Image: Laurent Harbulot/Ritz Paris
October 03 2009
When I recall the dishes served at L’Espadon at the Ritz Paris, I think “haute cuisine heaven”, the trappings of a grand institution so well publicised it probably lacks any of the exclusive, undiscovered gems demanded by the Reconnoisseur reader. But a Parisian friend recently introduced me to the work of Ritz chef Didier Steudler, who, unbeknown to anyone other than an elite group of foodies, has been discreetly providing culinary enthusiasts with secrets from the Home of Haute for years.
You’ll find him at the Ritz Escoffier, where he teaches exclusive, four-hour culinary workshops in everything from escallopes au fois gras du canard to organic breads. I’ve been told that Parisians who know about Didier will suggest you try a fine cuisine workshop, but only so that you don’t find out about his pastry one. It’s a master class in Ritz chocolate éclairs, la religieuse, Paris brest cake and macarons au chocolat et figues. His pastry alumni include many a famous name, but, when it comes to the clientele, a Ritz chef never tells. Ask Didier for his special gingerbread recipe, though – if he deems you worthy, that’s something he will part with.