Les Dames d’Escoffier’s JULIA IN PARIS Gala Dinner at Four Seasons Hotel (Julia Child’s 100th Birthday)

Follow Me Foodie to the JULIA IN PARIS Gala Dinner

A recap of Les Dames d’Escoffier’s JULIA IN PARIS Gala Dinner at Four Seasons Hotel in honour of Julia Child’s 100th Birthday.

Dear Mrs. Julia Child,

If only you knew the impact you have made and continue to make on the culinary scene – this is for you. All across the world people celebrated what would have been your 100th birthday on August 15, 2012. Tribute dinners and festivities took place everywhere and Les Dames d’Escoffier, British Columbia Chapter, initiated the ones that happened in Vancouver – see here.

Although your 100th birthday has passed your legacy lives on and is worth celebrating on more than one day. You have inspired chefs, cooks and women and in this case a very classy long table gala dinner.

There was a moment of panic when a grey cloud shadowed the event and sprinkled rain, but I considered it your tears of appreciation which I’m glad you stopped after 10 minutes of. Thank you for holding it in.

Les Dames d’Escoffier of BC extended the Julia Child 100th birthday celebrations with a JULIA IN PARIS Gala Dinner hosted on the roof-pool deck of the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Vancouver. The event started with a champagne reception followed by a sit down dinner of 10 plated courses made by ten of BC and Seattle’s well established chefs and pastry chefs.

The dinner was inspired by Julia Child recipes but reinterpreted by the chefs. If we had 10 courses of Julia Child recipes unaltered we would likely have enough calories for the month… instead we had just enough for a week. I love it. If I’m going to have a proper “Bon Appetite” bring on the butter and cream. Julia Child’s the one that said “everything in moderation, including moderation”, so in her honour I did just that.

The event was a fundraiser for scholarships, outreach programs like Growing Chefs and Project Chef, and donations were also made to the Les Dames d’Escoffier International Julia Child Foundation Legacy Award.

Photo (from top row to bottom row): Lee Cooper, Scott Jaeger, Bala Kumanan, Andrea Carlson, Jean Claude (Executive Chef Gotham Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar), Tojo, Margaret Chisholm,  Les Dames d”Escoffier International Legacy Award Winner Kubee Kassaye, Lee Murphy and Ned Bell.

Rock star guest chefs (in alphabetical order) Dame Andrea Carlson (formerly of Bishop’s) with her new restaurant Burdock & Co; Bala Kumanan, Hy’s of Canada; Bruno Feldeisen, Four Seasons, Vancouver; Hidekazu Tojo, Tojo’s; Kerry Sear, Four Seasons, Seattle; Lee Cooper, L‘Abattoir; Dame Lee Murphy, Vista d’Oro; Les Amis du Fromage; Dame Margaret Chisholm, Culinary Capers Catering; Ned Bell,  Four Seasons, Vancouver and Yew Restaurant; Scott Jaeger, The Pear Tree with artisan breads by Dame Mary Mackay, Terra Breads and Dame Ann Kirsebom’s “Grand Cachet Chocolate Noir with Grand Marnier Liqueur.

Les Dames d’Escoffier is a society of professional and successful women who contribute immensely in their communities. Their goal is to promote the understanding, appreciation and knowledge of food, wine, hospitality, nutrition, food technology, and to support women and students in these careers and/or related fields. Their mentor is Julia Child who was a proud member of Les Dames d’Escoffier.

On the table:

Wines of the Evening

Reception Hors d’Oeuvres

By Dame Chef Margaret Chisholm, Culinary Capers Catering

Miniature Brioche with Beef Bourguignon

Wine pairing: Sumac Ridge Estate Winery Steller’s Jay Sparkling Brut

Sablefish Brandade, Spiced Tomato Jam, Coriander-Preserved Lemon

Wine pairing: Sumac Ridge Estate Winery Steller’s Jay Sparkling Brut

Chanterelle Mushroom Souffle with Truffle Cream

Wine pairing: Sumac Ridge Estate Winery Steller’s Jay Sparkling Brut

If someone was going to do the hors d’oeuvres it was going to be a catering company that has it nailed. The last time I tried Culinary Capers was at Dinner in the Dark, but since then they have changed chefs. Beef Bourguignon is the classic Julia Child dish and I was happy to see it on the 10 course menu as the one biter. Each hors d’oeuvres was Julia Child inspired and very rich so it was perfect to have just a sample of with the many courses ahead.

2nd Course

By Chef Scott Jaeger and Dame Stephanie Jaeger, The Pear Tree

Vichyssoise

  • Chilled potato and leek foam with Helmer’s Farm Potatoes and Stoney Paradise Leeks, crisp bacon, fresh chives
  • Wine pairing: Sumac Ridge Estate Winery Steller’s Jay Sparkling Brut
  • If there was a course that made me want to cry purely because of how delicious it was, it was this one.
  • Julia Child called it an “American invention” but its origins are debated and some call it a French soup. I would say it is French inspired at the very least.
  • Vichyssoise is a chilled soup made from leeks, potatoes, milk or cream and sometimes chicken stock.
  • Julia Child has a recipe for it in “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” and it is one of my favourite chilled soups.
  • This is chilled soup royalty and it was quite unassuming.
  • Chef Jaeger really put his own style into it and made it current and likely even better than the original.
  • Traditionally it is a very thick, rich and creamy soup, but this one was the opposite and he respected the recipe while making it his own.
  • The soup was light and airy in texture (aerated), but the flavour was incredibly rich and the texture was velvety smooth.
  • There were pieces of diced potato, bacon and chives in it and there could have been some sour cream to give it some tang.
  • It was wonderfully savoury and had umami from the bacon and/or chicken stock and it wasn’t starchy or hearty with ingredients.
  • The crispy dehydrated (?) and fried potato chip on top was the “crouton” and I crumbled it into the soup and it gave it excellent texture.
  • The potato chip was well seasoned and almost puffy. It was a labour intensive gourmet potato chip garnish and calling it a “potato chip” doesn’t do it justice.
  • It was one of those soups that made me use a piece of bread to wipe down the inside of the glass with.
  • It tasted like a melted baked potato, but it was not just a “baked potato soup”. It was much lighter than that and perfect for the warmer weather.
  • It was baked potato soup 2.0 and it was a course that represented the restaurant and made me want to visit.
  • Even at the end of the 10 course meal I still remembered this.

3rd Course

By: Chef Hidekazu Tojo, Tojo’s

Japonais Croquette

  • Savoury potato filled with smoked sablefish, soya butter
  • Wine pairing: Chandon Brut Classic
  • So how does a Japanese chef interpret a Julia Child recipe? He makes a croquette.
  • “Croquettes are carefully flavored very thick sauce containing ground cooked meat, fish., mushrooms, chicken livers, or simply cheese. When the mixture is chilled and firm, you cut it into squares or roll it into balls or sausage shapes, dip these in egg and fresh bread crumbs, and fry to a fine golden brown in very fresh oil or fat.” – Julia Child, Julia Child’s Kitchen

  • It was quite heavy and dense and the soya better had some tonkatsu sauce (Japanese like BBQ sauce with Worcestershire flavour and kick) mixed into it.
  • The filling was more potato based than saucy and it was a rather substantial appetizer.

4th Course

By Dame Chef Andrea Carlson, Burdock & Co

North Arm Farm Corn Timbale
  • Pickled vegetable salad
  • Wine pairing: Louis Jadot Bourgogne Chardonnay
  • It was almost like a palate cleanser and Chef Carlson put her own style on it and made it much more elegant than the original version.
  • It was sweet, savoury and tangy and the puree was a cauliflower puree which I initially thought was celeraic root puree.
  • I really liked that puree, but I’m also a fan of rich and creamy textures and it likely had a lot of butter and cream in it.
  • The puree was savoury and a nice contrast to the sweeter corn timbale which is a Julia Child recipe.
  • The original is almost like a dense corn bread custard pudding with cheese and it is quite rustic, but this one was refined.
  • It seemed like a corn infused cream which was made into a custard and it was semi-frozen and chilled.
  • It tasted like a semi-frozen corn panna cotta but it was creamy instead of jelly like and still a bit icy in the middle (was being thawed).
  • The cheese was light (if used) and the breadcrumbs seemed to be removed from the original recipe.
  • The corn timbale was more sweet than savoury and the pickled vegetables helped cut the richness of the timbale and puree.
  • The Chardonnay added to the butteriness of the dish yet there was enough acidity to cut the richness and also complement the pickled veggies with.
I’m going to start posting photos of chefs who have tattoos on their arms and you have to tell me who they belong to. This will be my first post… and go!

5th Course

By Chef Lee Cooper, L’Abattoir

Dungeness Crab and Chicken Filled Pasta
  • Artichokes a la Greque, warm crab sabayon enriched with foie gras
  • Wine pairing: Louis Jadot Bourgagne Chardonnay
  • The circular designs and presentation was a hint that it would Chef Lee Cooper at L’Abattoir.
  • The sabayon enriched with foie gras was even better than the warm crab stuffing inside the pasta.
  • It was very rich and creamy and I could get a subtle umami from the foie gras and the rest of the flavours were of roasted (?) crab shells, crab stock and perhaps tomalley.
  • The artichokes were pickled which was great because the sauce was so rich.
  • The pasta skin was actually quite thick, but the filling was quite substantial and very natural in flavour with flaky moist crab.
  • The green circle pattern was an herb puree.

6th Course

By Chef Kerry Sear, Four Seasons Hotel, Seattle

Stuffed Marrow “Hearts of Palm”
  • 30 Element Butter
  • Wine pairing: Terrazzas de los Andes Reserva Torrentes Riojano
  • This was the most exciting presentation for me just because it looked exactly like bone marrow, but it was all vegetables.
  • The intention was to mimic bone marrow… such a tease (coming from a carnivore).
  • I considered this a cold salad course so it would have been nicer as an earlier course… unless it was Julia in Italy.
  • The heart of palm was stuffed with diced heart of palm and I think the top was sprinkled with dehydrated brown butter and breadcrumb powder.
  • The sauce was almost like a spicy and tangy Thousand Island like sauce and there was some cauliflower on the side.
  • I haven’t had anything quite like it which was nice, new and interesting, but I’m a carnivore so I did miss bone marrow.
  • I loved the concept and found it very creative and memorable though.
  • “30 Element Butter” sounded exciting and made me think of Grant Achatz’s Lamb 86.
  • I’m guessing chef used 30 elements (spices, herbs, ingredients etc.) for the crispy brown butter breadcrumb like powder.

7th Course

By Chef Ned Bell, Four Seasons Hotel and YEW Restaurant

Roasted Sechelt Sturgeon
  • Northern Divine caviar beurre blanc, pomme puree
  • Who can argue with beurre blanc? And then who can argue with Northern Divine caviar beurre blanc? If you’re vegan don’t answer.
  • By the way Northern Divine is sustainable caviar from BC and I listed as one of my 10 BC Ingredients and Products.
  • It was sturgeon on sturgeon and mine was slightly undercooked which is how I prefer almost any fish.
  • This would have been great with a sablefish as well although not as challenging to cook.
  • The fish had a nice sear and as a main course it was a more standard offering.
  • If you’re curious about Northern Divine Caviar see my dinner post for it here.
  • This course was also reminiscent of the caviar-lobster hollandaise from that dinner and it’s a nice way to stretch caviar. This caviar is exceptional by itself though.

8th Course

By Chef Bala Kumanan, Hy’s of Canada

Beef Tenderloin
  • Green peppercorn sauce, chateau potatoes and seasonal vegetables
  • Wine pairing: Bonterra Organic Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
  • “The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.” – Julia Child
  • It was another good and standard main course for a banquet style dinner.
  • It was good quality steak with good marbelization and mine was actually medium rare, moist and juicy with good flavour and aging.
  • The green peppercorn sauce was really nice and well reduced. It was thick and syrupy and it was better than standard. It was the Hy’s peppercorn sauce.

9th Course

By Dame Chef Lee Murphy, Vista D’oro Farm & Winery

I plated these myself. No I’m kidding, the chefs were on their feet the whole night… I guess that’s any night for them though. I was behind the scenes watching the teamwork and plating for every course.
Les Amis du Fromage Cheeses
  • With Dame Lesley Stowe Raincoast Crisps, acompanied by Vista D’oro Farms Turkish Fig with walnut wine preserves
  • Wine pairing: Terrazzas de los Andes Reserva Malbec 
  • The cow’s cheese was a hard salty cheese similar to an Asiago or Parmesan. It wasn’t quite as nutty as a Parmesan though. 
  • The other cheese was a goat cheese which was quite goaty in flavour with a bit of gaminess. 
  • The Vista D’oro Farms Turkish Fig preserves and walnut wine are always ideal for any cheese plate too. See my visit to their farm here.

10th Course

By Chef Bruno Feldeisen, Four Seasons Hotel, Vancouver

The dessert course took place inside and it was set up as a mini buffet. After 9 courses the last thing you want to hear is “buffet”, but with desserts I can open a whole new stomach so I was good to go.

Lemon Tart

Fraisier

Blueberry Financier

Vanilla Cremeux with Rhubarb Compote

Foret Noire

To Finish

By Dame Chef Anne Kirsebom

Grand Cachet Chocolate Noir Filled with Grand Marnier Liqueur
D’oro – Fortified Walnut Wine, Vista D’oro Winery

Further Embellishments

Espresso Bar

Hennessey VSOP

Thomas Haas Chocolates

Grand Marnier

Selection of Terra Breads by Dame Chef Mary Mackay

To Julia Child – a life worth celebrating.

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