Well, talking about New Year Resolutions, ours was to redesign this website, make it simpler to navigate and acknowledge the fact that we are primarily a food, wine and travel blog and ressource.
So, you will know find three main tabs in our navigation menu:
You will also find our NEW E-ZINE tab which replaces our Newsletter tab.
We have maintained this website at our own cost, on our spare time (yes we do also run companies) and we have got to a point where we have an ALEXA ranking as a result of our growing traffic.
We have decided to put two of our pages under paid subscriptions:
We intend to merge these two pages and expand them into a bigger online magazine over the next few months. So, your financial support is critical to make this happen!
It is only 10USD a month and will go towards all the tools of the Internet trade (web hosting, web editing software, domain name registration, etc...) as well as maintaining and upgrading our computer and photographic equipment and associated software, which becomes obsolete every 2-3 years as you know in our digital age!
For our existing subscribers and to recognise their loyalty, we have designed a special free subscription and you have all received two emails with the "user's manual". Please action this subscription ASAP.
Finally, as not everybody wants to subscribe and commit to a monthly cost, we have also actioned a DONATE button which gives you the ability to send us 10USD as a gift to help towards keeping this site up and running, without a recourse to paid advertisement, which is visual pollution at best.
So please spend a minute to review these options and give us your feedback if you feel like it.
Here are the links:
Many thanks in advance for your contribution.
It is time to subscribe to our next newsletter which will contain French regional recipes of our best traditional winter warmer dishes. We will cook each of these recipes for you and document them in our next newsletter to be published on June 30th. We will explore six regions and their most famous and appropriate recipes. We will add six other regions and recipes to another newsletter to be published at the end of July!
Don't forget to follow us on Facebook - www.facebook.com/ourfrenchimpressions and instagram and Pinterest at @ourfrenchimpressions! Bon appétit et à bientôt...
Danielle Mazet-Delpeuch returns to Sydney after a 23 years absence to promote the film based on her time in the private kitchen of the Elysee Palace, cooking for Francois Mitterand - Haute Cuisine - Les Saveurs du Palais.
We had a chance to meet her after the screening of the film and then again in a more intimate setting at the Alliance Francaise of Sydney yesterday afternoon. Today she was interviewed by Margaret Throsby on ABC Classic FM and you can listen the podcast by clicking the button below.
Danielle is a vibrant 71 year old, full of life and humour, with plenty adventures over these many decades, and my guess is she is not done yet!
A few things emerged from these three contacts I had with her:
As she says herself, she is not a chef, but just a cook, but obviously not any cook, having learned the tricks of the trade from her grandmother, then mother and many other relatives and people around her over the years.
So really the English title for the film - Haute Cuisine - is misleading and the French title suits better the task at hand and the skills required. Mitterand said to her: Cook like my grandmother and I will be happy:
"Vaste programme" like this other French President, Charles de Gaulle famously answered to his Chief of Staff after he said in a moment of frustration: "Morts aux cons!". (and yes it is quite less rude in French than the English translation will suggest...Actually, I can't print it here, not to offend anyone!)
One person in the audience at The Chauvel asked her what was the most interesting to her: politics, sex or food?
She very politically answered that she was not interested in politics, letting the other two up in the air!
Well, let me tell you, Danielle is a very skilled political animal, as she has maneuvered herself across continents, social layers and various kitchens around the World with aplomb and a sense that anything is possible if you put your mind to it! Her life is certainly a testament to that...
Another interesting comment she made - and I certainly relate to it - was that to be a good cook, you need a good audience, you need "gourmands", and in this regard, Mitterand was definitely famous for his love of good food and good company, with a penchant for the feminine one...
From the moment she started her cooking classes at La Borderie - the famous week-ends foie gras - she actually attracted the right crowd, people that have been exposed to the "Cuisine Bourgeoise" either in their childhood or later in life as they became more affluent and could afford to travel in search of this authenticity attached to it.
This in turn triggers the search for the local and seasonal ingredients and the art of designing a menu with what you have in the pantry or you can source from the farm or the local market(s).
Promoting these ideas at the time she started was completely revolutionary, although today this is becoming mainstream again, and sometime to the extreme, as Chefs around the World go foraging themselves for special herbs and vegetables. Not very different from digging truffes from your own backyard or gently force feeding geese and ducks to produce delicious meat, silky foies gras and fat to cook with. Nothing was dicarded from the animal apart from the head!
A bit of trivia gleaned here and there over her visit:
It took three people to recreate her recipes for the film:
Gerard Besson, ex owner of Le Coq Heron in Paris, now owned by and renamed Kei, a promising young Japanese Chef
Guy Legay, ex Chef de Cuisine at the Ritz, and like Gerard Besson, Meilleur Ouvrier de France, the highest distinction one can achieve in this trade
And finally, Elisabeth Scotto, a very famous stylist who write for Elle
The Antarticas scenes were in fact shot in Iceland - a tad simpler, closer and cheaper than going all the way to the Antipodes...
The book mentioned in the film "Eloges deal Cuisine Francaise" by Gerard Nignon is out of print, and is available as an antique for 700euros - that's almost 1000A$. I will be waiting for a generous benefactor!!!
Danielle said also that she dreamt of travelling at a very young age, and she certainly did catch the travel bug, having spent time in the USA, Australia, New Zealand (where she owns a plot of land destined to be transformed into a "truffiere" one day...), all over Asia and Europe.
Maybe the next adventure will be to cook for Virgin Galactic and Richard Branson...Stay tuned!
Danielle, thanks for your time in Australia and thanks for having shared with us some of your experience, adventures and wisdom.
Bumped into a lovely young lady yesterday at Harris Farm, who happens to be a distant cousin (she is partly French Canadian...) and she loves talking about food!
She is launching a new magazine called Gourmet Rabbit on Monday night at a still secret location...
And she is online and on Twitter too. Check her site at http://www.gourmetrabbit.com
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
A link here for our non-metric readers: