One of the best things about leading my tours and cooking classes is the interesting people I meet from all over the world, from Syosset to Singapore, who I would probably never meet under different circumstances.
Natalie Maclean, her husband Andrew, and their 11 year old son Rian from Ottawa, Canada took one of our cooking classes a few weeks ago. Natalie is a highly accomplished wine sommelier, writer, speaker, judge, and all around wine expert. She has won every conceivable award in her industry including the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award for journalism, the Cordon Bleu award for the World's Best Drink Writer, and the Best Wine Literature Book in the English language at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards for her best selling book Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass. In our emails before the class I asked Natalie if she wanted to select the wine for our lunch and she said I should go ahead and select them. I was freaking out a bit because I know about as much about wine as I do nuclear science, so I desperately called Charlotte to enlist her help.
We were joined by Mary Pat, a special education teacher from Florida, and her husband Jay came just for lunch. We first went to the Saxe Breteuil market near in the 7th arr. to shop for the cheeses, bread, herbs, and salad greens. It was a quiet Thursday morning at the market with many of the local residents still on vacances and we shopped the food stalls checking off our grocery list from Charlotte. We walked back to Charlotte's house passing the Ecole Militaire that had a birds eye view of the Eiffel Tower behind it.
Once we arrived, we had some strong coffee and put on our aprons to get to work. The menu was:
Cherry tomato crumble and salad greens
Sliced duck breast with a fig gastrique- a sweet and sour sauce with caramelized sugar, figs, vinegar, and rosemary
Roasted new potatoes
Goat cheese and Comté cheese
Chocolate fondant cake with Crème Anglaise
Young Rian was not very experienced in the kitchen and Charlotte gave him the task of separating the eggs for the cake, which he bravely took on and passed with flying colors. Mary Pat was the most experienced and helped with many of the other dishes while we watched. Of course Natalie was in charge of opening the wines and we started with a cold, crisp white Sancerre for the tomato crumble and graduated to a Bordeaux Chateau Hostens-Picant, 2004 for the duck. The crumble was still bubbling from the oven as we put it on the plates and it was absolutely delicious. The fruity flavor of the figs was just right for the tender duck and almost everyone had seconds of the rich, sinful chocolate cake with the gooey, soft center. Best of all, Natalie liked our wine choices (what a relief!).
The class ended about 2PM and we were happy, full, and satisfied. Natalie sent Charlotte and I the loveliest note saying how much she enjoyed the class.
Natalie's website is www.nataliemaclean.com
Please click here read an interview of me by the wonderful writer Janet Skeslien Charles, who wrote the best selling book Moonlight in Odessa
New! Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes
I am happy to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes. Come take an ethnic culinary journey with me and chef and caterer Charlotte Puckette, co-author of the bestseller The Ethnic Paris Cookbook (with Olivia Kiang-Snaije). First we will shop at a Paris green-market for the freshest ingredients and then return to Charlotteís professional kitchen near the Eiffel Tower to cook a three-course lunch. After, we will indulge in the delicious feast we prepared along with hand-selected wines.
Cost: 185 euros per person (about $240)
Time: 9:30AM- 2PM (approximately 4 1/2 hours)
Location: We will meet by a metro station close to the market
Class days: Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday
Minimum of 2 students, maximum 6 students.
Click here to sign up for the next class or for more info.
I am pleased as punch to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I will personally be leading. The Eye Prefer Paris Tour includes many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes & food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks, and much more.
Tours cost 195 euros for up to 3 people, and 65 euros for each additional person. I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com