dinner I attended was Fabrice Bloch, who, as in the case for all chefs on LBA, took care of everything from shopping for ingredients, cooking, serving, to cleaning up. Sounds good? Sounds very good.

Amuse bouche in the making.

We gathered at the dinner table and started with a few nice bottles. Drinks, by the way, do not come with the chef, so BYOB.

…and all while having this as the backdrop.

Dinner commenced with the amuse-bouche: roasted wild asparagus with pesto, and ceviche of sea bream and conch with passion fruit. I last had wild asparagus at Passage 53, and it was great to see this lesser-known ingredient again on the dinner table. The flavor is quite distinct from cultivated asparagus, and was a refreshing flavor to start with.

Entrée: soft-cooked egg with peas and chervil sauce, Colonnata bacon, fresh peas, and bacon bits. It was a dish of harmonious flavors and varied textures – we scooped up the very last bit of what was leftover from the bread basket.

Main course: rack of baby lamb lacquered with sansho pepper, carrot mousseline,  and spinach with sesame. The rack of lamb was incredibly tender, though I couldn’t really taste the sansho pepper (a Japanese spice with a bit of lemon flavor). Fabrice also made some balsamic vinegar pearls to go with the carrot mousseline, which added a bit of molecular touch to the dish. For those who are interested in experimenting, here’s a recipe on how to make balsamic vinegar pearls.

Dessert: double vanilla cheesecake paired with a minestrone of rhubarb, strawberries, and ginger. The cheesecake was topped with a thick layer of vanilla ganache montée, which would’ve been way too rich if not balanced by the acidic and refreshing minestrone.

A most wonderful evening, thanks to La Belle Assiette. If you take a look at their website, you’ll notice that their private chefs can also teach cooking classes, cater for weddings and parties, and host corporate events. Browse around and explore! You might just discover what you will be doing this upcoming weekend…

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Written by sugarednspiced

August 10th, 2013 at 5:36 pm