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A Chat With Gerard Pangaud


DonRocks
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On November 8th, I happened to glance at the new users who just registered for the website. When I saw who had signed up, an uneasy feeling came over me – nevertheless, I wrote hillvalley and asked her to approve the registration without the normal two-step process. I turned off the computer and went to the gym.

That evening, I was forwarded an email from hillvalley. It was a request from this person to write me some things in a letter, to say some things that he wanted to say. I shriveled up in my desk chair: it was signed Gerard Pangaud.

“Tell him yes,” I wrote back to her. “He’s going to call me a snot-nosed little twit and ask me who the hell I am to be saying anything at all about his restaurant.”

On November 9th the letter arrived in my inbox, and I was afraid to even look. For two hours I avoided opening the email, but finally I did – I had to.

Two minutes later I had a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat – this was one of the nicest, most thoughtful, soul-searching letters I had ever read.

I didn’t reply though, because I knew what I needed to do first: at around 6 PM that afternoon, I walked into Gerard’s Place and asked for a table by the window. I wore my glasses, and faced away from the kitchen. Dining anonymously, I put together a little tasting menu and I was thrilled to be able to write Gerard back the next day and honestly rave about his beets four-ways, his sautéed foie gras (nobody, but nobody, can sauté foie gras better than Gerard), and his soufflé.

We’ve been exchanging emails, and Gerard is happily joining us for a chat beginning on Saturday, January 8th. He’s looking forward to discussing all aspects of cooking and dining. And no, there are no microwave ovens at Gerard’s Place.

I’ll post a brief bio of Gerard soon, but please feel free to begin asking questions now – I’m really glad that he’s with us (he already posted once here - funny how that posting takes on new meaning when you know the author, isn't it?).

Welcome in advance, Gerard, and thank you for joining us!

Rocks

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OK, I'll chime in, with a question that's probably naive. Thanks for being here.

I love duck but had not made it at home before because of the incredible amount of fat. I save these treats for restaurant meals, where they are made properly. I finally decided to do it and made the Julia Child (Mastering the Art of French Cooking) Duck a l'Orange this weekend. It came out pretty well, though I thought I'd never get all of the fat drained off. The sauce was magnificent. Do you have any particular tips for preparing duck? I've been told to parboil the duck. Is that good idea?

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Welcome, Chef, and thanks for taking our questions.

It's winter now, and while the odd farmers market shows a few exciting flashes of color, the combination of drab produce and drab weather makes me feel much, much less creative in the kitchen. What sources of inspiration do you draw from to broaden your winter palate (and palette) and offerings?

Edited by jparrott
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Chef Pangaud,

I'm curious about the "beets four-ways" that Don raved about. Can you tell us a bit more about this dish and the best ways to prepare beets? I love beets, but the only thing I ever do with them is roast them and serve as part of a salad.

Thanks,

Chris

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Chef Pangaud:

Thanks for taking the time to "speak" to us.

For quite awhile now, your restaurant has been the "go-to" place for duck confit. I'm curious about how you go about making it. Where do you find the duck fat (or do you use goose fat) for this? Do you reuse it, or do you have to use freshly rendered fat every time? And, is it less or more "messy" to make in a professional kitchen rather than at home?

Barbara

Edited by Barbara
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Chef Pangaud:

Twenty years ago (perhaps longer) in DC, nearly every top-flight restaurant was French. Many, if not most, Americans equated classic French cuisine as fine dining, and everything else was a notch below.

Today, the DC area is much more egalitarian - our best restaurants are Italian, Spanish, American, Japanese, and yes, even French. What's considered the best isn't usually classic preparation, but showing us something new, whether it's a new ingredient, a new method of preparation, a new flavor combination, etc.

How do you personally reconcile the thirst for something new with a classic French presentation, and continue to please the dining public?

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Monsieur Pangaud--Thank you for participating in this forum. A few questions for you:

Was your training a traditional apprenticeship, starting young and doing menial work at first? Or did you attend an academy of cuisine? Please elaborate.

Who would you say influenced your cuisine the most, and in what ways?

Have you ever worked under the direction of a female chef? If so, how was that experence for you? If not, what is your opinion of the rising number of female executive chefs? Can you name a woman chef whose cuisine you admire? What do you like about it? Do you think there is a difference in how male and female chefs approach the creation of a dish?

Kitchens can be extremely stressful environments, and chefs vary greatly in how they handle stress and treat their staffs. The stereotypical chef yells and throws things when he is upset. From what I have read about Thomas Keller, he never raises his voice at all. How would you describe yourself in this regard?

If you knew you only had one more day to live, what would you choose to eat and drink for your very last meal?

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The problem for duck is not really the way you cook it but the quality of it!

In fact duck has a very lean meat, the skin is fat!

you can perfectly cook it and eat only the meat and discard the fat.

I suggest thast you cook the duck in a very hot oven (450O) it sears well and also the fat will drain faster.

you also have the solution to use wild duck(mallard duck) it is more gamy but leaner.

If you need more information I will be please to answer it.

OK, I'll chime in, with a question that's probably naive.  Thanks for being here.

I love duck but had not made it at home before because of the incredible amount of fat.  I save these treats for restaurant meals, where they are made properly.  I finally decided to do it and made the Julia Child (Mastering the Art of French Cooking) Duck a l'Orange this weekend.  It came out pretty well, though I thought I'd never get all of the fat drained off.  The sauce was magnificent.  Do you have any particular tips for preparing duck?  I've been told to parboil the duck.  Is that good idea?

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Welcome, Chef, and thanks for taking our questions. 

It's winter now, and while the odd farmers market shows a few exciting flashes of color, the combination of drab produce and drab weather makes me feel much, much less creative in the kitchen.  What sources of inspiration do you draw from to broaden your winter palate (and palette) and offerings?

Interestingly most of the people think it is more difficult to cook in winter than other seasons.First because it is cold and we have more appetite and also more time ( we don't do as many things outside).

During a recent cooking class I taught, we made an inventory of winter vegetables and we found more than in the summer.

There are a lot of options: Celery root, rutabagas,butternutsquash,salsyfys,endive,black raddish,turnips, in fact most of teh root vegetables.

It is also the season of the king of vegetables: Truffles.

It is also the season of stew,braised dish,soup;It is the seaqson of chocolate and caramel dessert.

In fact i think it is easier to cook in winter than in summer.

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Hello Chef Pangaud:

Thanks for agreeing to do the chat, I see you've started a little early.  Here is an easy question.  Apicius is a cooking school in Florence, Italy.  Why would a French chef choose it for a screen-name?

Obviously not Chef Pangaud, but Apicius was a cook in ancient Rome and created some rather interesting dishes. If I remember correctly he might be the first to have created foie gras.

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Chef Pangaud,

I'm curious about the "beets four-ways" that Don raved about.  Can you tell us a bit more about this dish and the best ways to prepare beets?  I love beets, but the only thing I ever do with them is roast them and serve as part of a salad.

Thanks,

Chris

Dear Chris,

All the preparation are made with roasted beets.

In the case of my plate fourways I have 4 preparations:

A salad with shallots,home made vinegar,olive oil and chives.

A Carpaccio of golden beets with a passion fruit dressing and olive oil ( feel that the passion fruit brings a more settle acidity that the lemon or vinegar)

A mousse which i finish with a hazelnut oil.

A napoleon of slices of beets and a mousse of goat cheese with walnuts.

I make a decoration of beet oil and chive oil.

I am willing to send you all the recipes if you want.

GP

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Interestingly most of the people think it is more difficult to cook in winter than other seasons.First because it is cold and we have more appetite and also more time ( we don't do as many things outside).

During a recent cooking class I taught, we made an inventory of winter vegetables and we found more than in the summer.

There are a lot of options: Celery root, rutabagas,butternutsquash,salsyfys,endive,black raddish,turnips, in fact most of teh root vegetables.

It is also the season of the king of vegetables: Truffles.

It is also the season of stew,braised dish,soup;It is the seaqson of chocolate and caramel dessert.

In fact i think it is easier to cook in winter than in summer.

Interesting point. What are some different ways to approach the roots, particularly complementary flavors? I mean, I love root veg roasted in goose fat, but even that gets old after awhile.

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Chef Pangaud:

Thanks for taking the time to "speak" to us.

For quite awhile now, your restaurant has been the "go-to" place for duck confit.  I'm curious about how you go about making it.  Where do you find the duck fat (or do you use goose fat) for this?  Do you reuse it, or do you have to use freshly rendered fat every time?  And, is it less or more "messy" to make in a professional kitchen rather than at home?

Barbara

Dear Barbara,

Yes it is messy to make duck confit but it is worth making it!

Like a lot of food preparation (smoked salmon,prosciutto) it was first a way to preserve meat before the invention of the refrigeration.

We render our fat from cleaning the duck breast of legs and we can use it several time.

First you need to use mullard duck ( the one producing the Foie Gras) and you put rock salt on both side of the legs, some cracked pepper, few crashed garlic cloves and few sprigs of thyme.

You keep it 24 hours in the fridge.

Then you clean each leg with a paper towel.

you melt the fat and put the legs in it and put in an oven at 250-300 for several hours (between3 and 4) when the legs are tender put in a terrine and cover with the fat.

it id better if you wait one week and if it is very well covered you can keep your legs for several months.

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Chef Pangaud:

Twenty years ago (perhaps longer) in DC, nearly every top-flight restaurant was French. Many, if not most, Americans equated classic French cuisine as fine dining, and everything else was a notch below.

Today, the DC area is much more egalitarian - our best restaurants are Italian, Spanish, American, Japanese, and yes, even French. What's considered the best isn't usually classic preparation, but showing us something new, whether it's a new ingredient, a new method of preparation, a new flavor combination, etc.

How do you personally reconcile the thirst for something new with a classic French presentation, and continue to please the dining public?

I really enjoy your question and it si one of my favorite subject!!

When we speak about globalisation of the world it also affects food!

First in France 200 years ago you had a regional cooking, the food was very diiferent from Alsace to Provence or from Brittany to basque country with the development of transportation we saw the creation of a national french cooking.

Now the best french chef in america is american (Thomas Keller)

Michel Richard who is french is opening an american brasserie in Dc this year.

When I taste the food of Thomas Keller,Charlie Trotter or David Bouley I sincerely think that it si french food.

French food using american ingredients ( like I do)

It is true that the food critics and a part of the public is more interested by what is new more than what is good; and not only about food.

El Bulli in Spain is praised mostly by food critics less by regualr customers.

It is always dangerous to bring too much science to an art.

I believe more in execution than anything else anfd before Picasso made his master pieces he learnt to be one of the best drawer of all time.

I cook lobster with ginger since 25 years, serve a coffee sauce with duck since 20 years, finish my venaison sauce with chocolate,serve avocados sauce with a chocolate sauce and people say he cooks "classic french"!!!!

For a while I voluntarily kept a more conservative menu, I started in the last few months to be more innovative, it is more fun for me and I also think now there are more people interested in DC.

You have to know that the two most poular dishes on saturday night are green sald and salmon!!!

To be honest I did not see anything new in DC since1991 ( date I arrived here);

What we have is a bigger choice of different cooking.

French cooking is separate in two the home cooking (bourgeoise,bistrot) and gastronomique.

The biggest problem of french gastronomique cooking is the fact that it is very expensive:you need skilled employee ( and a lot of them)and expensive ingredients.

It is more and more supported by hotels (Citronnelle,City Zen,Maestro which is italian with afrench accent).

I am able to do what I do because it is small and I work myself in the kitchen, I am more of a cooking chef than an executive chef.

We will still have french gastronimique restaurant in the future but less and more expensive ( they are alredy very expensive).

Like my mentor Jean Troisgros used to say there is only two kind of cooking:

The good one and the bad one.

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Chef,

I did not know that you had worked under Troisgros. Quite a coincidence that I am currently reading "The Perfectionist", the biography of Bernard Loiseau (who also trained under the Troisgros brothers). Did you ever have the chance to meet Loiseau? Have you read the book?

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[Chef,

I just wanted to say thank you for your thoughtful answers so far. This is truly engaging and very interesting reading (and a nice surprise that you chimed in ahead of schedule!)

We've also had four people register in the past 45 minutes - I don't think that's coincidence.]

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Monsieur Pangaud--Thank you for participating in this forum. A few questions for you:

Was your training a traditional apprenticeship, starting young and doing menial work at first? Or did you attend an academy of cuisine? Please elaborate.

Who would you say influenced your cuisine the most, and in what ways?

Have you ever worked under the direction of a female chef? If so, how was that experence for you? If not, what is your opinion of the rising number of female executive chefs? Can you name a woman chef whose cuisine you admire? What do you like about it? Do you think there is a difference in how male and female chefs approach the creation of a dish?

Kitchens can be extremely stressful environments, and chefs vary greatly in how they handle stress and treat their staffs. The stereotypical chef yells and throws things when he is upset. From what I have read about Thomas Keller, he never raises his voice at all. How would you describe yourself in this regard?

If you knew you only had one more day to live, what would you choose to eat and drink for your very last meal?

I went to the Ecole Hoteliere of paris to start learning cooking; I stayed there for 3 years and I had to do 3 externship then I went to work fro several famous chef.

I was influenced by my mother who was a very good cook (home) and by the brothers Troisgros in Roanne.

I learnt from them to respect the ingredients and to even make it better, it probably why I have a hard time with the cooking of El Bulli in Spain which in some case transform the ingredients.

I try simplify my cooking it does mean it is simple, it is like a painter who takes the uneccesary things from a master piece.

They taught me the quality of execution and to be simple you have to be flawless.

I sometimes say that simplicity is the ultimate for of sophistication.

I never work for a female chef because in my time of apprenticeship there was almost none.

I appreciate a lot women in the kitchen and I had women as sous-chef at gerard's Place.

I think women are more precise and more organised than men.

I think women are as capable than men to be chef and the main reason there was not much was mostly a social reason when women were staying home raising kids.

Most of the work happens in the evening and it is diificult for a woman to raise a family if she has to work 5 or 6 nights a week.

I amire Alice Waters as a chef but also for her influence on american cooking, I had a great diinner at bayona with chef Susan Spicer; in a more casual setting Ann Cashion is a very good chef.The chef at Enottecca Pinchiorri the 3 star Michelin outside of Florence is a woman.

Yelling in the kitchen:

There is two Gerard Pangaud; I am a recovering alcoholic sober since 9 years and the time I was drinking I was not a very nice man in the kitchen.

I am sorry and and I have a lot of regret about it.

Since I am sober I became not quite a pussy cat but a much nicer person.

I am going to make an a comparaison:

I have a lot of friends who are very nice but when they start to drive they become aggressive and verbally abusive; I would compare cooking in a professional kitchen to drive.

Did I answer all your questions?

I will just add one thing:

One of the sexiest thing for me is a woman cooking for me.

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Hello Chef Pangaud:

Thanks for agreeing to do the chat, I see you've started a little early.  Here is an easy question.  Apicius is a cooking school in Florence, Italy.  Why would a French chef choose it for a screen-name?

Apicius wrote the first two cookbooks 100 years BC; Some of his recipes were modernized by modern french chef like Alain Senderens.

He had a very good sense of using spices.

One of his two books was exclusively about sauces.

I chose the name just because i like it and it is relatied to food.

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Interesting point.  What are some different ways to approach the roots, particularly complementary flavors?  I mean, I love root veg roasted in goose fat, but even that gets old after awhile.

Try celery root with hazelnut oil, Beet with walnut oil, cook butternutsquah or sweet potatoes with citrus,turnips with butter.

There are endless possibilities.

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You hinted at this back in November. At the Ray's dinner, I started a false rumor that the next dinner is possibly at Gerard's. Or is it false? :)

Maybe we can organize a dinner an early sunday evening when my restaruant is closed!!!

Gerard Pangaud

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Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, Chef.

Where do you do on your days off?  Do you like to cook at home or do you prefer to go out?  And what are some of your favorite places to dine?

Dear Heather,

Cooking is my passion and sometimes I like to invite a group of friends for dinner during my day off.

I also like to cook for myself.

I like to stay in bed and read the paper or a good book!

I paint and draw for my pleasure, I take classes at the Corcoran college of art.

I play golf not as much as I used to do.

I love music and enjoy going to a concert.

I love hiking or biking and I keep myself in very good shape; I work out almost every day.

I like to go to NY for a week-end.

I also work on my book talking about taste and everything which influences your taste.

It is diificult to talk about other restaurant but there are places I like .There are two restaurants I think are underated in Dc : Corduroy and la Taberna della Allaberdero.

If I want a very special dinner I go to Citronelle.

I like the restaurant Matisse because i think it is the most beautiful restaurant in DC.

2941 is the restaurant of my sous-chef of 4 years Jonathan Krinn.

I like a pizza at Pizza Paradiso; I like Palena Frank Ruta loves his job and shows it.

I like Bistrot d'Oc for a simple french bistrot cooking.

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Chef,

I did not know that you had worked under Troisgros. Quite a coincidence that I am currently reading "The Perfectionist", the biography of Bernard Loiseau (who also trained under the Troisgros brothers). Did you ever have the chance to meet Loiseau? Have you read the book?

When I was working at Troisgros; Bernard Loiseau,Guy Savoy and me were working together.

Later we were at the same time chef of respectively La barriere Pocquelin,La barriere de Clichy and la barriere vaugirard.

I knew very well bernard Loiseau and my parents had a house 30 miles from his restaurant.

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Chef,

You mentioned that caramel is a favorite for winter dessert. Would you share with us some ideas on your favorite preparations? Do you see this flavor paired perhaps with passion fruit?

Also, are oeufs a la neige or floating island's as I know them too "old school" to have any relevance on today's table. I have a real soft spot for this dessert and will serve them no matter what, but I need to know if I should blush when I do it.

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When I was working at Troisgros; Bernard Loiseau,Guy Savoy and me were working together.

Later we were at the same time chef of respectively La barriere Pocquelin,La barriere de Clichy and la barriere vaugirard.

I knew very well bernard Loiseau and my parents had a house 30 miles from his restaurant.

Quite a few of us have read or are reading "The Perfectionist." By the way, there is a picture in the book of the Troisgros brothers with Loiseau, Savoy and "unidentified apprentices." Could one of them be YOU?

Further, how do feel about seeking Michelin stars? Of course, this book is all about Bernard Loiseau's quest for three of them. However, there is mention of several French chefs who went through the same training and decided not to go that route. Some stayed in France, of course, but several--like you--moved to the US where Michelin stars aren't really relevant.

I suppose I'm really asking what brought you to DC? We are glad to have you here--make no mistake about that--but it seems kind of counter-intuitive to me.

Congratulations on your sobriety and thanks for sharing that side of you with us.

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Further, how do feel about seeking Michelin stars?  Of course, this book is all about Bernard Loiseau's quest for three of them.  However, there is mention of several French chefs who went through the same training and decided not to go that route.  Some stayed in France, of course, but several--like you--moved to the US where Michelin stars aren't really relevant.

[Note: Gerard is (or recently was) the only chef working in the United States who earned two Michelin stars in France. Also, he is (or recently was) the youngest chef in the history of France to earn the second star. Click here for more information - I know he's going to dismiss the significance of this, but these are major-league credentials.]

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Chef,

You mentioned that caramel is a favorite for winter dessert. Would you share with us some ideas on your favorite preparations?  Do you see this flavor paired perhaps with passion fruit?

Also, are oeufs a la neige or floating island's as I know them too "old school" to have any relevance on today's table.  I have a real soft spot for this dessert and will serve them no matter what, but I need to know if I should blush when I do it.

Passion fruuit and caramel is a GREAT Combination!

you can even do a dry caramel and then deglaze with passion fruit juice.

I like to roast Pineapple with a caramel of spices (vanilla,clove,cinammon,star anis)You need patience it roast for at least 2 1/2 hour and you need to bathe every 10mns.

I love floating island and my mother used to do it a lot. I love it and I still do it sometimes for the lunch menu or for myself.

Don't be shy but proud of serving it.

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[Note:  Gerard is (or recently was) the only chef working in the United States who earned two Michelin stars in France.  Also, he is (or recently was) the youngest chef in the history of France to earn the second star.  Click here for more information - I know he's going to dismiss the significance of this, but these are major-league credentials.]

There was a time when I was cooking for glory ( Michelin stars) now I cook by pleasure and love; I built a loyal following and please people is very important for me.

I also think the Michelin guide is very predictable (especially in New York) A restaurant like Gramercy Tavern deserved much more than a one star.

It is the great example of an excellent modern restaurant.

Of course I am happy I got two stars in the past but I am also happy to have found a balanced life in DC.

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Quite a few of us have read or are reading "The Perfectionist."  By the way, there is a picture in the book of the Troisgros brothers with Loiseau, Savoy and "unidentified apprentices."  Could one of them be YOU?

Further, how do feel about seeking Michelin stars?  Of course, this book is all about Bernard Loiseau's quest for three of them.  However, there is mention of several French chefs who went through the same training and decided not to go that route.  Some stayed in France, of course, but several--like you--moved to the US where Michelin stars aren't really relevant.

I suppose I'm really asking what brought you to DC?  We are glad to have you here--make no mistake about that--but it seems kind of counter-intuitive to me.

Congratulations on your sobriety and thanks for sharing that side of you with us.

I came to the USA to open a restaurant with Jo Baum but the life of New york was not for me.

I wanted to stay in the USA and Washington was a good compromise.

At that time jean-louis was here and he gave mme good informations.

A chef now cannot open a restaurant and get 3 stars.

Most of the 3 stars in France are either in hotel (le cinq,Ducasse) or are second or third generation of restaurateur (Troisgros, Blanc,Bocuse,Meneau etc,,,)

To cook well I need to be happy and I am happy in Washington.

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Dear Heather,

Cooking is my passion and sometimes I like to invite  a group of friends for dinner during my day off.

So, what do you like to cook at home? Do you experiment with other cuisines at home?

I paint and draw for my pleasure, I take classes at the Corcoran college of art.

I love music and enjoy going to a concert.

Thanks, Chef. You sound like a man of many interests. A few more questions if you will indulge me...

Who are your favorite artists and would you say that their art affects your cooking?

What kind of music do you prefer? Do you like to have music playing in the kitchen?

Are many professional chefs interested in the fine or performing arts, or is it unusual?

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Chef Pangaud,

On this board we have recently discussed such topics as braising (short ribs, pork belly, shoulder...) and roasting (chicken, standing rib roasts, ...). There are many different opinions on what works the best, ranging from high temp first then low temp to low temp for a long time to everything in between.

What suggestions can you give us for bettering our braises and roasts?

Do you brine your birds before roasting?

I am also very interested in attending a class. What would a dr.com class entail? How many of us could attend?

Thank you for sharing with us!

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There was a time when I was cooking for glory ( Michelin stars) now I cook by pleasure and love; I built a loyal following and please people is very important for me.

Of course I am happy I got two stars in the past but I am also happy to have found a balanced life in DC.

Heh-heh. I think you've made yourself some more fans with THIS. :):o
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Bienvenue Monsieur Pangaud!

When you first started cooking in the US, what was your perception of the American Palate (taste, sophistication) versus the French at the time? And do you think that level of sophistication or appreciation has improved, stayed the same, become more demanding? (The Americans that is.) Do you get a chance to get back very often and visit your former cooking companians restaurants and would you change your course in life?

Merci Bien pour votre réponse!

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Chef;

What's the best dish you've ever had, and if not from your hand, what's the best dish you've created?

Do you see a danger in the avant-garde, that young chefs learn to make red wine air before fond de veau?

Thanks for your time, I look forward to seeing you soon.

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Chef Pangaud,

I am also very interested in attending a class.  What would a dr.com class entail?  How many of us could attend?

Thank you for sharing with us!

Don and I will work with Chef Pangaud to take advantage of his generous offer of a dinner and/or class. Stay tuned for details!

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I paint and draw for my pleasure, I take classes at the Corcoran college of art.

I wonder if you have seen the exhibition currently at the National Gallery of paintings by the seventeenth century Dutch master Pieter Claesz? His most important subject is food and the pleasures of the table. The oysters are glistening with brine, the fruits are succulent, the wine goblets sparkle and glow, and you can almost smell the herring and the cheese. The skill of this man absolutely takes your breath away and he obviously had a passion for food. Every food lover who is interested in art will appreciate this show.

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Chef, thank you very much for taking the time to visit. Your answers are very witty and make lots of sense!

Here is my question, I threw it out before and it still stands in my mind. Like you, I grew up in Europe, and I'm sure you know that putting down American cooking, restaurants and cuisine is as customary among Europeans as wearing black on a Saturday night :) Every time I go back to visit, I have to hear about how Americans don't understand food, eat and cook lousy, and on and on. But whenever I want to defend the dining scene and food here, which I think is wonderful, creative, diverse and improving every single day, I get stumped for words.

"So what IS your so-called American cuisine?", my fashionable friends across the pond will inquire, squinting their eyes at me, as if I was a retarded child to be pitied. "Are you telling me you are calling a hamburger "food"? That's not food. What do you people eat there? Steaks? Some gastronomie. "

So I wonder how you would a) describe the concept of American cuisine, and :o explain how the U.S. dining scene stacks up to European standards? How is it different? How is it the same? Just would really, really love to hear your perspective as a European working in the U.S.

Thank you! I cannot wait to eat at your restaurant.

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Chef,

One of the many things that made the Troigros brothers exceptional was that they were three star chefs that cooked themselves with a relatively tiny brigade of cooks as opposed to acting as expeditors for a large brigade of cooks.

What does the structure of your kitchen staff look like?

What are your thoughts on the chef as cook v. chef as expeditor?

Edited by JPW
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So, what do you like to cook at home?  Do you experiment with other cuisines at home?

Thanks, Chef.  You sound like a man of many interests. A few more questions if you will indulge me...

Who are your favorite artists and would you say that their art affects your cooking?

What kind of music do you prefer?  Do you like to have music playing in the kitchen?

Are many professional chefs interested in the fine or performing arts, or is it unusual?

Dear Heather,

At home I just enjoy myself, I keep the experiments for work.

I have a weakness for Moroccan cooking; I also love vietnamese cooking which the only natural "fusion" cooking (french and asian)

I admire Picasso for his immense talent;he could draw,paint,sculpt with an equal talent.There is a painter I really like her name is Joan Mitchell.

I am moved by teh painting of Claude Monet and I grew up not far from teh Marmottant museum in Paris.

I love opera and classical music but I enjoy listening to U2 or miles davies as well.

I would say for music what I said about food; teh style is not important but teh quality is.

To my knowledge in DC in Dc only Carol Greenwood is involved in art.She is a veery talented sculptor and pottery artist.

Michel Richard went to Les beaux Arts in Paris and is very talented in drawing, it also shows in his cooking.

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Chef Pangaud,

On this board we have recently discussed such topics as braising (short ribs, pork belly, shoulder...) and roasting (chicken, standing rib roasts, ...).  There are many different opinions on what works the best, ranging from high temp first then low temp to low temp for a long time to everything in between.

What suggestions can you give us for bettering our braises and roasts?

Do you brine your birds before roasting?

I am also very interested in attending a class.  What would a dr.com class entail?  How many of us could attend?

Thank you for sharing with us!

Dear Mike,

I think it is very importatn to sear a meat before cooking it!

You can sear it on top of the stove in a pan, in a boiling liquid or in avery hot oven.

Why it is SO IMPORTANT? To keep the blood and the proteins inside the meat.

I give you an example: what is teh difference in the recipe of a pot au feu and a beef consomme?

It is exactly the same except that you put the meat in boiling water for the pot au feu ( to keep the proteins inside the meat) and for the consomme you cover with cold water so the proteins will go into the liquid.

After it is seared I am for a slow and long cooking.A longer ttime of cooking break more fibers and make the meat more tender.

A pork roast is better cooked at 300o than 450o.

I have an exception: birds, birds need a very hot oven for the crispness of their skin.

one of my former chef used to say: " I want to hear the chicken singing in the oven"

A cooking class? I would love to do it, to meet people I am talking to.

I think 15-18 people is fine if we have more candidate we can do two.

Maybe Don can organize that?

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Bienvenue Monsieur Pangaud!

When you first started cooking in the US, what was your perception of the American Palate (taste, sophistication) versus the French at the time? And do you think that level of sophistication or appreciation has improved, stayed the same, become more demanding? (The Americans that is.) Do you get a chance to get back very often and visit your former cooking companians restaurants and would you change your course in life?

Merci Bien pour votre réponse!

When I first visited the USA in 1977 in New York I needed to order shallots 2 days in advance to cook a dinner!!!

So in less than 30 years we went a long way!!!!

If you take "foodies" people interested in food who cooks and patronizes restaurant I think american people are as sophisticated than french.

In many case they are more open minded and know more about world food than french who know only about french food.

A sign: Do you know the name of a very good restaurant in France which is not french!!! I don't!!!

It is interesting to see that restaurant like Nobu in paris were not successful.

Where there is abigger difference it is more in the regular people; in France they still eat well and don't eat much fast food.

you also have access to more quality ingredients.

Whole food,balducci or dean and deluca are still only for a group of privileged people.

it is also a fact that the general us public is addicted to sugar.

The consumption of sugar per capita is 4 times more important in the US that in France.

With the apparition of farmer's market, cooking class,a generation of talented american chef an increasing number of good restaurant we are on our way to become a leading nation in food.

I would say by 2020 we will become a gastronomique country.

Like Alice Waters said something has to be done at the level of school which served terrible and unhealthy food.

Food is an education and it starts at school and one of the most basic fo the human action is ignored in teaching.

I go to france twice a year and I love going to see my friends; there are also things I don't like there and I am perfectly happy here.

Maybe it is time for me to use my knowledge and love for food to make things better?

I have the chance to have two cultures and it helps me understanding things better.

I became american 10 years ago, I am proud of it and I am working in building a better american food culture.I am not here to complain about the food in america and repeat all day loong how better it is in France!!!

When two chefs like Ducasse and Robuchon are opening restaurant in the USA it means that there is a sophisticated public here.

If you are curious you will also see that in a book written 15 years ago Joel Robuchon is using ketchup! I use ketchup in some sauce!!!!

The only thing I wish american public behave better is to honor reservations they make in restaurant.It is a problem and frustrating for us.

It is a way to show that you respect a restaurant.

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The only thing I wish american public behave better is to honor reservations they make in restaurant.It is a problem and frustrating for us.

It is a way to show that you respect a restaurant.

You've got a lot of heads nodding in agreement with this. Is this not a problem in France?
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Chef;

What's the best dish you've ever had, and if not from your hand, what's the best dish you've created?

Do you see a danger in the avant-garde, that young chefs learn to make red wine air before fond de veau?

Thanks for your time, I look forward to seeing you soon.

The best dish I ever had?

Sometimes it is related to a very emotional event.

I waited two years before being hired by Troisgros and my father drove ne there and we had dinner.

We hate a hare saddle with a peppercorn sauce!! it was so well balanced, it is like I still have the taste in my mouth.

My best dish:

Scallops with parsley mousse, it looks great, seems sophisticated but it is only 3 ingredients:Scallops,butter and parsley!!!! ( salt,pepper and lemon juice)

I love the purity of this dish.

My cooking is based on the balance of the four major taste which interfere at different part of your mouth.

Here I use the sweetness of the scallops,the bitterness of the parsley,Saltness of the salt and acidity of the lemon juice.

Provocation is part of every art and cooking is not different of others.

We have a chef in town ( who is very talented) amnd I think is making the mistake to "clone" the food of El Bulli; he should find his own way.

There is one thing I am proud is the fact that I have a "style" of cooking like Michel Richard has one and Jean-louis before.It is very difficult to have your own style.

Young chefs don't want to spend the time to learn the basic and it is why so many are inconsistent.

I have great hope with jonathan Krynn, he spend 4 years with me and he learnt all the basic; he has the talent to be the best chef in DC.

Last year I cook a Pheasant with green tea,orange juice,walnuts and carrots.

it seems very new? no it is the a recipe you find in Escoffier book.

So learn the technique and tehn do what you want.

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I wonder if you have seen the exhibition currently at the National Gallery of paintings by the seventeenth century Dutch master Pieter Claesz? His most important subject is food and the pleasures of the table. The oysters are glistening with brine, the fruits are succulent, the wine goblets sparkle and glow, and you can almost smell the herring and the cheese. The skill of this man absolutely takes your breath away and he obviously had a passion for food. Every food lover who is interested in art will appreciate this show.

Yes I did and i really enjoyed it!

Thank you for mentionning it!

GP

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Chef, thank you very much for taking the time to visit. Your answers are very witty and make lots of sense!

Here is my question, I threw it out before and it still stands in my mind.  Like you, I grew up in Europe, and I'm sure you know that putting down American cooking, restaurants and cuisine is as customary among Europeans as wearing black on a Saturday night :) Every time I go back to visit, I have to hear about how Americans don't understand food, eat and cook lousy, and on and on.  But whenever I want to defend the dining scene and food here, which I think is wonderful, creative, diverse and improving every single day, I get stumped for words.

"So what IS your so-called American cuisine?", my fashionable friends across the pond will inquire, squinting their eyes at me, as if I was a retarded child to be pitied.  "Are you telling me you are calling a hamburger "food"? That's not food. What do you people eat there? Steaks? Some gastronomie. "

So I wonder how you would a) describe the concept of American cuisine, and :o explain how the U.S. dining scene stacks up to European standards? How is it different? How is it the same? Just would really, really love to hear your perspective as a European working in the U.S. 

Thank you! I cannot wait to eat at your restaurant.

A lot of European are ignorant and judge America through Hamburger!

It is true that most hamburgers we can buy are not very good but it could be also very good! ( I make one and I chnge the bread with head of porcini)

Tell your french friend that "croque-monsieur" is exactly like a hamburger: two pieces of bread with meat (ham) and chesse in the middle.

Ask them about softshell crab!!!! corn! tomatoes ( they are better here)

Thomas jefferson was a great american and a gourmet!!!

We are a new country and there was other priority before making this nation a "food" nation now that we have money,knowledge and interest

we are going to build our own identity.

Befoe we had exclusively great european chefs,now we have great american chef cooking french (Keller,Trotter) the next step is great american chefs cooking with american ingredients and revisiting what was done in the past!

Remember fashion; 30 years ago it was a french italian monopoly, now we have Donna Karan,Calvin Klein,Ralph lauren,Isaac Mizhrai.

I used to be avery good golfer and I used to say:

It is not because you are french that you cook well and it is not because you are american that you play well.

We live in a world where there is a lot of information and we have a lot of people of passion in this country to build a real "school' of american cooking.

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