A sold out NYC dinner with DC’s top French chefs will be recreated in Alexandria on Feb. 11
By Susan Able
It was Chef Paul Bocuse who leaned over my shoulder, (well in my mind’s eye), as I hosted my first adult dinner parties in a group house on Capitol Hill. Julia Child had ignited my interest in French cuisine, but it was Bocuse’s book, Paul Bocuse in Your Kitchen, that I leaned into for the classics. Bocuse taught me that pulling together a great dinner was as simple as stewing a chicken and vegetables, au gratin potatoes (so easy!) and finishing with a really great cherry clafoutis.
So, I was thrilled to attend “Merci, Chef: A Tribute to Chef Paul Bocuse,” a dinner event on January 22 at the James Beard House in NYC, featuring five of DC’s top French chefs: Sebastien Rondier, Brabo Brasserie; Fabrice Bendano, Le Diplomate; Mark Courseille, Le Café Descartes, Embassy of France; Cedric Maupillier, Convivial Restaurant and Steve Monnier, from Baltimore’s Chez Hugo.
The James Beard House is a townhome in Greenwich Village that currently houses the James Beard Foundation offices and the event space. The house was actually Mr. Beard’s home during his life. As the event unfolded, it was easy to be enthralled not only by the food, but by the lore about Mr. Beard’s life and to dine in what was once his own living room. For chefs who are invited to cook there, they know that the kitchen is a home size kitchen and notoriously small for a group of professional chefs who are attempting to prepare multiple courses for 80 people, but they always make it happen. (I should also mention, that to reach the atrium where the reception is held, you have to go through this kitchen.)
Bocuse, who died one year ago, was considered the father of French nouvelle cuisine. The dinner that evening featured dishes that highlighted Monsieur Bocuse’s signature technique and dishes, most with a Lyonnaise flair, as that was Bocuse’s home.
“Monsieur Bocuse was 20th century’s maestro of French cuisine,” said Chef Sebastien Rondier, a native of Southwest France and the executive chef of Brabo Brasserie in Alexandria, Virginia. “He pushed the boundaries of French cuisine, and foraged a spirit of exploration and greatly impacted my career as a professional chef. I wanted to honor him and gathered four chefs who are my friends. I’m very proud of what we came up with for this evening’s tribute.”
Lucky for you, this entire evening in New York City will be recreated at Brasserie Brabo in Alexandria on February 11. The “Merci, Chef: A Tribute to Chef Paul Bocuse” event will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception to be followed by a six course dinner. Tickets are $150, inclusive of gratuity and wine pairings. Tickets are available online at https://mercibocuse.eventbrite.com. The menu is below, and I can tell you it is spectacular.
And here is the menu for the the reception.
Buttered Rum et Truffe
Smith and Cross Rum, White Truffles, Fresh Butter Covered with Puff Pastry
L’Espirit de L’Orange
Duck-Fat-Washed Grand Marnier, Old Forester 1870, Byrrh Quina Quina, Noilly Pratt Dry
“charcoal” of truffles and chestnuts
Pomme Soufflée Farcie a La Crème De Comte, Reglisse
puffed potato, comte cheese, liquorice powder
lyonnaise sausage, brioche, reduction of morgon wine
Vichyssoise et Caviar d’Aquitaine
potato vichyssoise, aquitaine caviar
As publisher and editor at EdibleDC, Ms. Able manages the magazine, but also gets to explore and write about what makes the food scene in the DMV. #perfectjob