Splitting the Strawberry and other Great Dishes

News has been/is swamped by misfit dictators whom seem intent in remodeling themselves on myself, by tempestuous ladies called Emily & Irene as well as some of the problems one encounters when trying to get dependable room service in New York’s hotels.

Who, I ask, can compete with all that ? Clutch a glass, stay motionless & indoors. Shake your head occasionally. Perhaps invest your last €’s in reserve supply’s of wines for pure – & instant – pleasure.

I think, Summer passed, that I may have found a morsel left by a banker. Hold the back page.

It all started while reading an article in the Guardian – yes I know, but it is one of the few remaining UK newspapers with traction, substance & grip – on the closing of El Bulli. This enjoyable piece of writing ended with its author suggesting & wishing that we could all now move on, or possibly return, to the simple but noble pleasures of eating & drinking. She said something to the effect of  ‘it would be nice to have something on ones plate in restaurants again’.

Well, Paris is my starting point for that not so elusive plate of abundance, but I was pulled up short in my confident stride to the table by the restaurant critiques SnR* of the moment. With Fernand Adria safely eclipsed, there seems to be a movement underway to unearth his successor. Preferably & understandably in Paris. This ladies wishes may yet go unheeded. As I discovered, not without amusement, interest & undeniable pallet pleasure, the temptation to cross the room to serve two halfs of a ‘Mara des Bois’ strawberry can be greater than the wish to satisfy our understandably famished Guardian journalist.

This journalist will be welcome at Macéo where our new chef, Maître Park, is playing to her wishes while quietly developing new twists that are best described as ‘Culinary Subversion’. Maître Park, a native Korean, has spent more than a few years working alongside some of France’s most respected chefs & perhaps because of this experience manages not to achieve the obvious conjured up in the mention ‘Fusion’. Park’s culinary offerings most definitely do not resemble experiments reminiscent of molecular collisions.

There is no obvious violence in his carefully thought out preparations. In fact you may not even be immediately aware that subversive work is quietly at play in the kitchens of Macéo. “Circulez, il y à rien à voir”.

So what, I hear you ask, happened to Thierry Bourbonnais, Macéo’s great chef for the last 8 years ? Thierry, like many chefs I have worked with over the last 30 years, is to open his very own restaurant. Soon. I have absolutely no doubt that he will enjoy a long & successful career as patron-chef & wish him all the very best. He will be opening his restaurant in Crosne. When you find out where that is, please tell me !

No mention of ‘new’ would be complete without welcoming the soon to be not so Hidden Kitchen of the dazzling American couple, Laura & Braden, out into the lights of the Rue Montponsier. They are poised, on 3 floors & just 3 doors down from Macéo, waiting to open ‘Vertjus’ in the place of  ‘Alfred’ – just across the road from the Theatre du Palais Royale. See ‘Paris by Mouth’ for upcoming details on this & other essential morsels.

Finally, my great friends Juan & Drew are battling with shadows to complete their latest restaurant across the Rue de (in)Seine from Fish. Le ‘Temps Perdu’ which has done a great job making them do just that, is going to open some time in November under a more fortunate name. Just don’t quote me.

*sniff & rave