MasterChef at the French residence
This year Ambassador Sylvie Bermann hosted MasterChef The Professionals at her residence in Kensington Palace Gardens.
London, 13 December 2016
The challenge? The five chefs had to cook together to create a three-course fine-dining menu for the Ambassador’s guests: Bénédicte Paviot (journalist at France 24), Florence Gomez (head of the French Chamber of Commerce), Maxime Holder (President of Paul International), Marc Roche (journalist at Le Point) and chef de cuisine Gilles Quillot. And not just with any ingredients, but with a selection of some of the finest quality French ingredients such as Bresse chicken and ‘bouchot’ mussels from Mont Saint Michel in Normandy.
It was important for Ambassador Bermann that the chefs use only fresh, natural and healthy French produce, grown in environmentally and animal friendly conditions, reflecting the characteristics of the French agricultural sector. In France agricultural production is extremely diverse and a number of official labels guarantee the quality and origin of the produce, whilst supporting the livelihoods and local expertise of farmers throughout the country.
Using these delicious ingredients, the chefs came up with a mouthwatering menu of poached pollock loin, mussels, samphire, seaweed and a mussel beurre blanc, Bresse chicken pithivier and strawberries from Nîmes with chocolate fondants. Although they may not have done everything the exact French way, the Ambassador and her guests were impressed and left most of their plates clean.
Find out more about some of the ingredients:
Bouchot mussels from Mont-Saint-Michel Bay (AOP)
What do they taste like? These mussels come from salty and warm waters which gives them their generous, creamy, almost velvety texture.
Where are they from? This type of mussel can only be produced in the Mont-Saint-Michel Bay.
Bresse chicken (AOP)
What does it taste like? Bresse chicken is very meaty and melts in the mouth. It has its own fat so it needs hardly any added oil or butter. This delicate texture and delicious flavours are due to the fact that the chicken is raised over a longer period of time than usual, outside in the open air.
Where is it from? From the Bresse region, between the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Bourgogne-Franche-Comté regions.
Nîmes strawberries (IGP)
What do they taste like? Nîmes strawberries can be vermillion or brick coloured with distinct sweet and sometimes slightly acid juicy flesh.
Where are they from? From the Gard department in southern France, in the Occitanie region.
Salt of Guérande (IGP)
What does it taste like? It is a natural sea salt with a much more fine and subtle flavour than regular table salt.
Where is it from? It is manually collected from the Guérande salt marshes in Brittany.