November 18 2010
Day: 1 | 2
My absolute least favourite thing, aside from eating bananas, is getting up early. But yesterday I agreed to be in the kitchen practically as the rooster crowed (OK, not many roosters on New York’s Park Avenue) to cook with my friend Ariane Daguin, owner of D’Artagnan, and one of my most trusted purveyors. We were testing recipes for her website and planning our Fall Game Feast menu. You can’t say no to this woman. She’s easily about a foot taller than I, and, more importantly, just about the most dynamic person in the food world in NYC, which is saying a lot.
We worked on a few quail recipes, hers first, with grapes, foie gras and Armagnac. A note on the Armagnac: Ariane is from south-western France and proudly defends her region every chance she gets. It’s actually not uncommon to see her at events with a musketeer hat on. Who else could pull that off with so much style? I stuffed my quail with foie gras and figs.
Outside the kitchen, I’m just back from a quick jaunt to Miami. For those of you in London, this is meant to make you jealous. Think party town with palm trees, warm breezes and only three hours’ flight from New York. But it wasn’t all fun and games. I was visiting my team at the db Bistro Moderne we’ve just opened in the downtown area. I’d rather be the first chef downtown than the last one in South Beach. We opened our doors to the public for the first time on Wednesday night, following a few solid weeks of pre-opening training. After dinner service, we’d retreat to the bar for late-night sessions on everything in the restaurant that needs fine tuning. A very cool bar and lounge are a must on the Miami scene. If you go, order a Grapefruit Blossom (freshly-squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice, St Germain elderflower liqueur and Plymouth gin). The flavours are just as bold in the kitchen.
My Miami chef Jarrod Verbiak has been with me for more than nine years now, ever since he graduated the Culinary Institute of America. This new post is an incredible platform for him. We worked on a few dishes together. The lamb duo with chorizo, eggplant confit and chickpea panisses is a standout. I’m not saying he won’t be challenged, but he’s off to a strong start. Stop in and see him if you’re headed to Miami for Art Basel. That said, I don’t want this to stir things up with my Bar Boulud London team and have them asking for transfers to South Florida.
Back to the kitchen for tonight’s Game Feast preparations. Full report on that promised for tomorrow.