Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pierre Gagnaire…Kitchen Goliath

Pierre Gagnaire: Inventing Cuisine is a short film on the cooking and art of a culinary genius. From his flagship restaurant on 6 Rue Balzac in Paris, Chef Gagnaire shares his fluid, and ever changing approach to cooking. He creates two dishes from a group of ingredients chosen at random from his kitchen. Chef Gagnaire comments on the spontaneous nature of his kitchen, saying that “There are no rules; the goal of the process is not to alter the ingredients.” He readily admits that many times he has no clue whether a dish will work, and that the line between a good dish and a terrible one is razor thin.

I created two dishes inspired by some of Chef Gagnaire’s theories on cuisine. The first is a dish with two different tomato preparations and chicken.

The chef talks about having different textures and consistencies on the same plate. So I took grape tomatoes and cooked them with butter and honey. On another pan, I cooked diced chicken thigh meat that I dusted in flour and spices. I then merged the two to create one unified flavor profile. In a bowl I tossed sliced green tomato with some olive oil and vinegar. To plate…in the center of the plate the cooked chicken and tomato…then top with the raw green tomato…and then a slice of purple heirloom tomato…top with a drop of chervil crème fraiche. When you eat through the dish you get the contrast between the cooked tomato and the raw tomatoes, with the cooked chicken in the party as well.

The second dish is straight vegetarian…just for you Nancy…The dish incorporates cooked shitake mushrooms, with raw tomatoes, and two different potato preparations. The base of the dish is par-boiled Yukon gold potatoes diced and shitake mushrooms diced, sautéed in a pan. Then I layered a succulent, out of this world Yukon gold puree. Hence the two potato preparations. I topped the dish with diced green and purple heirloom tomato tossed in olive oil, red wine vinegar and marjoram.

If you've ever wondered what the inner workings of a fine dining restaurant kitchen looks like, I recommend you watch this film. You can check it out on Netfilx they have it.

That’s it for now…till we exchange a few words again…Peace!


  1. Mmm, thanks for this post Lazarito. Although both your recipes look delicious, I will definitely be imitating your second dish, since it's vegan-friendly. How did you know that I love shitake mushrooms? I swear I could live off the darn things were I stranded on an island like Gilligan.

    Just in case you're ever cooking for vegans, instead of butter, I use Earth Balance Organic Buttery Spread (it's basically vegetable oil that tastes like butter) and it cooks, fries, bakes, spreads the same way as butter, unlike other butter-like substitutes.

    Also, instead of half and half or heavy cream, I make my own cashew cream, and you would never be able to tell that it's not dairy. To make the cashew cream, I soak raw cashews in water for about an hour. After I've drained the soaking water, I put the cashews in the blender (preferably a VitaMix) with water ... the amount of water will depend on how thick you want the cream. Then, you just blend until you have a thick cream (usually 2-3 minutes).

    I love this cream because it gives food, especially soups such as my famous tomato bisque, a creaminess that you don't get from other non-cow's milk alternatives. Also, cashew cream, although a great vessel for fat yumminess, does not have any saturated fat! It's all monounsaturated, so it's good for your heart as well.

    Alright, I have no idea why I went off on that rant, but there it is. I will try your shitake/tomato/potato recipe and let you know how it goes.

  2. The cashew cream idea sounds divine...I will be trying it tonight. Update Manana. I love half-and-half, many and I mean MANY classic Haute Cuisine recipes use heavy cream, however I always substitute half-and-half.


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